Sapphire is committed to safeguarding the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk and working to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all in our sport.
Please see all our welfare information below. All of this information is also displayed on our club notice boards.

Codes of Conduct

For Gymnasts

PDF Version

Sapphire is fully committed to safe-guarding and promoting the well-being of all its members. The Club believes that it is important that members, coaches, administrators and parents associated with the club should, at all times, show respect and understanding for the safety and welfare of others. Members are encouraged, therefore, to be open at all times and share any concerns or complaints that they may have about any aspect of the club with Annie Price (Club manager), Glynis Tovey (Welfare Officer) or or Lynne Driver (Welfare Officer).

As a member of Sapphire School of Gymnastics you are expected to abide by the following club rules:-

1. All gymnasts must participate within the rules and respect coaches, judges and their decisions.

2. All gymnasts must respect opponents and fellow club members.

3. Gymnasts should keep to agreed timings for training and competitions or inform their coach if they are going to be delayed.

4. Members must wear suitable attire for training and events as agreed with the coach. All long hair must be tied back and all body jewellery must be removed or covered with tape.

5. Members must pay for any fees for training or events promptly.

6. Members must not smoke, consume alcohol or take drugs of any kind whilst representing the club at competitions or other events.

7. Members should treat all equipment with respect.

8. Members must inform the head coach of any injuries or illness that they may have had before the warm-up begins.

9. Members must not eat or chew gum during a session except when having a break.

10. Members must not use bad language.

11. Members should remain with coaches at the end of a session until collected by their parent or guardian

Zoom Code of Conduct

  • Please ensure when entering a session that the username is set as the child’s name, otherwise entry will not be permitted.
  • Please ensure gymnasts are wearing appropriate clothing for the session including leggings/shorts and ensure any household members in the background are also.
  • Any devices used for the session must be in an appropriate area of your home i.e. not in bedrooms.
  • Language must be appropriate and professional at all times including those of any family members in the background.
  • Photography, videoing or recording of the sessions is prohibited due to safeguarding reasons.
  • Please ensure gymnasts understand their physical and mental limits when participating in these sessions.
  • Please ensure your camera is turned on when joining the session, anyone with blank profiles will be removed from the session due to safeguarding reasons.
  • We recommend that a responsible adult is on hand to ensure the safety of the gymnast during the session.
  • Please note that the risk of injury is assumed on the viewer. Sapphire Gymnastics cannot take any responsibility for damage to any personal possessions that may occur during the session.

For Parents

PDF Version

Sapphire is fully committed to safe-guarding and promoting the well-being of all its members. The Club believes that it is important that members, coaches, administrators and parents associated with the club should, at all times, show respect and understanding for the safety and welfare of others. Members are encouraged, therefore, to be open at all times and share any concerns or complaints that they may have about any aspect of the club with Annie Price (Club manager), Glynis Tovey (Welfare Officer) or Lynne Driver (Welfare Officer).

Encourage your child to learn the rules and participate within them.

Ensure that your child attends on time and always collect your child promptly at the end of a session. If delayed for any reason, please contact us on 01442 230077.

Please ensure that your child is appropriately dressed for the activity with no jewellery and has plenty to drink.

Please leave appropriate contact details if they differ from those originally provided.

Please keep the club informed if your child is ill or unable to attend sessions and please use correct and proper language at all times.

Endeavour to establish good communications with the clubs, coaches and officials for the benefit of all. Please share any complaints, concerns or queries about any aspect of the club with the Club Manager and not the individual coaches.

Please do not speak to children in the gym from the balcony or the lobby area/ enter the gym.

Support your child’s involvement and help them to enjoy their sport.

Help your child to recognise good performance, not just results and set a good example by recognising good sportsmanship and applauding the good performances of all.

Please do not challenge or argue with officials and publicly accept their judgements.

Never force your child to take part in sport and do not punish or belittle a child for poor performance or making mistakes.

All squad fees must be paid within thirty days of receipt of the invoice or interest charges will be regrettably levied.

For Coaches

PDF Version

The essence of good ethical conduct and practice is summarised below.

All coaches, judges, officials and volunteers must:-

1. Consider the well-being and safety of participants before the development of performance.

2. Develop an appropriate working relationship with performers based on mutual trust and respect.

3. Hold the appropriate valid qualifications and insurance cover.

4. Make sure that all activities are appropriate to age, ability and experience of those taking part and ensure that all participants are suitably prepared physically and mentally when learning new skills.

5. Display consistently high standards of behaviour and appearance, dressing suitably, removing jewellery and not using inappropriate language at any time whilst involved with club activities.

6. Never consume alcohol immediately before or during training or events.

7. Obtain prior agreement from the parent/guardian of performers before transporting them anywhere.

8. Never have performers stay overnight at your home.

9. Never exert overdue influence over performers to obtain personal benefit or reward.

10.Always report any incidents, referrals or disclosures immediately, following the appropriate guidelines set out in the BG Child protection procedures.

11.Never condone rule violations or use of prohibited substances.

12.Make sure that confidential information is not divulged unless with the express approval of the individual concerned.

13.Promote the positive aspects of the sport (e.g. fair play)

14.Encourage performers to value their performances and not just results.

15.Follow all guidelines laid down by BG and Sapphire School of Gymnastics.

16.Do not use mobile telephones at any time during a coaching session.

17.Do not give out your personal Social media or contact information to any member of the club. Any friend requests on such platforms should be declined or blocked.

18. Ensure all uses of messaging services with other staff members is of a professional nature and in accordance to Sapphire’s Social Networking Policy.

19.Submit all timesheets promptly as late ones may not be processed.

Safeguarding & Welfare Policies

Safeguarding & Child Protection

PDF Version

SAPPHIRE GYMNASTICS is committed to ensuring that those working with children and vulnerable adults adopt the best possible practice to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the participants and staff.
Sapphire will endeavour to promote the highest standards of care for all members, staff and officials by:-

1 The adoption of Sport England’s Health, safety and welfare guidelines.
2 The adoption of Sport England’s guidelines for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
3 The appointment of a Welfare Officer to whom grievances or complaints can be made confidentially.
4 Ensuring that coaches and officials have been screened to confirm their suitability to work with children. This will include criminal record disclosure if appropriate.
5 Ensuring that the best coaching practice guidelines are followed at all times.
6 Ensuring that grievances or complaints are dealt with promptly and in accordance with the grievance procedure.
7 Ensuring that there are a minimum of two responsible adults at all training sessions.
8 Ensuring that the participants and parents are aware of the purposes of videoing, filming or photography during training or events.
9 Having a zero tolerance level of poor practice, bullying or any other potential form of abuse.

We are committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young persons and adults at risk in our sport and our aim is to ensure all who participate in gymnastics have a safe, fun, positive experience and are able to fulfil their potential. In order to help ensure a safe environment, we provide information and training opportunities to enable those working with children in gymnastics to respond appropriately if they are worried a child may be at risk or suffering abuse. For more information please visit:

Contact Information

We are committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young persons and adults at risk in our sport and our aim is to ensure all who participate in gymnastics have a safe, fun, positive experience and are able to fulfil their potential.

Club Welfare Officers

At our club we have two fantastic Club Welfare Officers in order to help ensure a safe environment at Sapphire Gymnastics. Please see their contact information and the flowchart below if you have any safeguarding concerns:

Glynis Tovey – Tel: 07812 057488 Email:

Lynne Driver – Tel: 07760 428163 Email:

Further contacts:

Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership

Tel: 0300 123 4043



NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit

Tel: 0116 366 5580


The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a British child protection charity.

Tel: 0808 800 5000


Safe Environment

PDF Version

Duty of Care
All clubs and gymnastics activity providers have a responsibility for the safety and welfare of gymnasts, coaches, volunteers, officials, visitors and others. This responsibility applies to all Sapphire Gymnastics clubs, regardless of their size or structure. There is a legal responsibility to ensure that participants are protected from harm whilst taking part in gymnastics. This is legally termed as the ‘duty of care’ and is particularly significant when dealing with children.

For the purpose of this document and all Safeguarding policies, Sapphire Gymnastics refers to children as any person under the age of 16 years and a Young Person as being over 16 but under 18 years, irrespective of their role.

When working with children, an adult who carries out a supervisory role takes on certain responsibilities while the child is in their care. This may include:
• Holding a responsibility for care and wellbeing during training.
• Safe dispersal after training.
• Providing first aid.
• Providing/consenting to emergency medical treatment.
• Supervision/chaperoning.
• Team managing.

In order to fulfil the ‘duty of care’, gymnastics activity providers must make sure that the following
areas are properly covered:
• Safeguarding and Welfare.
• Safe Environment, including safe apparatus and equipment.
• Safe development of the individual through appropriate physical and psychological preparation and progressive skill development.
• Provision of suitable first aid support and emergency procedures.
• Exercising reasonable care at all times.

Those with an overall responsibility for running a club or providing gymnastics activity must ensure that policies and procedures are in place and implemented as part of their duty of care, although it is impossible to establish detailed guidelines for every aspect of every situation that may arise. However, Sapphire Gymnastics Policy, training courses and resource materials are designed to provide the club, welfare officer, coach, judge, official and parent with a sufficient basis of knowledge and guidance to enable them to meet their obligations in relation to safeguarding and the promotion of the welfare of children and young people in their care.

Club Registration
When gymnasts register with Sapphire Gymnastics it is essential that the club obtains appropriate personal information about them. The type of information that should be collected at the point of registration would include:
• Name and address;
• Date of birth;
• Parent/Carer information;
• Emergency contacts;
• Medical details – allergies, existing conditions, including any specific actions to take;
• Information on any disability or special needs, including English not being the first language;
• Medical consent;
• Consent for participation in gymnastics;
• Consent for photography and filming or option to object;
• Equality profile.

Sapphire Gymnastics ensures that this information is collected at the earliest opportunity to enable any necessary risk assessments based on medical information and/or disability to be completed prior to participation.

Data Protection law requires that you must have a lawful reason to use an individual’s personal information. Clubs need to explain clearly how the personal information being collected will be used and why and with whom it may be shared. This includes providing full details of any photography and filming that will take place during club activities (e.g. for coaching purposes or club promotion) and either requesting consent or providing the individual and the person with parental responsibility with the opportunity to object to photography or filming. This information can be found on the enrolment form terms & Conditions when registering with the club.

Publishing images of children must comply with the Sapphire Gymnastics guidance on
photography and use of imagery included in this document.

Welfare Officers
Although the responsibility for safeguarding falls on everyone, a critical element in safeguarding is the designation of an individual who is responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. All clubs and gymnastics events are required to have an appointed Welfare Officer to be responsible for:
• Responding to safeguarding, child protection and poor practice concerns.
• Providing support and advice in the implementation of procedures that safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
• Assisting the club or event to be more child focused in its activities, e.g. involving children in decision making processes.

In order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, the role is not taken on by a key member of the coaching team or member of his/her immediate family, however an individual who has a more limited involvement in coaching can take on the role in the event that there is no other acceptable alternative.

Provision of Safe Environment
Safeguarding is fundamental in the delivery of the sport and the conduct of those involved. Everyone must place the protection of children and young people as the paramount consideration and ensure that the environment where the gymnastics activity takes place is one where children and young people are safe and helps to reduce the risk of them being abused through their participation within the sport.

Clubs and organisations’ must address the following environmental factors:
• Provide open training environment.
• Ensure there is a clear policy for use of changing rooms and toilets.
• Maintain apparatus, equipment and other club property, e.g. minibus;*
• Provision of first aid facilities;*
• Storage of personal and sensitive information.

* These areas are covered in detail in the Sapphire Gymnastics Health & Safety Folder.

Open Training Environment

It is essential that clubs work in partnership with parents/carers and are open about training sessions. Sapphire Gymnastics welcomes parents who wish to observe and in the case of new or potential members, encourage them to view a session and remain with their child until the child is happy to be left.

There is no requirement to record images when using CCTV for viewing purposes. Clubs that wish to record CCTV images must contact the Information Commissioner for advice on compliance with relevant data protection legislation. This Information can be found in Sapphire’s CCTV Policy.

Additionally, with the advance of modern technology, the use of Livestreaming to facilitate viewing remotely is possible. At present Sapphire Gymnastics do not authorise the use of any Livestreaming in the absence of national guidance regarding the security and management of such images of children.

Sapphire will not actively discourage parents from viewing by:
• Obscuring windows.
• Refusing reasonable requests to view.
• Asking parents to leave without due cause.
• Justifying the prohibition of viewing on spurious health and safety grounds.

The provision of an open training environment is much wider than simply providing parents with a viewing area. It involves creating a culture of openness between Sapphire Gymnastics and parents. This will include:
• Regular written and oral communication with parents.
• Providing regular feedback on a child’s progress.
• Opportunities to discuss the child’s progress and training regime.
• Opportunity to raise concerns and receive feedback on the outcome
• Encouraging parents to become involved in the club.
• Inviting parents to attend welfare briefings prior to an away event.
• Encouraging parents to attend events or keep in close contact with their child.

Changing Facilities

Sapphire Gymnastics must have a policy, or rules, relating to the use of changing facilities. There can be difficulties where the gymnastics activity is provided within a multi-use sports centre and will have to be subject to the availability and access to facilities, whether groups are mixed gender and whether the changing facilities are open for public use.

Although clubs should develop a policy that best meets their specific circumstances, the following underlying principles must be adopted:
• Where a club is fully responsible for changing facilities, adults must not be permitted to get changed in these facilities at the same time as children.*
• There must be separate changing facilities, or times, for males and females.
• No one should enter changing rooms whilst these are being used by members of the opposite sex.
• Mobile phones must not be used in changing rooms.
• Club Codes of Conduct should address behaviour while using changing facilities.
• Everyone should be aware that they must report any concerns or incidents without delay.

Parents should only be in the changing room with their children if the age range of the session is for an age group where parental help is generally required. This is normally around 7 or 8 years old or under. Additional arrangements may be required if there are children or young people with disabilities in the group and these should be clearer reflected in club policy.

Clubs which are unable to provide safe changing room facilities are advised to suggest/ensure all members arrive wearing their leotards/shorts under their clothes.

Suitable notices explaining the above conditions of use should also be posted prominently in and around the changing facility.

* Where a club has to use a shared changing facility that is accessible by adults, the club should ensure that the changing policy provides guidance for children and young people on what they should do in the event that they have a concern about an adult who is also making use of the facility.
Supervision and Mixed Age Group Training
It is essential that appropriate ratios for supervision are adopted and everyone is clear of their supervisory responsibilities. Ratios should be determined by considering age, the type of activity and where it is taking place. For club training, it is recommended a minimum ratio of one adult to sixteen gymnasts for low-level floor activity. Where events are external to the regular club training venue, a minimum ratio of one adult to ten gymnasts is required. This ratio should be increased for gymnasts aged under-eight years. In addition, there must always be a minimum of two responsible adults present. This ensures there is supervision in the event of an accident or incident that requires one of the adults to leave the group to accompany a child.

Mixed Age Groups
Sapphire Gymnastics does not prohibit adults from training alongside children. Clubs have a responsibility to ensure they consider the differences in needs based not only on age but also experience and stage of development for each of their participants. Where clubs have adults training with children, the club has a responsibility to create a safe environment for all its participants and where necessary, this includes putting safeguards in place to protect children and adults in our sport.

Provision of Personal Care
There may on occasion be circumstances where some gymnasts will need help with personal and intimate care such as going to the toilet, changing and washing. In the main this is most likely to arise for pre-school children or some gymnasts with severe learning or physical disabilities.
Pre-school Children
Parents of children under three years of age and of children who require assistance to use the toilet must remain with their child. Sapphire Gymnastics require parents of children aged 4 or below years remain nearby and contactable in case their child becomes distressed or requires assistance.

Children with Disabilities
Some children with disabilities, as a result of their need for practical assistance in daily living, may be more vulnerable to abuse and the risk may be greater where there are a number of carers. This may increase the likelihood of exposure to abusive behaviour and make it more difficult to set and maintain physical boundaries. It can be difficult, particularly for children with severe learning disabilities, to differentiate between different roles if carried out by the same person. This may lead to confusion and additional vulnerability.

Taking account of the above factors and the safeguarding concerns that can arise from coaches and others putting themselves in a position where they are alone with a child, Sapphire views as unacceptable the routine provision of personal care by coaches. Sapphire Gymnastics requires all intimate care to be carried out by someone other than the coach (except when the coach is also the parent) whose sole role in relation to the child or young person is to address their care needs.

In order to provide adequate support to gymnasts, Sapphire Gymnastics advocates that either a professional carer approved by the gymnast’s family or the gymnast’s parent or guardian should carry out the role of “carer.”

Although it is acknowledged that some disabled children who take part in events that require an overnight stay may require overnight support, Sapphire Gymnastics considers that it is not acceptable for coaches, or other members in responsible positions, to share a room with an unrelated gymnast in order to provide overnight support.

Sapphire Gymnastics suggests that the parents or guardians together with the coach consider and agree:
• Whether to provide a paid or voluntary professional carer to be awake during the night to give overnight support; or
• Invite the gymnast’s parent or guardian to provide the overnight support.

Supporting Access for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs to Participate in Gymnastics
It is the responsibility of every club to consider the needs of children; making reasonable adjustments to help provide for the inclusion of any child who wishes to participate. All organisations should support young people and their parents to ensure the necessary support is in place for children with disabilities and other special needs to access gymnastics activity.

Under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, Local Authorities are required to provide services for any child who would be defined as a ‘Child in Need’. This may include children with significant disability and children with impaired health and development. Although the Local Authority is responsible for ensuring appropriate needs are met, services may be provided by a voluntary organisation acting on behalf of the Local Authority.

Sapphire Gymnastics expects that where a child with a disability requires support from a carer to access gymnastics activity, and the support is not already provided by a professional carer or family member, organisations’ should look with parents at the child’s needs and if appropriate approach Children’s Social Care Services to request support. In the event that no support is available, the club or service provider should examine whether they can meet the needs of the child or young person without significantly affecting the organisation’s ability to provide gymnastics activity to others. Not every child will need continual one-to-one support. Additional support may be required just for a temporary period until the child settles into the club; for a transition period (e.g. for the first half hour of the club) or for personal care.


Key Points to Consider

Consultation and Working in Partnership
• Consult with families, Children’s Social Care Services, Health and other relevant professionals and voluntary groups to determine a child’s needs and identify support. Start by asking parents and, if appropriate, the child about the specific needs and if other professionals should be approached so there is a clear understanding of the support required.

• Funding
Additional funding may be required where there is requirement for one-to-one support or a higher ratio of staff to children (depending on needs). Funding sources include: Local Authorities, Community Councils, Lottery Grants, Private Businesses, Voluntary Services and Charities that provide grants to support children with disabilities. Local Authority schemes may be able to help with funding for one-to-one support workers.

• Facilities
Are they suitable and accessible? Are there reasonable adjustments that can be addressed?

• Learning Needs
Although Sapphire does not require coaches to hold a qualification for coaching people with disabilities, specialist training may be beneficial to help with communication methods, ensuring a positive attitude towards inclusion etc.

Involving Children and Young People
The British Government agreed, in 1991, to undertake the obligations set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. One of the four core principles is the need to show respect for the views of the child. Article 12 of the Convention states: ‘children have a right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and be taken seriously’.

The Government is therefore committed to giving children and young people a real say and real choices about the government policies and services that affect them.
All Sapphire Gymnastics takes a similar approach and ensure that children and young people have an opportunity to be consulted and, where appropriate, be involved in decisions that relate to their involvement in the sport, as well as within the specific area of safeguarding policy and procedures.

Key principles when involving children and young people:
• The extent that a child or young people can be involved in decision making will depend on their age and level of maturity and understanding.
• Children and young people’s involvement and opinions must be acknowledged and
• Children and young people should be treated honestly. Their expectations need to be managed and boundaries that may limit their involvement explained.
• Children and young people should be provided with timely feedback about how their involvement has shaped or influenced a policy or approach.
• All children and young people should be given the opportunity to be involved irrespective of race, religion, culture, disability, age, ethnic origin, language or the area in which they live.
• Children should always be provided with age-appropriate information to help them understand.
• Information for children and young people should be clear and accessible and in appropriate language and style of communication.
• Children and young people should be supported to enable them to make a positive and effective contribution, e.g. by the Welfare Officer.

Bullying by children or adults on children within Sapphire Gymnastics and other affiliated organisations’ must never be tolerated. All clubs must put in place a robust bullying policy that ensures that all forms of bullying are taken seriously and responded to appropriately in accordance with the following minimum standards.
Bullying is behaviour, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group; physically or emotionally. There is often a power imbalance that makes it hard for the victim/s to prevent or deal with the perpetrator’s actions. The damage inflicted by bullying can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to children and young people, to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, causes them significant harm (including self- harm).

Bullying can occur between:
• An adult and child/young person.
• A child/young person and child/young person.
• A parent and their own child.

Bullying may take many forms and may be conducted in person or through the actions of another person/other people. These include:

• Emotional: Being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding belongings, threatening gestures), name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing/taunts, graffiti.
• Physical: Pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence.
• Sexual: Unwanted physical contact or sexually offensive comment/s.
• Cyber: Email, Social Media and internet chat room misuse, mobile phone threats by text messaging and calls or misuse of technology (ie photographs/ video footage).

Bullying may also take the form of singling out individuals because they belong to a particular group or are different in some way from others (prejudice-based bullying) and may include:

• Racist and religious based bullying.
• Homophobic/ bi-phobic/ trans-phobic: Because of their sexual orientation, or perceived, or actual gender identity.
• Disablist: May focus on, or exploits, a particular aspect of the individual’s disability.

It is acknowledged that the competitive nature of sport can result in tensions that may lead to bullying but bullying cannot be condoned in any circumstance. Examples of bullying in gymnastics could be:
• A gymnast who intimidates fellow gymnasts inappropriately.
• A coach who adopts a win-at-all costs philosophy.
• A parent who pushes too hard.
• An official who places unfair pressure on a person.

Strategies to Discourage Bullying
• Create an open environment and provide adequate supervision at all times.
• Encourage children to speak out and share any concerns with the person in charge, the Club Welfare Officer or other responsible adults.
• Take all signs or allegations of possible bullying seriously.

Responding to Victims of Bullying
• Anyone becoming aware that a child or young person is being bullied, they should offer reassurance and try to gain their trust.
• Explain that someone in authority may need to be informed.
• Keep accurate records of what happened and what was said, together with names of those involved and any action taken.
• Report suspicions or concerns to the person in charge.

Confronting the Bully(ies)
• Talk to the bully, or bullies; explain the situation and try to get them to understand the consequences of their actions.
• Seek an apology from the bully (or bullies) to the victim.
• Inform the bully’s parents.
• Insist that any borrowed items are returned to the victim.
• Impose sanctions or disciplinary action if necessary.
• Report and record all actions taken.
• Provide support for the victim and his/her coach.
• Encourage the bully (or bullies) to change his/her behaviour.

Supporting the Bullied
• Children who have been bullied will often need support from club officers to deal with the impact of bullying. This may include having a specific person to whom concerns can be raised in specific situation or providing a named senior gymnast as a “buddy” in changing facilities.
• They will need support external to the club from parents, other relatives and sometimes school teachers.
• The club may consider holding a reconciliation meeting to help address the issues between the bully and the bullied person.
• The club can advise the child, young person(s) or parent(s) to contact either:
• Kidscape (Email or call 0207730 3300), a charity that offers support to bullied children, as well as day courses to help them deal with bullying and its after effects including how to avoid being bullied in future.
• Anti-Bullying Alliance. A coalition of organisations and individuals that are united against bullying.
Sapphire Gymnastics have a communication policy that covers the use of communication devices and the manner in which coaches can communicate with children and young people. The following key points must be included:
• Mobile phones should be turned off in the gym except in the case where a phone is used as a club contact number or for emergencies.
• It is inappropriate for adult members/staff to communicate with gymnasts under the age of 18 years by:
• Text message.
• Through internet chat rooms/networking sites.
• E-mail.
• All communication by the above methods should be through the parent.
• Subject to parental consent, coaches can communicate with young people over the age of sixteen years either by group e-mails/texts or by copying correspondence to either the Club Welfare Officer or a senior official, as well as the parent(s).
• Coaches should limit communications to training related issues.
• In the event of a gymnast showing a coach a text message, image or email that is considered to be inappropriate for a child to have, the coach must inform the Club Welfare Officer.

As technology has developed, the internet and its range of services can increasingly be accessed through various devices including mobile phones, computers and game consoles. Although the internet has many positive uses, it provides the key method for the distribution of images of child abuse. In addition, networking sites and chat-rooms have increasingly been used by people for the purpose of ‘grooming’ children and young people for abuse, and by children as a means of bullying.

Further information and guidance on this subject can be found in the Sapphire Gymnastics Social Networking Guidelines



Spotting and Manual Support
Supporting and shaping the gymnast is an essential part of coaching gymnastics in that it helps the gymnast to understand shapes, movement patterns and complex skills, but also reduces the risk of injury due to a fall or error in performance. Detailed guidance on appropriate supporting techniques is provided as part of the Sapphire Coach Acadmeny programme.

The key points on safe spotting and manual support are:
• The coach must ensure that support is only used when necessary and “over-handling” is
• The coach must always be alert to the possibility of performance errors or anxiety, which may increase the risk of injury.
• Supporting techniques must not inhibit performance.
• Physical contact should not be invasive of sensitive areas of the body, i.e. genital areas, buttocks or breasts.
Infrequent non-intentional physical contact can arise out of error on the performer or coach’s part. Such situations should not be ignored and need to be acknowledged through an apology to the gymnast and reported to the Club Welfare Officer or head coach and parents. A written report should be made of any significant incident, which is to be reported to Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership or NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit.

It is also good practice to explain and provide some written guidance, perhaps as part of an induction pack, to new members and parents that some physical contact will be required but that only appropriate, non-invasive techniques should be used. If a gymnast or parent has any concerns, they should be raised with the Club Welfare Officer.

In any circumstance where abuse is suspected, Safeguarding reporting procedures should be followed.
Flexibility/Stretching Exercises
There is a range of techniques and types of exercise for extending flexibility that involve the application of force. These techniques can also lead to the person applying the force coming into close proximity with the gymnast and having prolonged contact with areas of the gymnast’s body.

Coaches must follow the following guidelines:
• Use slow, progressive and prolonged stretching exercises, within the “discomfort zone”,
rather than what might be considered to be excessive force.
• Avoid exercises that place the coaches and gymnasts body in “close proximity” and might be
seen as unnecessary by the less-informed parent or observer.
• Be sensitive to how the exercise might be perceived by the parents and children.
• Consider holding a parents’ forum to explain the flexibility training techniques, so that the
parent is more aware and therefore less likely to misinterpret the techniques being used.
• Use partner exercises with more experienced gymnasts where possible.


Adults in positions of trust in dual roles
Some Sapphire Gymnastics coaches hold relevant professional accreditations that would enable them to fulfil a range of support roles within the sport. Common examples include coaches who are also trained as physiotherapists, nutritionists and masseurs.

Sapphire members who wish to make use of their professional qualifications within the sport must first ensure the person being treated is completely clear about the capacity in which they are acting.

The adult in the position of trust is ultimately responsible for maintaining appropriate professional boundaries and ensuring that there is a clear separation between their coaching/gymnastics role and any other activities they undertake. Sapphire Gymnastics strongly recommends that anyone providing an additional support service within the sport does not treat gymnasts that they coach without parental supervision.
High Performance Coaching
Key factors in safeguarding children and young people include always ensuring there are at least two responsible adults present during training and avoiding situations where a responsible person is alone with a child.

A small proportion of children/young people involved in gymnastics who are training at the high performance levels may find that these principles are in conflict with the practicalities of intensive training. One-to-one coaching has clear benefits for a small proportion of appropriately prepared and highly experienced gymnasts and is recognised as the best way to achieve excellence. The number of gymnasts who would benefit from training in this manner is small. In addition, due to the fact that this training tends to take place during the school day and outside standard club hours it can be very difficult to ensure there are always two responsible adults present.

Therefore, while it is always desirable that an additional responsible adult is present, in circumstances where it is not possible, gymnasts within the national system may train in a one-to one situation, subject however to prior approval by the Technical and Performance Director and National Coaching Staff and in liaison with parents/guardians. The squad and/or Club Welfare Officer must also confirm the gymnast’s readiness to train in this manner and that there are appropriate support mechanisms are in place. Requests will only be confirmed on the proviso that there is additional support staff in the building, available to assist in the event of an emergency.

Requests should be made in writing to the Performance and Technical Director and will only be granted if it is believed that it is in the best interest of the gymnast and the governing body is assured that suitable provision is available to ensure the gymnast’s welfare needs are met.


Photography and Use of Imagery
General Principles Concerning the Use of Photographs or Recorded Images

Implicit within the Sapphire Gymnastics policies and procedures for the Protection of Children is the commitment to ensure that all publications and media represent participants appropriately and with due respect. It is not the intention of Sapphire Gymnastics to prevent parents from taking pictures of their children, gymnasts of their friends, or enthusiasts of the sport of gymnastics, but rather to ensure that photographic practices are carefully managed and effective prevention measures are in place to deter anyone with undesirable intentions from taking and publishing inappropriate images.

All locations/clubs must comply with the following guidelines:
• Ensure that gymnasts and/or the person with parental responsibility is fully aware, in advance of the details of where images of the gymnast may be published and are afforded the opportunity to object.
• No personal information, other than their name and their club, should accompany published images (particular provisions apply in connection to photography at public events such as competitions and displays below).
• While some editing of images is acceptable, images taken of gymnasts should not be modified, merged or manipulated in a way which might cause embarrassment or distress to the subject or cause the final image to be inappropriate.
• Care must be taken to ensure that images of children who are under a court order are not recorded or published without permission.
• Simultaneous “live” streaming of images onto a website is not recommended by Sapphire until national guidance is provided. Sapphire recommends pre- recording and, where appropriate, editing material to remove any inappropriate images before it is published.
• Any instance of the use or publication of inappropriate images of gymnasts should be reported to the welfare team who may then inform the appropriate authorities and/or consider any further action.
• Clubs are strongly recommended to introduce a consent form, ideally as part of the process applied when a gymnast joins the club, concerning the taking or use of images whilst at events or during training.

• Clubs are to give due consideration to the secure storage of images. They should not be stored on unencrypted portable equipment such as laptops, memory sticks or mobile phones. Avoid using any personal equipment or personal social media platform (whether to publish or store). Only use devices belonging to the club.

• Withdrawal of consent to use photographs/Images. In circumstances, where parental consent is withdrawn, clubs must adhere to existing Data Protection legislation and guidance provided by the Information Commissioners Office. The Act states that where consent has been removed, the relevant organisation must conform to such a request within a reasonable amount of time. Whilst this is not further defined in law, clubs must do so as soon as possible and provide confirmation to the parent(s) of such.

Sapphire Gymnastics recognises that there is a potential for abuse of any image placed on the Internet or within other forms of media. Although the exploitation of such images may be rare,
Sapphire Gymnastics has a responsibility to provide guidance on how images of children and young people should be used to reduce the risk of potential ‘grooming’.

Those creating or administering websites should carefully monitor their content to eliminate the use of inappropriate images or improper text.

When determining whether it is appropriate to publish a photograph on a website or another form of media, consideration should be given to both the potential for inappropriate use of an image and the possibility that an individual could make contact with a child by using any personal and club details placed on line.

The following steps should be taken to reduce the risk from the publication of imagery:
• Do not use any personal details if it is possible from the image to ascertain a specific location, or there are any details on your site about the training venue.
• If it is not possible to ascertain any training or competitive location, consider using a first name only next to an image.
• The dress of a child should be considered when using the photo: –
i.) If it is a posed shot for example taken during a medal presentation, try to ensure that the child is fully clothed in a tracksuit or similar attire.
ii.) If it is an action shot, try to use profile imagery and avoid full-length shots.
Alternatively, use digital software to blur the child’s facial features.
• Do not use images that can appear staged and potentially provocative.
• Avoid using images that appear to focus unnecessarily directly on the groin area in movements where legs are in a split position.

• Always use a parental consent form to request the use of a child’s image for publication. The parent should be encouraged to discuss the matter with their child before signing a consent form.

NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit should be informed of any inappropriate use of imagery on Gymnastics websites or any other form of media, which is not in keeping with this guidance. Anyone discovering a child’s image that appears to be being used illegally online should report the matter to Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (UK) (CEOP), who provide a single point of contact for reporting abuse of children online.


Photography at Gymnastic Events
Official Photography
Accredited photographers may be present at planned events, and in some cases events will be videoed and/or live steamed. These images may be used by Sapphire Gymnastics and our subsidiary companies for the purposes of promotion, education and development of the sport. They may also be shared with relevant third party organisations for journalistic/promotional purposes.

Sapphire Gymnastics competition entry forms will advise participants that photography and filming will take place at the event. Clubs will also announce the photography/filming arrangements at the event. Clubs must ensure that gymnasts/parents are informed of the photography arrangements for the relevant event. Any gymnast or parent who does not wish themselves or their child to be photographed/filmed at the event must advise the events department or the event organiser. Although it is not always practical to manage the content of live steamed footage, Sapphire Gymnastics will ensure any identifiable images of the participant are not published.

Personal Photography
Sapphire Gymnastics does not wish to discourage the use of video or photographic equipment at events for appropriate use, but will take all reasonable precautions to protect gymnasts against the possible inappropriate use of films or photographic images. Sapphire Photography Regulations require anyone organising a gymnastic event to regulate the taking of photographs and apply, as a minimum, the Conditions for Photography at Gymnastic Events.

If the event organiser/welfare officer (or authorised representative of the event organiser/welfare officer) suspects inappropriate photography or filming, the officer/organiser should exercise his/her powers under the conditions to request the person to leave the venue and to surrender any film and/or delete any images relating to the event. Any person at an event, who has any concerns about any images being taken, by any person, should bring them to the attention of the competition organiser or other designated person.

Use of Video as an Aid to Coaching
The use of video equipment can be a valuable aid to coaching. The points below are implemented to safeguard against inappropriate practice:
• Ensure that the performers and the person with parental responsibility are aware of the purpose of the filming as a coaching aid.
• Ensure that there is at least one other responsible adult present in addition to the person filming.
• Ensure any video recording is stored securely to avoid inappropriate or unauthorised use and deleted when it is no longer require for coaching purposes.

Transporting Gymnasts
The following guidance relates to coaches who transport gymnasts to training or events/competitions. Additional guidance is provided for the official provision of transport by a club for away events.

Gymnasts are required to train a large number of hours to achieve high levels of performance, therefore great commitment is required not only from the gymnasts but also from their parents. In the past, it has often been the case that well-meaning coaches or officials have provided transport to members of their clubs to assist parents. However, it has been identified that some adults in the sport have used this as an opportunity to get children or young people alone and abuse has occurred. As a result, Sapphire Gymnastics requires that Sapphire coaches do not take children alone on car journeys, except in unforeseen circumstances. *
The following are practical suggestions to help alleviate transport problems:
• Make parents aware (preferably when their child joins the club) that it is the coaches’
responsibility to coach and not to provide transport for their child.
• When a child accepts a place in a squad, the parent should be asked to commit to ensuring the child attends all training sessions and to be responsible for making the necessary transport arrangements.
• Encourage parents to share transport with other parents.
• Transport gymnasts in groups.

It is unacceptable for coaches to transport one child alone and in the case of transporting a group of gymnasts, best practice would require two responsible adults in the car. (This does not include another coach who is themselves under 18 years). However, in exceptional circumstances where the provision of two responsible adults is not possible and subject to prior consent from all relevant parents, a coach could transport a group of gymnasts (Not individual) without another adult present. This is subject to the following conditions:
• The driver must ensure there are central pick-up and drop-off points to ensure they are not alone with a child.
• The driver should also provide parents with full details of any planned breaks in the journey and departure and arrival times.
• Gymnasts must be seated in the back of the car with booster seats if required.
• The Club Welfare Officer should be made aware of the arrangements.
In the case of gymnasts attending National Squad training, parents should be encouraged to team up with the parents of another squad member who lives closest to them. On occasion that the parents are unable to provide transport, a coach or official could then transport the gymnasts as a pair.
* Unforeseen would only apply in the event of an accident or where something unexpected has happened and there is no other alternative but to take a child alone in the car and to fail to act would put the child at risk of harm. Where these situations are unavoidable, and whenever possible, the full consent of either the Welfare Officer, Head coach or Official in the club and/or the child’s parents should be obtained.

Late Collection of Children
The following information provides guidance for clubs on how to respond where a parent, for whatever reason, does not arrive at the required time to collect their child.

All parents must be advised that in the event that they are delayed for any reason, they must:
• Contact the club at the earliest opportunity.
• Provide clear guidance on what they wish the club to do, e.g. consent for another parent to transport their child home.

The Club must:
• Maintain a list of parent contact details and emergency numbers.
• Never leave a child or young person alone unless she/he is over 16 and then only with parent’s
• Carry out appropriate assessments of situations as they arise, acknowledging that some young people aged 16 and over can go home alone if their parent is delayed.

The Club Officers’ must not:
• Take the child home or to another location.
• Ask the child to wait in a vehicle or the club with them alone.
• Send the child home with another person without permission.

If the parent is considered by the club as being unduly late, the Club Officers should:
• Attempt to contact the parent from the information sheet completed on joining/renewing membership.
• Attempt to contact the emergency contact person nominated.
• If there is no reply from the emergency contact, ask the child if there is another family member who may be contacted.
• Wait with the child at the club with at least one other official/coach/teacher/volunteer or parent.
• Respond to any instructions received from the parent.
• If no one can be reached, contact the local police or Children’s Social Care Services to enquire
about the best course of action.

Persistent Failure to Collect a Child/Young Person on Time
Parents who persistently fail to collect a child on time or have not arrived after a reasonable period of time and have given no prior notice or informed the club they are delayed, may be failing to provide adequate care for their child.

If the parent makes no effort to contact the club or provide reasonable explanation for the delays, the Club Welfare Officer and another club officer should arrange to meet with the parent to discuss the matter. It may be the parent/carer needs assistance to arrive on time.

If there is no change the Club Welfare Officer should either contact the children’s team at the local Children’s Social Care Services or seek advice from the NSPCC Child Protection In Sport Unit.

If a parent arrives to collect a child and there is concern that the parent’s ability to take appropriate care of the child may be impaired (e.g. the parent is considered to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that she/he is unfit to drive, and/or take care of the child) the club should seek advice from the Police or Children’s Social Care Service.

Missing Children
In the rare event that a child goes missing from a club, the following guidelines have been devised to outline the actions that should be taken. At the point that a child has been identified as missing the club should:
• Ensure that other children in the group are looked after appropriately while a search for the child concerned is conducted.
• Inform the child’s parents if they are present, or nominate an appropriate person to telephone them and advise them of the concern. Reassure them that everything is being done to locate the child.
• Organise all available responsible adults by areas to be searched. It is best to take a short time to organise the search properly so that all places are searched fully.
• Search the area in which the child has gone missing including changing rooms, toilets, public and private areas and the club grounds.
• Request all those searching to report back to a nominated adult at a specific point and time.
• Make a note of the circumstances in which the child has gone missing and where he/she was last seen.
• Prepare a detailed physical description of the child as this will be required by the Police. This should include:
• Approximate height.
• Build.
• Hair and eye colour.
• Ethnicity.
• Clothing he/she was wearing.
• Report the concern to the Police if the search is unsuccessful. This must happen no later than 30 minutes after the child or young person’s disappearance is noted, even if the search is incomplete.
• Follow Police guidance if further action is recommended and maintain close contact with the Police.
• Ensure that you inform all adults involved including the parents, searchers and Police if at any stage the child is located.
• Refer the concern ASAP to the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit.

Safe Trips

PDF Version

Sapphire Gymnastics adheres to the Safe Trips policy. All actions set out by this guidance are put in place and adhered to for any trips made and direct copies at that time can be obtained by our office teams or via email at

1.0 Introduction

Trips are a regular and enjoyable part of most club activities. Although the vast majority of trips are highly successful and provide a positive experience for participants, occasionally incidents do arise. This guidance provides information to support clubs with the planning and management of risks associated the gymnastics trips together with a number of supporting documents. Appendix
5.1 provides a club trip checklist to assist clubs in the planning and review of health and safety arrangements for the trips.

The following guidance is part of a suite of documents that should be read and implemented in conjunction with the Sapphire Gymnastics Health & Safety Management System & Guidance.

1.1 Responsibilities
Clubs who are employers (and self-employed people) are required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of staff and anyone else who may be affected by the club’s work activities e.g. gymnasts, parents and volunteers. This duty is owed whether these work activities take place at or away from the gymnastics training venue.

Whether an employer or not, it is therefore incumbent on all clubs to ensure that there are robust health and safety arrangements in place for all trips. While the overall responsibility for these arrangements rests with the person in charge of a club, these duties can be delegated to other staff and volunteers e.g. the Head of Delegation for a trip. The club must ensure that:

• Any necessary approval required has been obtained and outline travel plans agreed;
• Safeguarding and child protection arrangements, including pre-recruitment checks and training are in place in line with Sapphire Gymnastics guidelines;
• Risk assessments are completed and communicated to all relevant people.

2.0 Approval and Travel Plans

If the trip requires an overnight stay, or is abroad, there are further implications to consider and substantial planning will be necessary. Clubs or organisations’ should appoint a Trip/Team Manager, who will be responsible for ensuring all the necessary plans are in place for a successful trip.

Permission must be obtained from Sapphire Travel Team at least 4 weeks before the trip where an overnight stay is involved.

Sapphire Gymnastics membership does not include travel insurance. Additional insurance is required for trips abroad. Sapphire Gymnastics does not recommend any particular provider.

Although it is possible to organise a trip independently you may prefer to use the services of a tour operator who will help you tailor a trip to meet the requirements of your group. Sapphire Gymnastics recommends the use of a Service Provision checklist or agreement such as the one contained in appendix 5.2 of this document to help ensure that any arrangements made with tour operators and also facility providers are formalised.

When a trip is being planned it is essential to consider the full cost of the trip. As well as individual cost of travel, food and accommodation and other extras, the club should consider how volunteers are funded and if staff will be paid to go on the trip.

3.0 Safeguarding

Sapphire Gymnastics requires teams or affiliated organisations who are taking gymnast(s) under the age of 18 years on a trip involving an overnight stay, to have a designated travelling welfare officer responsible for safeguarding and protecting children (NB: Please note this is not applicable if all children are accompanied by a parent or someone with parental responsibility). This person must be able to perform the role without any obvious conflicts of interest e.g. being a coach or in a relationship with a coach attending the trip. All welfare officers must hold Sapphire Gymnastics membership and have completed a criminal record check and training requirements for the role. This person’s role will depend on the scale of the trip, but in addition to the responsibility for responding to concerns, tasks could include supervision and co-ordination of accommodation, holding pre-event welfare briefings and daily de-briefs, and monitoring compliance with codes of conduct. Please refer to the Sapphire Gymnastics Safeguarding guidance documents for further relevant information.

In non-residential trips/events, the welfare officer need not always be on site/with the group but must be contactable and ready to act if required. Alternatively the role of the welfare officer could be untaken by an existing member of staff or volunteer, but it is vital that the person identified is able to take a child-centred approach and has the confidence of young people taking part in the event. In representative events, a trained Head of Delegation can take on this role but a detailed risk assessment must be carried out to ensure the Head of Delegation has the capacity to fulfil the role along with his/her other duties.

4.0 Trip Risk Assessment

Before undertaking any trip, employers (and self-employed) are legally required to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment in accordance with Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Sapphire Gymnastics would strongly recommend that clubs run by volunteers also ensure a risk assessment is completed. A risk assessment should detail any significant risks associated with the activity/trip and the precautions to be taken to minimise the risk.

Detailed guidance on risk assessment is contained in the Sapphire Gymnastics Health & Safety Management System & guidance. Additional advice can be provided by Agility UK.

The Team Manager/Head of Delegation must ensure a risk assessment is completed prior to the event. However, it is always advised that this process should be completed by a team of people with relevant knowledge and experience to help ensure that the identification of potential risks is

suitable and sufficient. The completed assessment will also need to be shared with all trip staff and volunteers.

The person in charge needs to ensure an ongoing process of risk assessment as new or unplanned situations arise leading up to and during the trip. The trip risk assessment template in appendix 5.3 provides an alternative format for supporting the trip risk assessment process. The information in this section will assist to complete a trip assessment using this template. Please note that some sections of the form may not always be applicable e.g. if the trip is within the UK.

4.1 Planning
Risk assessments should consider the risks inherent in the activities to be undertaken as well as those associated with a particular trip and participant and identify the precautions necessary to ensure that risks to health are minimised.

It is good practice for an exploratory visit to form part of the risk assessment. If this is not possible information/advice could be sought from others involved in previous visits or from reliable local guides.

The assessment should always include a pre-assessed contingency plan that covers what to do in the event that the trip does not go to plan e.g. delays in transport, problems with accommodation, misconducts etc. If the trip involves overseas travel, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website at: must be consulted.

If you are making repeat visits to the same place, and there are no changes to circumstances, participants, information or guidance, then you may not need to complete the entire form on each occasion and the same assessment can be re-named and used. If however there are changes to participants or arrangements, or FCO risk status (if overseas); it is essential that the risk assessment is reviewed and amended where required.

Involving participants and their parents/carers in the planning of the trip and risk assessments helps to ensure participants are better prepared, more able to make more informed decisions and consequently less at risk.

4.2 Supervision
There are no legal minimum requirements and supervision levels should be informed by a full assessment of the needs of the group, the experience and skills of the adults providing supervision and the specific hazards associated with the trip e.g. trips abroad. Sapphire Gymnastics recommends a minimum of one adult to 10 children. This ratio may need to be increased if the group is made up of primary school aged children, or children with special needs; or the trip is of a nature where more supervision may be required, e.g. trips abroad.

If the group is mixed sex there should be at least one male and one female supervisor. There should always be at least two adults accompanying any group. If the group included people with special needs, there may be some specific skill requirements of supervisors that need to be considered. In some cases parents or designated carers may need to be included (further information on the provision of personal care is contained within the Sapphire Gymnastics Safeguarding Children: Safe Environment guidance).

Ratios must be sufficient to ensure that if there is an accident and a participant needs hospital treatment or another emergency arises, there is at least one adult who can remain with the group.
4.3 Children under-8
It is strongly recommended that Sapphire does not take children under-8 away abroad or overnight unless their parent/s or someone with legal parental responsibility can accompany them on the trip. This is because younger children are likely to require higher levels of supervision and may need some assistance with elements of personal care that would not be normally be required during the day. It is also quite likely that children of a young age may not have gone away without a parent.

In the event that a club is considering taking a child under-8 on a trip abroad, or overnight, the trip organiser should ensure the risk assessment specifically addresses any additional hazards associated with younger children’s needs. The club must be confident that suitable and sufficient controls/safeguards are in place before allowing an under-8 child to attend. If the event is of a competitive nature, the club must ensure the competition is at an appropriate level for the age of the child.

4.4 Individual needs
Parents have a duty to provide adequate information about their child that is likely to be relevant to the management of the trip. The parent or the participant (if adults) should be asked to confirm the following:

• Any disabilities/special needs and/or medical needs or recent illnesses/pregnancy or recent childbirth
• Information on any allergies, dietary needs, any other relevant information about the participant
e.g. phobias, travel sickness
• Level of competency in relation to any other planned activities e.g. swimming
• Any other information they consider relevant
• Emergency contacts

4.5 New or expectant mothers
If anyone attending the trip is a new or expectant mother you are also required to complete a new or expectant mother’s risk assessment form. An example is provided in the Sapphire Gymnastics Health and Safety System Management Documentation.

4.6 Transport
When a club transports gymnasts away from their normal training venue to competition, squad training, festivals or other events, there are many additional health, safety and welfare factors to consider. Where an event is local, it is often easiest to arrange for everyone to meet at the event venue. However where an event is further away, it is often sensible for the club to make arrangements to travel together e.g. coach or mini-bus. Where clubs are taking responsibility for the provision of transport, a driving risk assessment should be completed, an example of which is provided in appendix 5.4. As part of this process, clubs should ensure the following measures are completed:

• Checking all driving licences, car insurance documents and MOT documents (if the car is over three years old);
• Checking driving experience (additional training may be required for anyone driving a mini-bus
– contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for further details);
• Verifying that anyone driving a vehicle only for children has completed a criminal record check;
• Checking that the vehicle provides a seatbelt for each passenger;
• Ensuring the transport provision is accessible by participants with physical disabilities;
• Organising central pick-up and drop-off points (to avoid the driver being alone with a child);
• Obtaining consent from parents to allow their child to be transported;
• Ensure details of the route and breaks (if necessary) are provided to parents.

Where groups are small, the most feasible option is often to travel in a private car. Although this is not recommended; it may be the only practical way of getting to an event. It is important to note that Sapphire Gymnastics Safeguarding Policy prohibits any Sapphire Gymnastics members in a position of trust from being alone with a gymnast under the age of 18 years in a car. Please refer to the transport section contained in the Sapphire Gymnastics Safe Environment guidance for further information.

Sapphire Gymnastics clubs who wish to use volunteers to drive groups of gymnasts should keep a register of drivers and keep a record of checks carried out. If an accident resulted in injury to a Sapphire Gymnastics member, they would be covered under the Sapphire Gymnastics personal accident insurance policy if travelling directly to or from a Sapphire Gymnastics activity or event.

4.7 Accommodation
When large groups are travelling it is advisable to ensure accommodation is booked well in advance. This can help to ensure that groups are kept together in a hotel. It is not good practice for anyone over the age of eighteen to share a room with anyone under the age of sixteen. Members of staff such as coaches, instructors, judges, adult helpers/volunteers must not share with gymnasts. This is only acceptable if the member of staff is the parent or registered carer of the gymnast. Room allocation should, if possible, be planned prior to the trip.

4.8 Hosting Gymnasts
Sapphire Gymnastics is unable to regulate or insure against the hosting of gymnasts in any situation other than within establishments licensed for the provision of overnight accommodation. Clubs who wish to host gymnasts under the age of 18 years with families or accommodate gymnasts within gymnasium facilities, school halls etc. should seek advice from the local Children’s Social Care Services and may need to seek additional insurance cover as Sapphire Gymnastics insurance may not provide cover in these circumstances.

Hosting with families
If the club does not have appropriate procedures in place to ensure host families are suitably vetted, hosting should not be considered as an option. Clubs that are prepared to carry out vetting procedures should undertake appropriate risk assessments prior to hosting taking place and they must consider the following:

• Seek parental consent;
• Ensure the host family has knowledge of any medical or dietary needs of their guests;

• Ensure children are hosted in pairs that are appropriately matched;
• Host families should be clear about the arrangements for transporting the children;
• Children staying with host families should have easy access to a telephone and to the trip organiser/lead and welfare officer;
• Parents should be made aware that children may not be as fully supervised as they are in the gym.

Hosting in Unlicensed Establishments, e.g. gymnasiums or schools
Sapphire Gymnastics recognises that groups attending large gymnastics festivals are often accommodated within ‘dormitories’ in schools or gymnastics centres’. This arrangement may not be ideal but may be the only available option. The following guidance should be considered:

• Ensure groups are sharing with other groups they know;
• Ensure there are separate sleeping and washing areas for males and females, and staff and gymnasts. It would also be appropriate to allocate rooms in age groups where possible;
• Adults should not share the dormitory with young people but should be accommodated in a nearby room;
• Ensure that there is waking night staff to conduct regular patrols of the accommodation and prevent unauthorised entry;
• Ensure accommodation is safe and secure (fire exits, emergency procedures etc.);
• Ensure the organiser visits the accommodation prior to the event to ensure it is satisfactory and address any concerns.

4.9 Area of travel
There may be specific health hazards associated with the country which place the health of participants at greater risk than normal e.g. malaria. It is important to consult the latest version of the World Health Organisations (WHO) “International Travel and Health” at: and the U.S. Center for Disease Control at:

There may be specific safety hazards associated with your area of travel which will place the safety of participants at greater risk than would be normal in the UK. You must take steps to ensure that such risk is minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable. As a first step you should consult the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website at: . It would also be helpful to discuss such issues with the organisers/hosts who will have up to date local knowledge.

4.10 Involving parents and consent
It is essential for parents to complete a consent form for a trip and is asked to provide participant and emergency contact information. Parents need to be fully informed (in writing) of all details in relation to the trip, including information relating to the management of any identified risks. This list is not exhaustive but parents should be informed of:

• Date and purpose of the trip (including details of any other planned activities)
• Transport arrangements
• Insurance cover/cancellations policy
• Key timings – Pick up, departure and collection
• Accommodation and contact details
• Supervision ratios and room allocations

• Any additional arrangements for participants with special needs
• Names and contact details for trip staff
• Contact details of welfare officer and relevant safeguarding arrangements
• Trip requirements – clothing, pocket money, kit etc.

4.11 Codes of Conduct
All Participants (including staff and volunteers), and their parents, if under 16, should be asked to sign a code of conduct and be informed of the consequences if behaviour does not meet the required standards e.g. exclusion from activities, disciplinary action etc.

It is good practice to invite participants and/or their parents to attend a trip briefing meeting to go through all the above arrangements and answer any questions before any travel abroad or overnight.

4.12 Contingency and emergency planning
Contingency plans form an essential part of the planning process for a trip and should be a key feature of the risk assessment process. Prior to any trip it is important to consider what would happen in all possible scenarios. It is best to consider the worst case and make sure that you have procedures in place to deal with these situations e.g. a missing child. An ongoing/dynamic assessment of risks should continue throughout the trip when the need arises. Risks may need to be reassessed in the light of changing weather, illness or injury, behavioural problems and emergencies.

It is useful to develop procedures for immediate action in the event of any emergency e.g. missing child, serious incident/accident etc. There procedures are likely to include the following steps:

• Establishing the nature and extent of any emergency
• Ensuring the safety of everyone in the group
• Establishing the identity of any casualties and arranging immediate medical attention
• Ensuring there is at least one adult available to accompany casualties to hospital and adequate supervision of the remaining participants
• Providing access to relevant medical information
• Notify the police and other emergency services
• Informing parents
• Contacting provider/tour operator and insurers
• Contact Sapphire Gymnsatics in the event of a major incident, particularly if there are likely to be any media enquiries
• Recording the incident details – e.g. an account of what happened (including time of key events), details of casualties and injuries, action taken and plans, witness details, photos, evidence and any other relevant information
• Completing any incident/accident reporting forms as soon as possible
• Notifying the British Embassy/Consulate (if the incident is abroad)
• Retaining any receipts of costs incurred in the emergency (for the insurers)

4.13 First Aid
A first aid box should be taken on any trip along with the list of emergency contact numbers. Where possible, it is advisable to ensure at least one adult has up-to-date training in the provision of emergency first aid. However, in most cases, access to first aid is likely to be provided through hotels, transport providers (e.g. airlines), event organisers etc.

4.14 Reporting of injuries
Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013, employers are responsible for reporting serious work-related injuries to the HSE.

You may need to report some accidents/incidents to the enforcing authorities, usually the HSE. If the trip is outside the UK, the UK HSE has no jurisdiction, therefore RIDDOR is not enforceable (and the procedures in the country of origin should be applied), however, it is essential for insurance purposes that an accident record and full report is prepared for insurance purposes. All members should notify Sapphire Gymnastics of any accidents where an individual requires first aid treatment for an injury.

Further information and template forms are available in the Sapphire Gymnastics Health & Safety Management System & Guidance.

Safe Recruitment

PDF Version


Safe recruitment requires safeguarding issues to be considered at every stage of the recruitment process when appointing to a position working or volunteering with children. Although the vast majority of coaches and officials/unqualified assistants are committed, dedicated people who are motivated to work within the sport for commendable reasons, it is vital that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that any unsuitable people or people who may abuse children are prevented from working with young people.

The following procedures should be adopted and applied consistently, and help to ensure that gymnastics organisations recruit individuals who share the organisation’s values and approach to safeguarding as well as providing an effective deterrent to anyone who wants to abuse children within the sport. All clubs should review their existing practice and make any required changes.

As people who want to abuse children may seek out various avenues to gain access to children, it is equally important that robust recruitment procedures are in place for both paid and voluntary positions. These practices must be followed at all times, even where there is only one applicant for a position.

One-off Volunteers
The only current exception to this is in the case of one-off volunteers who will only have supervised contact with children for a limited period of time. This may include:
– parents or other volunteers helping out at a club fundraiser or event;
– young people attending the club for a work experience.

Clubs who run a dedicated facility should ensure they operate a sign-in and out system for these volunteers/visitors.
Where one-off volunteering becomes more regular, e.g. more than once a month, the recruitment procedures must be fully applied.

It should be noted that it is inappropriate, and in the case of criminal records checks unlawful, to apply recruitment procedures to parents whose only role is to care for their own child, e.g. a parent of a child with a disability who attends a gymnastics session to provide one-to-one support for the child. However, in the event that the individual in question wishes to take on a role within the club that will bring responsibility for other young people the full recruitment procedures must be applied.
It is essential that the following recruitment and selection procedures are applied without unlawfully discriminating against candidates on grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation, and are fully compliant with the Data Protection 1998.


Safe Recruitment Processes
The key elements of a robust safe recruitment process will include:

Preparing Candidate Information
This should include: –

– job description that makes reference to the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children;
– person specification ensuring specific reference is made to suitability to work with children;
– application form, which contains appropriate safeguarding sections.

Attracting Candidates
This may be done through advertising commonly in the press and on websites. Any publicity must make clear reference to safeguarding and the use of criminal records checks as part of the recruitment process.
Scrutinising Applications
The process of analysing application forms with a view of selecting a shortlist and picking up on any discrepancies or anomalies in their paperwork, which may be addressed with the candidate at interview.
Obtaining References
References that specifically address the applicant’s suitability to work with children should, with consent of the applicant, ideally be taken before interview so that any issues can be addressed at this stage.
In addition to the candidate’s suitability for the role, the interview process should investigate the candidate’s suitability to work with children.
• Applicant’s identity;
• Right to work in UK;
• Qualifications;
• Criminal Record Check.
An enhanced DBS or home country equivalent in line with the requirements set out in Criminal Record Checks Policy and Guidelines must be completed for anyone over the age of sixteen who has not completed a check through within the last three years or registered with the DBS Update Service.
The successful candidate should have a period of time where she/he is introduced to the organisation’s safeguarding policy and procedures, an assessment of learning needs is conducted and appropriate training, coaching and mentoring are provided to address the identified needs.
Monitoring and Appraisal
An employee or volunteer should be provided with regular performance reviews, particularly during the probation period.


Candidate Information
Anyone who expresses an interest in the job or role should be sent a candidate information pack, which together with the terms and conditions for the post and the application form should include a job description and a person specification as well as information on the organisation’s safeguarding policy and equality policy.
The Job description identifies the key roles and responsibilities that make up the position. As safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility, it should include the responsibility the post holder will have for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
In addition to the job description, the person specification should aim to provide a profile of the ‘ideal’ person for the job, providing a framework within which a number of candidates can be assessed. It is standard practice to indicate which factors are essential and those that are desirable and common to identify how each aspect will be assessed, e.g. questioning at interview. An essential factor that must be included in all person specifications for roles working with young people is suitability to work with children.

Application Form
All applicants should be required to complete a standard application form, even if they have provided a curriculum vitae (CV). This will ensure all required details are provided and will allow for easier comparison between applicants. The application should indicate that a criminal record check will be requested as part of the pre-recruitment checks where a risk assessment has identified that it is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. Such positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and require that applicants disclose all cautions, reprimands, final warnings and convictions; even those that are considered ‘spent’. The Exceptions Order 1975 (2013) states that certain spent convictions and cautions are ‘protected’ and are not subject to disclosure to employers , and cannot be taken into account. Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found at

The applicant should be asked to supply the following information:

– Current and any former names, address and other contact details;
– National Insurance number to confirm the right to work;
– Any relevant academic or vocational qualifications and details of the awarding body;
– A full history in chronological order of any paid or voluntary positions working with children, with start and end dates and reasons for leaving;
– A statement of the personal qualities and experience that demonstrate the applicant’s suitability for the position and how she/he fulfils the person specification;
– Contact details of at least two referees (not relatives), one of whom should be a previous employer or club who have agreed to provide written comment on the individual’s experience and suitability to work with children and young people. The application form should indicate that references will be sought for short-listed candidates prior to the interview, except in the case of current employers where the applicant has a justifiable objection;
– Confirmation of whether they have any convictions, cautions, reprimands or finalwarnings that are not “protected” as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013).
It should highlight that the successful applicant will be required to complete a criminal record check through B the relevant Home Country Gymnastics governing body.

Attracting Candidates
Safeguarding needs to feature strongly in any advertising when recruiting for a position working with young people. The recruiting organisation should prepare a safeguarding statement that should feature in any publicity about the role. In addition, the organisation should include a statement advising that a criminal record check will be required as part of the recruitment process.
– Sample advertisement;
– Details of recruiting organization;
– Position and main duties and responsibilities;
– Salary (or indication of whether expenses can be claimed if the role is voluntary);
– Experience/qualifications required;
– Safeguarding statement: ‚Sapphire Gymnastics is committed to safeguarding children and ensuring all young people have a positive experience in the sport. Anyone recruited to work or volunteer for the organisation must be fully committed to these values‛
– The use of criminal records checks as part of the recruitment and selection process.

Scrutinising Applications
All applications should be scrutinised to ensure all the required information has been provided and to identify anything of concern. This could include any discrepancies in information provided or any unexplained gaps in respect of applicants’ involvement in the sport.
All candidates should be assessed equally against the criteria contained in the person specification without exception or variation and a shortlist prepared. Any concerns identified from the application form should be addressed with the applicant at interview.

Obtaining References
Prior to the interview, subject to the applicant’s consent, references should be sought and, where appropriate, relevant qualifications or previous experience should be confirmed.
In the event that someone is being interviewed who has indicated she/he has previous qualifications/experience in gymnastics, the recruiting organisation should request, in writing on formal headed paper, confirmation from previous club of: –
• Any membership;
• date of last criminal record check;
• any qualifications/awards;
• any known reason for not employing/appointing the named person.
Seeking references prior to interview is always preferable in order that any concerns can be addressed with the applicant. An applicant who does not agree to their current employer being approached should be advised that in the event they are the preferred candidate for the job, they will be required to address any issues raised by the current employer prior to their appointment being confirmed.
In addition to the current employer, references should also be sought from any previous organisations’ where the applicant worked in paid or voluntary position with children. It is useful to make use of the reference form for positions working with children to ensure the referee covers all the required information.

Where a position involves significant contact with young people a formal interview should be held according to correct procedures and protocol. The purpose of the interview is to carry out an assessment of the qualities of candidates in relation to the requirements of the job and their suitability to work with children. There should always be a face-to-face interview, even if there is only one candidate.
Additional information can be requested at interview to support the details contained in the application form and address/ask questions relating to any information disclosed in the self- declaration of convictions. It is also important to explore any discrepancies between the information on the application form and the information obtained in pre-interview checks.
Where the post involves working with children, it is always preferable that there are a minimum of two interviewers to allow for a full assessment of the candidate’s responses. The members of an interview panel must have attended safeguarding awareness training as a minimum and have the authority to make the recruitment decision.
It is important to agree in advance the process for the interview and the questions that will be asked. These should include a number of questions that focus on suitability to work with children. These questions should aim to identify underlying attitudes and may require the interview panel members to be probing in their questioning techniques. Possible ways to elicit this type of information include asking how the applicant behaved in an actual situation involving young people, or to question why they believe specific aspects of the safeguarding policy are important.
The interview panel should take the opportunity to address any concerns arising from the information on the application form or as part of a reference. The panel should also confirm the details made in the self-declaration are correct and the willingness to complete a DBS disclosure or equivalent if required in line with Criminal Record Checks Policy & Guidance.

Verification Processes
Anyone recruiting people to work with children should adopt a checklist to be applied following the selection process, without satisfactory completion of which a firm employment offer should not be made. The checklist should include:
• Verification of identity;
• Sponsorship and Endorsement of Migrant Workers.
If a non EU national (known as a migrant worker) wants to live/work in the UK they must apply to the UK Border Agency for a working visa under the new Points Based System – for further details refer to

• Verification of qualifications.
To avoid any unnecessary delays, all candidates should be instructed to bring their identity documents to the interview. Candidates must also bring with them any qualification and awards certificates.

Identity Checks
It is vital to be sure that the person is who he or she claims to be. As identity verification is required as part of the criminal record check application process, the Welfare Officer or other nominated designated person should conduct the identity verification process using the Identity Verification Form (IVF). Original identity documents must be provided and verification must be conducted in the presence of the applicant to ensure they are the person shown in photographic evidence.

Confirming the Appointment
Once a decision has been made to employ someone or invite someone to take a voluntary role within a club or organisation, an offer letter should be sent out. This letter should specify full details and requirements of the position and any probation period if appropriate. The applicant should be informed that appointment would be subject to a satisfactory criminal record check and references (if any have not yet been checked).

Criminal Records Checks
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 became law in May 2012 and placed the following legal requirements on organisations:
• To not knowingly allow a barred person to work in ‘Regulated Activity’;
• To inform the DBS if an individual is removed from ‘Regulated Activity’ because they have harmed or because they pose a risk of harm to vulnerable groups (including children).
A criminal records check will confirm whether an individual is included on a barred list. members in regulated activity are required to complete an enhanced DBS with barring list check every three years. It is the responsibility of the affiliated organisation to assess the role and determine whether a criminal record check is required in line and the appropriate level in line with Criminal Records Checks Policy & Guidance.
Prior to receipt and approval of the criminal record check, the individual may be permitted to undertake a role which is supervised at all times by a person in regulated activity within the affiliated organisation, for a maximum period of 6 weeks.
The Case Management Team is responsible for carrying out an initial assessment of any content on a disclosure and will make a suitability decision in the case of content assessed to be low risk. In the case of medium-high risk content, the Case Referral Management Group (CRMG) will be responsible for the suitability decision.

Overseas Candidates
A DBS/Access NI/Disclosure Scotland Criminal Record Check will not provide a full picture of a criminal record for any candidate who has been resident in a foreign country. Different countries operate varying methods for providing background checks and not all countries are able to provide this service. The DBS website provides current advice on which countries are able to provide a check and the applicable procedure. Non-UK vetting must also be undertaken on British passport holders who have lived abroad in the past five years.

While the pre-recruitment processes are important, particularly to act as a deterrent to those individuals who may be considered unsuitable, perhaps the most significant time is the successful candidate’s period of induction in the initial months of appointment.
There may be some standard elements of induction but a successful induction is likely to have considered the individual needs of each new recruit and will involve a variety of elements, including:
• An explanation of Club Safeguarding and protecting children policy and other policies.
• Formally signing up to club policies and codes of ethics and conduct.
• Clarification of roles, responsibilities and consideration of expectations.
• An assessment of learning needs, e.g. safeguarding, coaching, first aid, equality and diversity, English (if English is not a first language).
• Coaching and mentoring.
Experienced individuals often have various mentors who support them at times throughout their career. A mentor is particularly important in an induction period and may act as a role model, cultural differences, language barriers etc.
Good induction programmes will fully support the needs of new employees or volunteers and allow them to be successfully integrated into the club. An induction period may also highlight any potential poor practice concerns and allow the club to take any necessary remedial action.
Monitoring and Appraisal
All staff and volunteers should be given the opportunity to receive feedback, either through a formal appraisal or more informally through mentoring. Although this is good practice for any voluntary or paid position, appraisals are essential for positions that involve significant contact with young people. Appraisals should be offered at regular intervals, initially at the end of aprobation period and thereafter at yearly intervals. An appraisal can help to establish learning needs, review targets and consider any concerns.
All clubs must put in place a procedure to deal with complaints over staff and volunteers. Parents and all members should be made aware of the procedures for raising a complaint or concern. Provision should be made in the club rules or constitution to allow complaints and disciplinary procedures to be implemented.

Social Networking

PDF Version

1 Background
1.1 There has been a growing awareness in sport of the increasing communication by adults and young people on the rapidly developing social networking sites and how this media has become a feature of social communication. There are both positive and negative aspects to using social networking sites that clubs and members should be aware of. It is important to acknowledge that if used properly, social media can be a very effective tool. However, Sapphire Gymnastics has identified a number of issues that have led to both disciplinary and safeguarding concerns which stem from the improper or inappropriate use of such sites by its members.

2 Introduction
2.1 Sapphire Gymnastics recognise that the use of social networking sites and online gaming (Xbox,Play Station) are rapidly growing phenomenon and increasingly being used as a communication tool of choice by young people. Facebook is the largest such site whose mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

2.2 These sites permit users to chat online, instant message, post pictures, and write ‘blogs’ etc, through the creation of an online profile, that can either be publicly available to all or restricted to an approved circle of electronic friends.

2.3 Social media platforms have developed to allow the uploading and viewing of video clips, which with the latest cameras and mobile phones becomes ever easier and with the development of live streaming can be instantaneous.

2.4 Social networking can be a great tool to promote yourself or your club if used in the correct way. Whilst these technologies provide exciting opportunities, they are accompanied by dangers and negative consequences if abused by users.

2.5 The purpose of this guidance is to provide a recommendation of best practice to all Sapphire Gymnastics club members and parents on the use of social networking sites as they relate to individual’s roles in the club. If used correctly, social networking can be a fun, safe and productive activity.
Note: Throughout this guidance a young person/ child relates to anyone under the age of 18.
3 Guidance for Coaches, Judges, helpers/volunteers and other officers in a position of trust and responsibility in respect of children in a Sapphire Gymnastics club

3.1 Sapphire Gymnastics members in a position of trust and/or responsibility (as defined in the Sapphire Gymnastics Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy) should not be in contact with any young people through any social networking sites whether the young person is a member of their club or any other club.
3.2 Should a young person request to become a named friend on your Social Networking Page or request that you become a named friend on their Social Networking Page you should decline as you are in a position of trust and responsibility within Sapphire Gymnastics.

3.3 The above also applies to official club social networking sites. Only club staff (except for the following paragraph) and parents should be permitted access.

3.3 Social networking sites should never be used as a medium by which to abuse or criticise Sapphire Gymnastics, affiliated Home Countries, Regional Gymnastics associations, Sapphire Gymnastics members or Other Gymnastics clubs. To do so would be in breach of Sapphire Gymnastics Standards of Conduct.

3.4 The publishing of a photograph or video footage on a social networking site is governed by the same requirements as any other media – see the Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy.

4 Guidance to coaches who have children that they coach in a club.

4.1 Parents are becoming members of social networking sites that their children sign up to for security reasons in order to ensure the wellbeing of their own child by being able to view their child’s site. This will give the parent access via their child’s site to all children listed as friends of their child. It would not be appropriate for Sapphire Gymnastics to prevent a parent who is also a coach from using this form of protection for their child’s online activities.
4.2 Therefore, in such cases the coach can:
4.2.1 Have gymnasts on the site they are accessing providing the under 18-year-old members on the site are listed as friends of their child; However, in this case the following also applies:
4.2.2 The coach concerned should not have direct contact with gymnasts other than their own child through the social networking site;
4.2.3 The coach should not accept such gymnasts as friends on their personal site;
4.2.4 The coach should inform the Club Welfare Officer of this arrangement and a record kept of such.

5 Coaches/Judges/Club officials who are under 18.

5.1 Sapphire Gymnastics recognise that social networking sites can be a useful tool for judges, coaches and officials within Gymnastics clubs to share information with other judges, coaches or officials. If, however, the judge, coach or official is under the age of 18 while they may be a colleague, the requirements of the above paragraphs must be adhered to.

5.2 However, for young people aged 16 or 17 it is the view of Sapphire, that to restrict the ability toshare professional information with them from other coaches, judges or officials may be detrimental in their professional development in their role in Sapphire Gymnastics.

5.3 Therefore, in such cases if the parent of a young person in a position of responsibility aged 16/17 and the young person themselves requests to have contact with an adult club officer or coach for the purposes of sharing professional information relevant to their role the club should:

5.3.1 Gain written consent of the parent/guardian and young person to have such contact naming the individual adult and social networking site concerned;

5.3.2 The named adult must sign an agreement to keep the contact with the young person to the discussion of matters relevant to the young person’s professional role in the club;

5.3.3 All such communications should be shared with an identified 3rd person (e.g. the young person’s parent/guardian or Club Welfare Officer); and

5.3.4 If the young person or the adult is found to breach the above agreement, action must be taken by the club, cease the connection and where appropriate referred to Sapphire Gymnastics for further consideration and action.

6 Guidance to Sapphire Gymnastics members under the age of 18

6.1 In December 2017, UNICEF published a report ‘State of the World’s Children 2017’ which outlined the increased number of young people that are using the internet. The report also examined how the internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyberbullying

6.2 To protect yourself online, Sapphire Gymnastics provide the following guidance:

6.2.1 Do not ask your coach, judge, helper/volunteer or club official to be your social networking site friend – they will refuse as that would breach good practice and the Sapphire Gymnastics Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy.

6.2.2 Use the internet positively and do not place yourself at risk. Have a look at for some useful tips.

6.2.3 Consider who you are inviting to be your friend and follow the good advice of the social networking sites to ensure you are talking to the person you believe you are talking to.

6.2.4 Never share your personal details online and ensure your privacy settings are secure.

6.2.5 Ensure that your social media platforms are password protected and that you do not share this password, unless your parent/guardian requests it.

6.2.6 Always remember that anything you say including photos, pictures and video clips posted on your site may be shared with people other than those for whom it was intended.

6.2.7 Never post, share or send any photographs, videos or make comments that may be hurtful, untrue and upsetting and you may regret sharing later on or used by other people in a way you did not intend or want.

6.2.8 Remember that it can be difficult to delete information that has been uploaded to the internet, it may have been shared or copied as soon as it is uploaded.

6.2.9 Do not put pictures of other club members on your site within the club setting as you may breach the Sapphire Gymnastics Photography Policy. If you do wish to upload such a picture you must get advice and consent from your parent, the other young personand their parent and a club officer before considering uploading such a photo. This will not prevent you having pictures of your gymnastics friends on your site taken outside of the sporting arena, but it is good advice to always ensure they and their parents are happy with any picture you have of them on your site.

6.2.10 Always be aware that social networking sites are a method of communication like email and the spoken word. They are bound by the same laws and rules. Such technology is instant and this allows you as the user to react in the ‘heat of the moment’, where in the past you would have been required to write a letter which would have taken time and allowed for you to think again before sending. So never place a comment on the internet that you would not put in writing or say to the individual concerned as to do so may not only breach Sapphire Gymnastics Policy but also the law.

6.2.11 Remember to report any concerns you have to a responsible adult.

7 Guidance to parents of Sapphire Gymnastics members under the age of 18

7.1 With the increased development of technology, a number of internet connected devices are available for adults and young people. The NSPCC ( safety/technology-toys-and-the-internet/provides guidance and training for parents on how to keep your child(ren) safe.

7.2 In the overwhelming majority of cases, the benefits of the internet easily outweigh any drawbacks. To keep it that way, parents and children need to know that there are places on the internet, which promote racial hatred, contain violent images or pornographic material all of which adults, as well as children, may find distressing. Regrettably, it is also true that certain sites will attract a number of adults with a highly inappropriate interest in children.

7.3 Beyond these dangers, other websites have the potential to harm impressionable young people through the presentation of extremist views. Sites may be very disrespectful of other people’s religious beliefs or cultural backgrounds or seek to distort history. Sites may also promote anorexia or self-harming, for example, in ways which might attract the attention of a particular child who could, at that moment, be going through a vulnerable or difficult phase in their life. There are other more insidious threats around too. Without the experience to distinguish between genuine and misleading messages, children may be fooled by scams of various kinds.

There are however, a few simple steps which parents can take to help their children use the internet safely.
8 Ways to keep children safe online

8.1 Get to know your child’s online habits. Children are inquisitive. They will look to explore the internet as much as they do the real world. Knowing the sites they go to, the people they meet there and what they do will help to keep children safe.
8.2 Stay alert to any sudden changes in mood or appearance, or to any major change in habits or to increased secretiveness. These are often tell-tale signs that something is not right.
8.3 Keep lines of communication open – tell your child they can always talk to you or another trusted adult, such as a teacher or Club Welfare Officer, if they do end up in some sort of trouble on the internet. Make children aware that there are things on the internet which may distress them.
8.4 Spend time with your child(ren) surfing the internet together. Explain the Applications (App), games and social media platforms that are acceptable for them to use and the reason for others not being suitable.
8.5 If your child(ren) mentions that they wish to use an App, game or social media platform that you have not permitted them to, research the area and explain the reason it is not acceptable.
8.6 Spend some time surfing the internet yourself. The more that you know about the internet, the better able you are, in turn, to help your child navigate around it without coming to any harm.
8.7 Set parental controls.
8.8 Install internet filtering software showing a Child Safety Online Kitemark on your computer. Filtering products with a Kitemark have been independently tested to provide a simple and effective means of support to parents, helping to ensure that a child’s online experience is a safe one. The Kitemark scheme is sponsored by the Home Office and Ofcom.
8.9 There have also been occasions where parents of Sapphire Gymnastics members have used social networking sites to criticise or verbally abuse gymnastics clubs, its officers, officials,coaches, judges, and gymnasts in an inappropriate and unacceptable manner.

This has in some cases led the person who is the subject of the verbal abuse to take action through statutory agencies or statutory legislation to address the comments made.

Sapphire Gymnastics members found to be abusing or working outside of these good practice guidelines, may be subject to disciplinary action or investigation as outlined in the Sapphire Gymnastics Complaints & Grievance Procedures.

9 Additional National guidance

9.1 The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) provides a wealth of advice and guidance. In particular, their website provides additional guidance regarding Social networking services, social media and sport It can be accessed via Additionally, Safety Net Kids provides specific advice for children at:
10 What to do if you have concerns
10.1 As a user of a social networking site, whether you are a child, young person or an adult, you may at some time have a concern about what you are seeing or being told about by another user. Concerns may range from negative or abusive comments and cyber bullyingto suspected grooming for sexual abuse.
10.2 Sapphire Gymnastics has compiled a list of agencies that can be contacted, anonymously if you wish, where such concerns can be raised:
10.2.1 the main UK Government website with advice for parents on how to keep children safe online.

10.2.2 the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is the Government body dedicated to eradicating abuse of children. Concerns about inappropriate contacts between a child and an adult, including online, can be reported directly to CEOP.

10.2.3 the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) works to remove illegal material from the internet. If you have found any material you believe to be illegal e.g. child sex abuse images, other obscene material or material which incites racial hatred, you can report it to the IWF.

10.2.4 A number of specialist websites contain general advice that may be of help to parents. These include,, and
10.2.5 Other sites can offer parents support on broader issues. These include
10.2.6 Sapphire Gymnastics Welfare officers: Lynne Driver on 07760 428163 or email at ; Glynis Tovey on 07812 057488 or email at

10.2.7 Childline 0800 1111 or is another NSPCC support service. Using this website, children can talk confidentially to NSPCC advisors online about any issues or problems they may be experiencing, using an application similar to Instant Messenger (IM).

10.2.8 Stop It Now freephone 0808 1000 900 or

10.2.9 The Local Police, or if you unsure of the force you need to speak to call 101 and they will direct you or in an emergency situation call 999.

10.2.10 Local Authority Children’s Services are available for advice and guidance – their number appears in the phone book.

Health, Safety and Welfare

PDF Version

1. Background
1.1. Sapphire Gymnastics regards the health, safety and welfare of all members to be of paramount importance, which should not be comprised. To this end, it is Sapphire Gymnastics policy to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, that procedures are in place to maintain a safe and healthy environment not only for its members but also for other people who may be affected by the activities of Sapphire Gymnastics and/or affiliated clubs and organisations.

2. Purpose
2.1. This policy document sets out Sapphire Gymnastics’ responsibilities and the minimum standards required of registered clubs, affiliated organisations and members in line with health and safety law.
2.2. Sapphire Gymnastics aims to promote a positive health and safety culture, and to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in the sport. Sapphire Gymnastics endeavours to achieve the highest standards of welfare and requires all clubs and affiliated organisations to work with it to achieve these aims

3. Scope
3.1. Everyone involved in gymnastics has a responsibility to help maintain a positive health and safety culture across the sport. All clubs have a common law duty of care to those why may be affected by their activities and have a responsibility to implement appropriate health and safety policy and arrangements.
3.2. Gymnastics is a complex sport with inherent risks. Anyone providing gymnastics activities should take all reasonable steps to minimise these risks.

4. Policy Statements
4.1. Sapphire Gymnastics has developed a Health & Safety Management System & Guidance to meet their legal responsibilities. Implementing the Management System and following Sapphire Gymnastics’ guidance will help reduce the likelihood of a successful negligence claim being made against Sapphire Gymnastics or affiliated organisations.
4.2. The policy and the associated guidance should be read and understood any member of staff given responsibility for the implementation of health and safety measures. It is important, however, that all those involved in operating the club – employees, contractors and volunteers – are aware of these documents and are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the guidance. All these people are given appropriate information, instructions, training and supervision in relation to health and safety. This reflects the general point that whereas clubs and organisations are responsible for the introduction of appropriate health, safety and welfare measures, the application and operation of these measures lies to a considerable extent in the hands of all the individual workers involved.

5. Definitions
5.1. “Gymnastics” is used as a generic term and includes all Sapphire Gymnastics recognised disciplines (Acrobatics, Aerobics, Gymnastics for All, TeamGym, Disability Gymnastics, Preschool, Men’s Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampolining & DMT, Tumbling and Women’s Artistic) and gymnastics activities (e.g. freestyle)
5.2. The term “safe”, as used in this document, means a situation where, so far as is reasonable practicable, all reasonable steps have been taken to understand the nature of the risks involved and to ensure suitable steps have been taken to control the risks and keep them to a minimum.

6. Roles & Responsibilities
6.1. Compliance, Monitoring & Review
6.1.1. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (and its subordinate legislation) is the principle legislation that informs the policy. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is one other key pieces of legislation that underpins the Sapphire Gymnastics Management System & Guidance. responsible for ensuring the policy and procedure:]
6.1.2. There are some Home Country variations in certain aspects of health and safety legislation i.e. the legislation governing smoking in public places falls under a different Act of Parliament in each country. In addition, in Northern Ireland and Scotland there are different underpinning legal systems. Difference of this kind may need to be taken into account in the interpretation of the policy and the Sapphire Gymnastics Management System & Guidance.
6.1.3. The Health and Safety Executive website offers further information relating to Health and Safety Law.
6.1.4. Agility HR will support Sapphire Gymnasticsa and affiliated organisations to meet their responsibilities under health and safety law and will: Develop, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of health, safety and welfare policy Provide a comprehensive Health & Safety Management System and learning resources to support clubs and affiliated organisations to meet legal obligations Provide access to expert health and safety advice and support to implement effective health and safety arrangements Undertake regular audits and review of the effectiveness of health and safety arrangements across gymnast activity Review near misses, accidents and other adverse events to identify trends and take action to prevent incidents occurring Respond to health and safety concerns in line with the Sapphire Gymnastics Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure.
6.2. Monitoring & Review Arrangements
The Sapphire Gymnastics Health, Safety and Welfare policy will be annually monitored and full policy review will take place every three years. A policy review many also be conducted in response to any of the following occurrences:
6.2.1. Changes in legislation or guidance
6.2.2. Changes in governance of the sport
6.2.3. Changes in the nature or size of Sapphire Gymnastics
6.2.4. A procedural review taking place as a result of a significant case

7. Interdependencies & Related Policies
7.1. The following related policies/guidance should be used in conjunction with this policy;
7.1.1. Safe Coaching Practice
7.1.2. Safe Participation
7.1.3. Safe Trips

8. Procedures

Actions to be taken by Sapphire Gymnastics, affiliated organisations and members

The right to take part in gymnastics activities in a safe environment, and stay free from harm, applies to everyone and all members must take reasonable steps to ensure they are fully aware and compliant with the relevant aspects of the policy.

Sapphire Gymnastics and affiliated organisations must therefore:

8.1. Identify the organisation’s health and safety responsibilities (see Sapphire Gymnastics Health & Safety Management System & Guidance document).
8.2. Identify significant risks and plan the work of the organisation to minimise all risks in respect of Health, Safety and Welfare
8.3. Ensure the responsibilities for Health, Safety and Welfare are designated to individuals with the appropriate skills and experience
8.4. Ensure that there are adequate training opportunities for staff, coaches, instructors, officials and other volunteers
8.5. Ensure reporting procedures are followed for any accidents or incidents and inform Sports England of any serious allegations or concerns of poor practice

In addition, all members must:

8.6. Take reasonable care of their own health, safety and welfare and that of other people whom their acts or omissions may affect
8.7. Conduct activities in line with training and Sapphire Gymnastics policy and guidance
8.8. Co-operate with Sapphire Gymnastics, and the appropriate Home Country or Regional affiliated organisations and clubs, on issues relating to health, safety and welfare
8.9. Ensure reporting procedures are followed for any accidents or incidents and inform Sapphire Gymnastics of any serious allegations or concerns of poor practice.

Anti Bullying

Statement of Intent
Sapphire Gymnastics is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our members. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our club. We believe it is important that participants, coaches, administrators, committee members and parents should, at all times, show respect and understanding for the welfare of others. Our Anti-Bullying Policy has been designed with our entire membership in mind; we recognise that an abuser may be from different groups within our organisation and that bullying can take different forms.
If bullying does occur, members should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with effectively. We are a transparent club. This means that ANYONE who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell staff and/or Club Welfare Officer.

What is Bullying?
Bullying can be:
Emotional: being unfriendly, excluding or tormenting.
Verbal: name calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours or teasing.
Physical: any use of violence.
Racist: racial taunts, graffiti or gestures.
Sexual: unwanted physical contact or abusive/inappropriate comments.
Cyber: all areas of internet, such as email and chat room misuse. Mobile threats by text messaging and calls.

Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?
Nobody deserves to be a victim of bullying; everybody has the right to be treated with respect. As a club we take bullying seriously.
Objectives of this Policy:
All officials, coaching and non-coaching staff, volunteers, committee members, children and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is.
All officials, coaching and non-coaching staff, volunteers and committee members should know what the club policy is on bullying and follow it when bullying is reported.
All children and parents should know what the club policy is on bullying, and what they should do if bullying arises.
Bullying will not be tolerated.
Reviewed: January 2022

1. Report bullying incidents to the Club Welfare Officer(s).
2. Where the alleged bully is a child (children), if applicable, parents should be informed and will be asked to come to a meeting to discuss the problem.
3. The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and stopped.
4. An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour through discussion about bullying.
5. Bullies may be asked to sign a behaviour contract.
6. If bullying continues the bully will be asked to leave the Club.

Welfare Officers & their contact information

Club Welfare Officers

We are committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young persons and adults at risk in our sport and our aim is to ensure all who participate in gymnastics have a safe, fun, positive experience and are able to fulfil their potential.

At our club we have two fantastic Club Welfare Officers in order to help ensure a safe environment at Sapphire Gymnastics. Please see their contact information below if you have any safeguarding concerns:

Glynis Tovey – Tel: 07812 057488 Email:

Lynne Driver – Tel: 07760 428163 Email:

Further Welfare Contacts

We are committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young persons and adults at risk in our sport and our aim is to ensure all who participate in gymnastics have a safe, fun, positive experience and are able to fulfil their potential. At our club we have further contacts with County and National organisations in order to help ensure a safe environment at Sapphire Gymnastics. Please see their contact information a below if you have any safeguarding concerns:

Further contacts:

Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership

Tel: 0300 123 4043



NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit

Tel: 0116 366 5580


The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a British child protection charity.

Tel: 0808 800 5000


Reporting a welfare or safeguarding concern

How To Report

Welfare Officer’s Contact Information:

Club Welfare Officer’s

Glynis Tovey – Tel: 07812 057488 Email:
Lynne Driver – Tel: 07760 428163 Email:

Further contacts:

Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership

Tel: 0300 123 4043



NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit

Tel: 0116 366 5580


The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a British child protection charity.

Tel: 0808 800 5000