Sports coaches, volunteers and other professionals in Schools

Many schools hire sports coaches and professionals to support PE, sports, and physical activities during and outside curriculum time. When doing so, schools should remember the following:

Keeping children safe in education (KCSiE) 2023 guidance

KCSiE 2023 is statutory guidance for safeguarding and promoting children's welfare. Schools should be familiar with:

  • paragraph 236: regulated and unregulated activity
  • paragraphs 237-248: types of DBS checks, using the flowchart on page 66 of KCSiE 2023
  • paragraphs 290-295: contractors
  • paragraphs 305-312: volunteers and supervision
  • annex E (page 173): supervision, and the list on page 175 for determining whether a volunteer is in regulated activity

Good practice

Before starting contracts you should:

  • hold face-to-face interviews following Safer Recruitment guidance from the DfE
  • obtain references commenting on the coach’s suitability to work with children
  • conduct an Enhanced DBS check and update the Single central record
  • verify that coaches are 18 or older
  • ensure qualifications are appropriate and accredited by a national governing body (at least Level 2 for the relevant sport)
  • confirm appropriate insurance coverage
  • check safeguarding knowledge and provide child protection procedure induction
  • provide a broader induction covering health and safety, emergency procedures, and behaviour policies
  • complete and review all risk assessments for the activity
  • assign a qualified staff member to oversee the pastoral care of participating students
  • observe coaches before allowing them to run sessions independently
  • implement a monitoring and evaluation system

By following these guidelines, schools can ensure they maintain a safe and supportive environment for their students while engaging with external sports professionals.

Single central record

Enter coaches, volunteers, and professionals on the Single central record (KCSiE paragraphs 270-271) and remove them when the contract ends.

Sport England UK coaching

Follow the UK coaching guidance guidelines when assigning coaches.

Coaches must:

  • be the minimum coaching age: 18 (16 for coaching assistants under supervision)
  • have appropriate qualifications: Level 2 for independent coaches, Level 1 for assistants
  • have appropriate insurance: policy with personal accident, public liability, and professional indemnity cover
  • renew safeguarding training every 3 years
  • conduct enhanced DBS checks

Last updated 24 June 2024