Safeguarding briefing: Changing facilities

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

A new safeguarding briefing for schools outlines best practice on changing areas and the supervision of children who are getting ready for lessons such as PE and drama.

The NSPCC briefing – entitled Safeguarding considerations for changing rooms (2022) – looks at what makes for appropriate changing areas, supervision and also assisting pupils with additional needs.

The document, which is free to download, also considers the use of off-site changing facilities.

The briefing discusses how to “keep children safe while allowing them privacy” and outlines the regulations across the four home nations of the UK.

There is advice on transgender and non-binary children and how to support pupils who need help getting changed.

The briefing also warns that some signs of abuse may become apparent while children are getting changed – including children being uncomfortable, unusual marks or bruises – and as such staff and any volunteers should be training to know what to look out for.

Changing areas are also spaces where children may be more vulnerable to peer-on-peer abuse, including bullying and harmful sexual behaviour, and so the balance between privacy and supervision is crucial.

On supervision, the briefing states: “It should not be necessary for adults to remain in the changing room in order to maintain good behaviour; being in close proximity and students being aware of this may be enough. Students should know that adults are in earshot of what is happening in the room and will enter if necessary – in response to a disturbance or bullying, for example.”

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