Safeguarding Policy

Policy for Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

Ex Cathedra runs a range of participation, performance, learning activities and projects for people of all ages in a variety of settings including in schools, hospitals, concert halls, community settings and online. Projects are run with varying group sizes, including for individuals, of all ages and capabilities and needs. This includes Regulated Activities.

The key principles on which to base work with children are found in the Children Act 1989 and 2004 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the UK is a signatory. All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential. They should be enabled to:

  • Be as physically and mentally healthy as possible
  • Gain the maximum benefit possible from good quality educational opportunities
  • Live in a safe environment and be protected from harm
  • Experience emotional wellbeing
  • Feel loved and valued, and be supported by a network of reliable and affectionate relationships
  • Become competent in looking after themselves and coping with everyday living
  • Have a positive image of themselves and a secure sense of identity, including cultural and racial identity
  • Develop good inter-personal skills and confidence in social situations

In order to achieve this level of wellbeing, it is the responsibility of every organisation that works with children to protect them from abuse (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018). There are four categories of abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect

Ex Cathedra is committed to the safeguarding and the care of children (up to age 18) and vulnerable adults for which it has responsibility and with which it comes in to contact as part of its work. Ex Cathedra recognises that all children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in its work have a right to be protected from harm.

Ex Cathedra will take every possible action to safeguard children and vulnerable adults, prevent abuse and deal with it, if it occurs, or any allegations, as promptly and effectively as possible. It will co-operate fully with any statutory agencies as required.

The board of trustees has overall responsibility for Ex Cathedra’s Safeguarding Policy and procedures and will normally appoint a trustee to support the staff team, including Ex Cathedra’s Designated Safeguarding Officer.

The trustees will ensure that appropriate detailed operating policies and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed to ensure that:

  • Legislation, best practice and relevant guidance are followed
  • Management responsibility for safeguarding within the organisation is clearly defined
  • People involved with our work are carefully selected and receive appropriate training for working with participants in our projects, using the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) at the relevant level, amongst other tools, to check the background of each person
  • All Ex Cathedra Trustees, employees and free-lancers are enrolled in appropriate Safeguarding Training which they are required to complete
  • Specific local safeguarding requirements, e.g. in hospitals, are observed
  • Risk assessments are undertaken and documented for all events involving children and vulnerable adults
  • Procedures for promptly dealing with disclosures and concerns are in place
  • Relevant legislative requirements regarding confidentiality, photography, video recording and social media are observed

The board of trustees will review this policy annually and, as part of this review will check that all internal procedures, including DBS checks, are up to date.


Peter Phillips – Chair of the Board of Trustees – March 2022


Safeguarding Plan

1. Introduction

Ex Cathedra runs a range of participation, performance, learning activities and projects for people of all ages in a variety of settings including in schools, hospitals, concert halls, community settings and online. The projects are run with varying group sizes, including for individuals, of all ages and capabilities and needs. This includes Regulated Activities.

We recognise that it is of the utmost importance that we consider and take appropriate action for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in all circumstances, including where we have sole charge of children, where we are hosting an event, and where we are working in partnership with another body that has overall responsibility for the participants or event.

Ex Cathedra recognises that all children, young people and vulnerable adults have a right to be protected from harm and takes every reasonable step to ensure that children and vulnerable adults involved in its arts projects are protected from harm.

We are respectful of the safeguarding practices we uphold, and that are upheld by others. We follow legislation, guidance and best practice and aim to keep up to date.

2. Our People

We carefully select the members of our team (employed and freelance) in considering their skills, experiences and appropriateness for working with our participants.

2.1 DBS Checks

Before anyone can deliver or attend participatory sessions for Ex Cathedra (paid or on a voluntary basis) directly with children or vulnerable adults, or have responsibility for their activities such that they are or may be undertaking regulated activity, a satisfactory DBS check is carried out.  

The highest appropriate level of DBS check for each role is undertaken. This level – basic, standard or enhanced – is identified using the government’s online tool, published in 2018:

Ex Cathedra follows best practice with regards to repeating DBS at appropriate intervals and our people are asked to put themselves on the update service.

If any information changes with regards to the individual and their suitability for working with children or vulnerable adults the individual is required to inform Ex Cathedra immediately and Ex Cathedra will immediately consider appropriate action.

Our people carry their DBS certificates when working with children and vulnerable adults in a new setting and Ex Cathedra keeps a central record of the certificate number and date of issue. ID is also worn and visible at all times.

For the sake of clarification, when children and young people join Ex Cathedra adult singers and players Ex Cathedra’s musicians, whether professional or amateur, singer or instrumentalist are treated in Safeguarding terms as participants. They are not subject to DBS checks, and if children and vulnerable adults rehearse and perform with non DBS-checked musicians they are safeguarded according to the same criteria as if they were in a public space and the musicians were unknown to Ex Cathedra.

2.2 Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead to:

  • Formulate the Company’s safeguarding policy and make it available to all staff
  • Ensure that all members of staff (including freelance staff) have read the policy and procedures and understood them
  • Arrange for display of the safeguarding policy on Ex Cathedra’s website so that it is accessible to all parents
  • Co-ordinate action in safeguarding issues and understand the DBS referral process
  • Ensure that all staff know who the designated member of staff is and know about the role
  • To follow procedures set out below and refer suspected cases of child abuse to the appropriate authorities
  • To take part in relevant and appropriate training
  • To maintain records in a secure and confidential file
  • To monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of safeguarding work carried out within the
  • organisation
  • To report to Ex Cathedra Trustees on safeguarding within the organisation

It is the responsibility of the designated member of the Board of Trustees to:

  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the safeguarding of children within the organisation
  • Support and monitor the work of the Designated Lead

It is the responsibility of all members of Ex Cathedra staff (including freelance staff) to:

  • Understand their responsibility for referring safeguarding concerns using the proper channels
  • Ensure that any suspected exploitation or radicalisation of young people is regarded as a safeguarding concern and is referred to the Designated Lead
  • Be aware that abuse can occur between children and vulnerable adults and if there are concerns that this is taking place refer it accordingly
  • Treat the child’s or young person’s welfare as paramount
  • Be alert to potential indicators of abuse and neglect, and to the risks that individual abusers may pose to children and young people
  • Be aware of the effects of abuse and neglect on children and young people
  • Know how to respond to anyone who may disclose abuse, including providing a written report to the Designated Lead
  • Treat any allegation or complaint with respect

3. Training and Awareness

All trustees, and all staff will receive appropriate Safeguarding training. The Trustee overseeing Safeguarding, the General Manager and Director of Education (both Designated Safeguarding Leads) receive Safeguarding training. Safeguarding is a standing item within the Director of Education’s quarterly Board reports, and also monthly office team meetings. Members of the Education team receive additional training pertinent to specific project work (e.g. Singing Medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital). We engage chaperones for our Academy of Vocal Music members (for under 18s) who are trained and approved by local authority for chaperone duties. Safeguarding is an item on the annual Education and Participation team members review with the Director of Education.

In addition to our own preparations and procedures Birmingham Children’s Hospital requires all our Singing Medicine vocal tutors working on their premises to attend additional internal child protection training as well as being aware of its own safeguarding policy, disclosure procedure and the designated senior person for Child Protection. Whilst not working in the Hospital, during Covid-19 restrictions, Ex Cathedra has updated all Enhanced disclosures and provided all freelance staff with relevant Safeguarding Training for Children (Level 2).

4. Making our Space Safe

Risk assessment documents are created for our events.

In light of COVID-19, risk assessments must take into account all possible mitigations to minimize the risk of transmission. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • the size of the space, ventilation, distancing and time spent in the space
  • breaks for ventilation of the space
  • hand hygiene and minimizing unnecessary touch points
  • cleaning
  • volume where this is shown to increase aerosol production
  • use of masks where appropriate, and in keeping with the host venue protocols

During the interim, we have developed guidelines (appended) for online rehearsals with children and vulnerable adults.

5. Confidentiality

We hold confidential information for some participants of our work as well as members of our Academy of Vocal Music training choirs, for example as a result of licensing procedures for performances. This information is used only by those who have appropriate DBS checks and is stored in password protected computer files. No physical copies are retained, they are destroyed appropriately.

5.1 Digital Media (Images and Sounds)

We create digital media. When creating digital media for specific individual children, they are saved and shared as unlisted or private YouTube Playlists. If at any point photographs or film need to be taken of any children or vulnerable adults we are working with, parental / carer permission is sought first with the projected use and timescale for the use of the images detailed. Children and vulnerable adults must also be asked for their permission.  Any photographs and consent forms are stored securely in limited access folders on the server and when necessary, in password protected files. These will be permanently deleted once the agreed specified date of use on the consent form has expired. No physical copies are retained, they are destroyed appropriately.

5.2 Recording, Reporting, and Evaluation

Evaluation of projects and activities is regularly undertaken. Records are made of our work for funders, partners, other stakeholders, and for our own planning and progression purposes. Discussions take place on work and also on participants. All staff understand, with the utmost importance, the necessity for appropriate respect, discretion and confidentiality to be used when holding discussions, recording and reporting unless permission is given otherwise. When recording information nothing is written down that a third party sees that means a participant may be identifiable unless appropriate permission been obtained. Any information on participants that we need to retain (such as membership information for Academy members) is saved in password protected files and limited access folders and only accessed by those with appropriate DBS checks. Any physical forms received are scanned to a computer and stored securely on the server and physical forms are then disposed of appropriately.

6. Communication

No person in the Ex Cathedra ‘family’ (trustee, staff, freelance, professional players and singers, amateur players and singers) will communicate directly (via phone, text, email, social media or similar messaging), or be alone, with anyone under 17 in our activities, or within our Academy choirs, unless given express instruction and permission by a parent / carer to do so – for example driving an Academy member home. When it is not possible to communicate directly with a parent/carer and the young person is 17-18 years old, Ex Cathedra staff will copy in another member of staff when emailing the young person directly and ask for the young person to “reply-all” when responding.

6.1 Social Media

We do not mention any participant on social media unless permission has been granted. We do not share photos on social media unless permission has been granted and recorded, or unless taken at a public event.

Ex Cathedra advises its staff and freelance musicians to consider their personal online reputation and whether their past, current or future digital presence could be deemed to ‘bring the profession into disrepute’, which could lead to disciplinary proceedings. Staff and freelance musicians are therefore asked to consider any posts or images that could cause offence or embarrassment to them or Ex Cathedra.

Staff and freelancers must never post any image or any information about one of our participants unless they have been directed to by Ex Cathedra, at which point the permission will have been given by the participant / carer, guardian. 

7. Issues of Concern and Disclosures

If, during a workshop session or event, an incident of concern happens, (such as a child or vulnerable adult banging their head, child or vulnerable adult feeling unwell, and any misbehaviour), the child’s parent/teacher, or the vulnerable adult’s parent/carer is informed as soon as possible by the vocal tutor/registered chaperone in charge. A report is submitted to the office via the Designated Safeguarding Lead and in their absence the General Manager or trustee overseeing safeguarding activities.

In the rare occurrence of a concern arising over the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult due to an observation, or disclosure from the child or vulnerable adult to a vocal tutor, then the matter is handled with the utmost care. Vocal tutors are trained to recognise signs of abuse and to deal with such disclosures.

We are vigilant to matters associated with physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, FGM, and terrorism.

8. Special Issues

When teaching singing it is often required to bring attention to different parts of the body, for such reasons as developing good posture and breathing. In these case permission is always sought from participant. When working one-to-one with children in AVM coaching sessions, doors are kept open and chaperones and Ex Cathedra staff are encouraged to look in on the session.

Some of our singing-play work encourages physical contact between participants. All Vocal Tutors receive training on appropriateness and awareness, discuss suitable practice regularly, and permission from attending teachers is sought.

9. Infection Control

In a hospital environment it is extremely important to follow the Infection Control Procedures in place at each specific setting. We ensure we follow – and are seen follow – the correct procedures in full. Training is provided for each vocal tutor at the outset of a project, on joining the project, and when updates are requested by a hospital. Our team take infection control very seriously and are diligent and conscientious in following them. We never work independently, and vocal tutors support, guide and check each other in adhering to full and proper procedures.


Safeguarding Routines

We plan our events carefully to safeguard children and vulnerable adults from harm.

Our work is carried out in a variety of settings. In schools and hospitals, vocal tutors and instrumentalists always work in pairs or larger teams when with children and vulnerable adults. Vocal tutors can work independently in situations such as school classrooms or assembly but only when a member of staff of the host school is present. For Academy of Vocal Music coaching sessions, vocal tutors work one-to-one with children they know but must ensure the door is kept open at all times. Chaperones and staff are to look into these rooms regularly.


Examples of our current usual working situations are:

  • Vocal tutors work with a child or small group of children and often their carer in a hospital ward or in a high dependency unit or in an isolation unit. Hospital staff are present or very close by
  • Vocal tutors work with primary aged children in their school playground during school lunchtimes
  • A vocal tutor works within a school setting teaching a group of children with a teacher in attendance
  • Vocal tutors and an accompanist work in a central venue with large numbers of school children, with their teachers present
  • A vocal tutor and accompanist work with our Children’s Academy, Junior Academy, Senior Upper Voices, and Senior Lower Voices in a rehearsal venue with no public access with vocal tutors and / or Education and Participation Manager and registered chaperones present. Parents are welcome to stay but not required to
  • A vocal tutor delivers one-to-one vocal coaching to an individual child during the scheduled rehearsal time and the door is kept open throughout
  • Vocal tutors and accompanist work with our academies performing in a public venue, often with Learning & Participation Coordinator and registered chaperones present
  • A vocal tutor leads an intergenerational community choir rehearsal with children accompanied by a parent or carer
  • A vocal tutor and accompanist and supporting singers work with a small group of adults in a dementia support group
  • A vocal tutor team and accompanists work in a concert hall or similar setting with large numbers of participants
  • Vocal Tutors work in their own homes or together in a central location to film digital material for use within hospitals, schools and Academy Rehearsals. All published material is managed by the Director of Education and carefully checked prior to release.
  • Vocal tutors and accompanists working in the Birmingham Midland Institute to deliver in-person sessions for adults (dementia / Stroke / Long Covid / NHS Well-being)
  • Vocal tutors and accompanists work with an NHS trust to deliver online Zoom Sessions for a Dysfunctional Breathing clinic for teenagers – Permissions are sought in advance from parents through Birmingham Children’s Hospital Lung Function Clinic


Working practices for key examples of our working situations are given below.

For our Academy of Vocal Music choirs:

  • Risk assessments are carried out for activities
  • Parents are asked on signing their child up to membership to inform us of any extra needs we should consider or provide for
  • Parents are asked to inform vocal tutor / registered chaperone / Learning & Participation Coordinator of any additional needs a child may have when performing licenses are undertaken
  • Children remain chaperoned at all times by vocal tutors and registered chaperones on a ratio of a minimum of 1:12. When Vocal tutors/registered chaperones take a group of children outside a rehearsal/performance setting (e.g. travelling to a performance; walking from rehearsal venue to performance venue) the ratio is 1:6
  • Children are registered upon their arrival by parent / carer and are required to sign in with the registered chaperone, even where parents remain in attendance
  • Children in the Children’s Academy and Junior Academy must arrive with a parent / carer
  • Children in the Senior Upper and Lower Voices are allowed to arrive without a parent / carer but if they do not arrive we will contact the parent / carer
  • Children are chaperoned at all times
  • Children are not allowed to leave until collected by a parent / assigned carer, and must sign out with the registered chaperone; (*when the parent is not collecting the child the parent must inform us)
  • A contact details document which includes any specific additional information on a child’s needs remains with the vocal tutor/registered chaperone in charge at all times
  • The registered chaperone/person in charge will carry a mobile phone, and have it switched on at all times. All parents will have been informed of this number
  • Regular, appropriate food and drink breaks are provided
  • The group is informed of evacuation procedures at the beginning of a session
  • Vocal tutors and registered chaperones will not leave the building until all children have been collected and registered as doing so by the parent (or designated carer of which the parent has informed us)
  • Parents/carers are asked to read and sign a code of conduct agreement for when joining rehearsals online (appended)


For school project work on school premises:

  • Our team members are not left alone with children
  • Teachers supervise children
  • Our team members carry on their person an appropriate DBS certificate and ID at all times


For school project work off school site:

  • Our team members are not left alone with children
  • Risk assessment activities are carried out by Ex Cathedra or lead partner
  • Our team members carry on their person an appropriate DBS certificate and ID at all times


For hospital work:

  • At the beginning of each session, and at the end of each session the team meets to reflect and plan including safeguarding issues
  • Our team members are not left alone with children, but will enter rooms on wards without hospital staff (there are windows)
  • Hospital staff supervise children
  • Our team members carry on their person an appropriate DBS certificate and ID at all times


For Online hospital work:

  • All digitally produced material is managed and checked by the Director of Education or Education Manager prior to release
  • All personal information received from the hospital relating to children/vulnerable adults is stored in a secure document, only accessible via invitation
  • All Singing Medicine Postcards which include a participant’s name are uploaded to YouTube as an unlisted link/unlisted Playlist which is only accessible by those who have been given the link. Ex Cathedra does not share this link with anyone outside the organisation, hospital staff or the intended recipient.


Project specific training and meeting events are held at appropriate times for project staff. At these sessions discussion around keeping child and vulnerable adults safe is undertaken.


Codes of Conduct

Codes of conduct are in place and documents entitled Keeping our People Safe are given to:

  • Ex Cathedra’s adults including staff, players and singers
  • Ex Cathedra’s Education Team including Artistic Director, vocal tutors, accompanists, percussionists, admin team and chaperones.


Peter Trethewey, General Manager, Ex Cathedra

Rebecca Ledgard, Director of Education and Participation

Gemma King, Education and Participation Manager

John Clemson, Trustee

March 2022

Child Protection Procedure

The NSPCC lists abuse in four areas:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect

If a child makes a disclosure to you:

  1. Reassure the child that telling someone was the right thing to do.
  2. If possible, ensure you are not alone with the child.
  3. Let the child tell you their whole story. Don’t quiz them but ensure you have a clear understanding of what they are telling you.
  4. Tell them that you now have to do what you can to keep them (or the child who is the subject of the allegation) safe.
  5. Tell the child what you are going to do and who you need to tell.
  6. As soon as is appropriate make notes of the conversation.
  7. Ask the child what they would like to happen as a result of telling you, but don’t make any promises you cannot keep.
  8. Give the child the ChildLine phone number 0800 1111
  9. As soon as is appropriate and urgently report to:

or Peter Trethewey, General Manager, Ex Cathedra, 07870 213 204

or John Clemson, Trustee

  • And Birmingham City Council Children’s Advice and Support Service (CASS) M-F 9-5pm 0121 303 1888 or 0121 675 4806 (out of hours)
  • And when hosted by anther organisation (school or hospital) the host’s Designated Safeguarding Officer.
  • NSPCC HELPLINE 0808 800 5000

If the child needs urgent medical attention or is in immediate danger call the emergency services: 999

If you have a concern about a child urgently report to Rebecca Ledgard, or if unavailable then Peter Trethewey, or John Clemson – contact details above.

Issues to consider:

  • The child’s feelings
  • The parents’ right to know
  • The impact of telling the parents

Latest review: March 2022