When planning and running activities and sports events for tamariki and rangatahi you must ensure you provide an appropriate staffing/supervision ratio of adults to participants. This will help:
- minimise any risks to participants
- enhance the benefits children draw from the activity
- reassure parents/caregivers about safety
- provide some protection for those responsible for providing, funding or commissioning the activity in case concerns or incidents arise.
A supervisor could be a team manager, coach, coaching assistants, or volunteer parent/caregiver or helper.
Minimum of two adults
Generally, a minimum of two adults should be present with any group of children, even small groups. This ensures at least a basic cover, in case for example, one supervisor’s attention is needed to attend an incident during practice or a game.
What your organisation can do
Due to the different sizes and activities of organisations there is no one-size fits all with this guidance, but you should consider the following:
What makes an individual suitable to supervise children
- Are they appropriately qualified for their role and the activity?
- Have they been through a safer recruitment process, including criminal records checks where needed?
- Have they signed a Code of Conduct
- Do they understand their responsibility to safeguard children?
Supervision risk assessment
When planning an activity, as well as any mandatory assessments (such as Health and Safety) you should carry out a supervision check as part of your risk assessment process, to work out the appropriate supervision levels. The assessment should consider:
- age of children
- support needs, for example due to disability and age
- competence/experience of participants for the specific activity
- activity type (for example climbing or swimming sessions may require higher levels of supervision than a general fitness class)
- type of the venue, (for example, a swimming pool, arena, or field)
- the public or private nature of the activity (for example, is it exclusive to the group or accessible to the public)
- the types of equipment children may have access to.
Recommended minimum supervision ratios
Sport/activity specific guidance
Many national bodies, facilities and other activity providers will have guidance on minimum supervision ratios (and other factors linked to the welfare and safety of participants) for specific sports or activities. You should refer to those in the first instance.
Rangatahi as supervisors
Many sports and activities provide opportunities for under-18s to coach, manage or organise events for other tamariki and rangatahi, sometimes to work towards gaining qualifications and awards. These positive opportunities allow rangatahi to develop skills, experience and confidence. This shouldn’t mean that organisations should depend on young supervisors to take full responsibility for managing groups of children. Under-18 year olds in coaching or other roles should only supplement the adult with overall responsibility for supervising the activity.
Parents and caregivers as supervisors
While parents/caregivers should be encouraged to accompany their children to activities, they should not be included in supervision calculations, unless the parents/carers are acting in a formal supervision, volunteering or other capacity during the activity. Where they are, those parents/caregivers should meet all appropriate requirements in terms of:
- appropriate checks
- clarity about their role
- who has overall responsibility for the group
- what is acceptable practice.
- Have the appropriate checks on individual supervisors been completed?
- Has a supervision risk assessment been completed?
- Have the recommended adult/child ratios been checked and ensured they will be met?
- Do you have young people as coaches/supervisors? Ensure they will have an adult present to supervise.
- Will parents/caregivers assist or accompany their children at activities? Check that they are clear about their responsibilities and know who is supervising.
More child protection guidance