Getting ready for the sound of music

We’re pleased to build on our ‘Teaching In Your Store’ post with a guest blog post by safeguarding expert Dr. Sandra Passmore, who has put together a timely and approachable safeguarding checklist focused on music provision. 

These are the key things you need to know and do to keep everyone safe, and at the end there’s a reminder about the training we’re making available to MIA members.

It has been hard, so very hard. There’s been so little live music in our lives lately that when we are able to restart there will be such a feeling of relief. But in that joyous rush of reopening and restarting we need to make sure that we do the right thing(s), which includes safeguarding.

There will also be the need to reassure people about the safety of what we can do. And, if many of your customers are children you may want to be aware of what is happening in schools re music lessons (music lessons are covered on pages 54-57 in this guidance) and maybe replicate some of that – to help reassure parents and children.

And just a reminder that, in law, anyone aged under 18 years old is a child – so safeguarding legislation applies equally to a 17 year old as to a 7 year old. Don’t be fooled by their size!

So, in terms of making sure we have the basics right here is a simple safeguarding checklist. Each one of these aspects needs to be thought through carefully.

 Health and safety

  1. Check the suitability and safety of the setting for employees (and customers) and take steps to reduce any risks identified.
  2. This will include ventilation of spaces used for lessons as they are often small(ish) rooms – how will they be ventilated? Public Health use the analogy of cigarette smoke – how would you ventilate a room to make sure that all smoke was cleared asap? – then you need to do that for Covid.
  3. Have someone with first aid training and have a first aid kit to hand as well as awareness of what to do in an emergency (for example, call 999 if a child is having an asthma attack)
  4. Make sure you have at least one (and preferably two) emergency contact number for each child, and know of any medical concerns or allergies

Safeguarding and child protection

  1. You must have a safeguarding and child protection policy in place, including procedures for dealing with safeguarding incidents, and ensure the policy is understood and followed by all staff members. It is good practice to have this on your website for parents/customers to see
    –  For example, what happens after the lesson ends – does the child wait to be collected or can leave?
  2. All staff should have awareness of, and training on, the specific safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm (for example, abuse and neglect, peer-on-peer abuse, extremism and radicalisation)
    -This is an excellent (certificated) online safeguarding course
  3. Every retailer should have clear procedures on what to do if you, staff or customers (parents or children) have concerns about a staff member, volunteer or other adult who may pose a risk of harm to children. You must pass these concerns on to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer – their details can be found by internet search for your town plus LADO)
  4. You should provide parents with a named individual so they can raise safeguarding concerns, (or if you are a lone provider provide the contact details of your local authority’s children’s services). It’s also good to publicise the NSPCC helpline number 0808 800 5000 and Childline 0800 1111

Suitability of staff and volunteers

  1. All staff and volunteers should have had relevant pre-employment checks (for example, DBS check, verification of identity). Remember self-employed people can only have an enhanced DBS by applying through another organisation (such as Musician’s Union, Incorporated Society of Musicians, or another employer such as Local Authority etc)
  2. You should have regular reviews in place to check the suitability of staff and volunteers (this includes monitoring of complaints and concerns raised)
  3. And, if you recommend someone to give music lessons, even if not in your shop/venue, what is their suitability for working with children?

So, with a bit of luck, and forward planning we should all be good to go in April.

Dr Sandra Passmore, Senior Adviser, Services For Education

Twitter @SFE_Tweets

A reminder from the MIA – we’re offering free safeguarding training from Services for Education. This is exclusive to MIA members and available to one person from your organisation, who will receive certification on completion.  To take advantage of this, email Alice ( and she’ll send you an access code. 

If you’re not currently a member of the MIA and would like to start benefitting from the support and community we provide, drop us a line and we’d be delighted to discuss membership with you.

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