This policy is intended to provide a method by which the Academy of Historical Arts can ensure that any and all participants of any age, including children, may participate in activities with due supervision by properly trained and disclosed individuals.
For the purpose of this document, the term “adults” will mean individuals aged 18 years or older. The term “children” will therefore refer to individuals who are not yet 18 years old.
Extending participation to include children
The legal environment with regards to child protection is quite difficult to navigate, especially since there are different laws for Scotland and for England & Wales.
One of the simplest ways to protect children, and to avoid the liability that comes with including children in an activity, is to restrict participation to adults only; this should be assumed to be the default option. If the activity is for adults only, then children should not be allowed to participate, and no exceptions should be made due to the legal requirements surrounding child protection.
For children to be allowed to participate, the instructors and staff members involved should abide by the appropriate local laws and guidelines, including:
- In Scotland, instructors working with children should have an appropriate PVG check, an up-to-date and nationally-recognised first aid certificate, and appropriate child protection training.
- In England & Wales, instructors working with children should have an appropriate DBS check, an up-to-date and nationally-recognised first aid certificate, and appropriate child protection training.
- Furthermore, the club must have appropriate insurance that covers children.
Parents and guardians must always be welcome to accompany and supervise their children at activities. In clubs where the instructors are suitable vetted and trained, children may be allowed to attend without requiring parental supervision. However, in this case, if at all possible, the instructors should ensure that they are never alone with a child at any time, and that there is always another adult present.
If parents or guardians see or hear anything of concern, they should raise the matter with the instructor(s), and try to resolve the problem as swiftly as possible. If the issue is pressing, then parents and guardians may withdraw their children from the practice immediately.
Keep things age-appropriate
Instructors and participants should avoid any interactions (even with other adults while children are present) that contain behaviour or topics which are of a violent nature, that are sexually provocative or suggestive, or that are otherwise inappropriate, or that could encourage behaviour inappropriate for children. This potentially includes jokes, bad language, overly graphic descriptions of injuries, or stories of last night in the pub.
Keeping activities in context
Safety is always a high priority, and instructors should always try to minimise risks and dangers.
Howewer, if a club does teach martial arts then there will necessarily be some physical contact and some discussions involving some level of violence, and this simply cannot be avoided due to the nature of the activity.
If parents or guardians are not happy with discussions of a violent nature, or with physical contact, then participation in a martial arts club is probably not a good idea.
Photography with children
If there is any photography at a club activity, and children are present, then the instructor(s) make ensure that all photographers are aware of this, and of the following policy.
Due to the duties of care surrounding children, photography of under-18s should receive parental permission. Furthermore, a separate parental permission must be sought before any recorded media may be uploaded to the Internet or otherwise disseminated.
As a good rule of thumb, even if you have permission from parents to take photos while their children are present, do not upload these photos to Facebook (or any similar service) if the children are identifiable in the media. If you do want to upload such media, then seek parental permission, and even if permission has been granted for uploading one set of media, do not be afraid to ask for permission if you want to upload more images! You can never go wrong by asking permission first.