top of page



Waves Swim School is totally committed to safeguarding and the protection of vulnerable people. This document covers both our legal and moral obligations towards protecting the most vulnerable members of our society and to help make our sessions safer to all who attend.

Throughout this document a lot is mentioned of children being at risk. Please note however that wherever this is mentioned adults can also be vulnerable. This is especially true of adults who may have specific learning disabilities or be disabled in any way.


Abuse and poor practice can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with children in order to harm them. Everyone working in swimming either in a paid or voluntary capacity, together with those working in affiliated organisations have a role to play in safeguarding the welfare of children and promoting good practice.


·The child’s welfare is paramount

·All children whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and / or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse

·All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously; and responded to swiftly and appropriately

·Anyone under the age of 18 years should be considered as a child for the purposes of this document.

Working in partnership with children and their parents / guardians is essential for the protection of the children. Waves Swim School recognises the statutory responsibility of the social services department to ensure the welfare of children.

Abuse in all its forms can affect a child at any age. The effects can be so damaging, that if not treated, they may follow an individual into adulthood.

If a child says or indicates that he or she is being abused, or information is obtained which gives concern that a child is being abused, the person receiving this information should:

  • React calmly so as not to frighten the child

  • Tell the child they are not to blame and that it was right to tell someone

  • Take what the child says seriously, recognising the difficulties inherent in interpreting what is said by a child who is very young, has a speech disability and / or differences in language

  • Keep questions to the absolute minimum necessary to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said

  • Any questions used should be open ended (when did it happen? Where did it happen? What happened? Etc.)

  • Reassure the child, but do not make promises of confidentiality which might not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments

  • Make a full record of what had been said, heard and / or seen as soon as possible.



The four main types of abuse are:

  • Physical Abuse this may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm or deliberate ill health to a child. It might also occur if a child is forced to train beyond their capabilities.

  • Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. It may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts, involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

  • Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child that adversely effects their development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved, and inadequate, or where inappropriate expectations are put upon them. In a sporting context this may include severe parental or coaching pressure to succeed. Racially and sexually abusive remarks constitute emotional abuse and it can be a feature of bullying.

  • Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. This is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development and can include failing to provide shelter, food, clothing, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs. A child can also suffer neglect if a parent/guardian does not seek medical aid or prevent injury where possible. In a sporting context it can also mean failing to ensure they are safe, or exposing them to harm.



There are many indicators that a child may be suffering from abuse. These may include, but not be limited to:

  • Unexplained changes in mood or behaviour

  • Nervousness, watchfulness

  • Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults

  • Inappropriate sexual language

  • Attention-seeking behaviour

  • Scavenging, compulsive stealing

  • Persistent fatigue

  • Running away

  • Inappropriate photos sent by email or phone text.

Physical abuse:

  • Have injuries that cannot be easily explained

  • Have injuries that have not been treated adequately

  • Have injuries on parts of their body where accidental injury is unlikely, such as the chest, cheeks or thighs

  • Have bruising that leaves hand, finger and pattern bruising marks

  • Have injuries such as cigarette burns, bite marks, scalds

Sexual abuse

  • Have stomach pains or discomfort when walking or sitting down

  • Have bruising or other injuries on parts of the body not normally seen

  • Use language or behaviour inappropriate to their age

  • Use overtly sexual behaviour

Emotional abuse

  • Show delayed physical or emotional development

  • Have sudden speech disorders

  • Exhibit compulsive nervous behaviour

  • Unpleasant text or email

  • Be reluctant to have their parents contacted

  • Show lack of confidence or need for approval or attention


  • Constantly hungry

  • Tired all the me

  • Dressed inappropriately for the weather

  • In a scruffy, shabby unwashed state

  • Untreated illness or abrasions

  • Inadequate care



You should also be aware of the possible significance of poor attendance, a reluctance to participate in activities where changing clothes maybe required. There may be factors in the family background that will add to your concerns:

  • Poor relationship between parent and child

  • High levels of stress within the family

  • Unrealistic expectations of the child

  • Scapegoating

  • Inadequate parental co-operation or support

  • Anti-social behaviour

  • Low self-esteem

  • An over-eager desire to please

  • Self-deprecation

  • Self-harming – in some cases self-harming will be in areas which can be well hidden with clothing. Where self-harming is obvious it may be that the young person is seeking to be given permission to disclose

  • Unexplained sums of money

  • Depression and passive/lethargic behaviour – especially when this is a sudden change for a child.


The lists of signs and symptoms on this page and elsewhere in this policy are those most commonly encountered signs and often several will be present at any one time. It is important to remember that most children you know will demonstrate one or more these symptoms at some stage in their lives – do not jump to any conclusions. It is also important to remember that you need to use your own professional judgement while looking at Safeguarding issues – if a child is naturally clumsy (i.e. often seen to fall over) it would be reasonable to expect that child to have more bruises than another child.



Safeguarding is as much about protecting children as it is protecting adults. It is important that staff avoid any potentially compromising circumstances or situations for allegations / misunderstandings and is an important part of working safely.

The following should help staff work as safely as possible with all children while not compromising our ability to do our job effectively.

When you assess the level of supervision needed at a particular time you should take into account the level of risk involved by considering the:

  • Activity being carried out by the children

  • Adult/child ratio laid down in this handbook 

  • Stage of development of the children concerned

  • Constraints and opportunities offered by the setting

  • Experience of the adults concerned

  • Children’s behaviour at the time

  • Feelings and wellbeing of the adults at the time

  • Appropriate staff ratios.


Where possible speak to the parents of all children before physically helping or touching any child. This can usually be done during the first week of term and is especially important with beginner and new swimmers or those with a disability. Remember, the parents and children do not know you and your own teaching methods and so what you, and other parents / children, class as a standard practice your new parents may not. Older children can give their own consent over physical contact but it is important to remember you should request this before touching them and where possible keep a barrier in between you. Even when consent has been gained from parents it is still important to ask a younger child consent to touch them unless doing so puts them in danger (hitting head etc. but this should be explained to the child afterwards as to why you have done so).

Physical contact should only be used as a last resort or where doing so could prevent injury to a child (for example during diving training). Where possible try to only touch neutral areas where other people can see (shoulder blades etc.) and in front of others – never face away from the pool and touch a child as it could look very suspicious from the other side of the pool. If necessary stand with the child at a 90 degree angle to the pool so you can both be seen side on from the other side of the pool.


  • Be aware of individual needs and personalities, and never make any belittling or discouraging remarks

  • Never ignore or trivialise bullying

  • Avoid inappropriate language and subject matter. Be careful not to do or say

anything that could be misunderstood or could be interpreted as “innuendo”

  • Be aware of the impact of behaviour and opinions of others (helpers, other

volunteers/staff , parents, etc.). The opinions, prejudices, actions and comments of adults, particularly those in authority, can easily influence children

  • The environment at Waves Swim School should allow children to feel comfortable in developing and learning at their own speed. The atmosphere within the group should contribute to the growth of every child’s self-esteem through recognition of both effort and achievement. Children should feel that they can share their feelings, fears and problems

  • Avoid showing favouritism or singling individuals out in any way.



The current company policy is that mobile phones and cameras must not be used within the pool area or changing rooms. This is for the safety of our swimmers, parents and employees. We also require that employees do not use mobile phones while at the venue unless in an emergency and request that should they need to, where ever possible move outside of the building. Staff should actively monitor the use of cameras and recording devices during sessions.


Everybody under the age of 18 is regarded as a child. This is irrespective of their social standing, job or academic ability.


As there are limited changing facilities at our venue we would ask members of the opposite sex to use separate changing areas if possible. Males will be given priority of the small changing area in this situation.


In the first instance any concerns should be reported to Waves Swim School. This should be in the first instance via phone and followed up with a detailed and accurate written report of the encounter. Once the report has been received they will decide how to proceed. This may involve informing the police, local social services departments, the NSPCC or continued monitoring.


We will monitor all of the feedback that we receive in relation to the issues affected by the Policy and will amend the policy as necessary. The Policy will be updated with any amendments to existing legislation or new legislation. In any event, this policy will be reviewed annually.

bottom of page