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Arts in schools - child protection, health and safety

Keeping the arts safe

If you are an artist considering working in schools, you need to make sure that you have planned your activity with safety in mind.

The main issues that come up are:

  • Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Checks

  • Insurance

  • School policies and procedures

  • Photograpahy and filming

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks

If you intend to do any work in schools a CRB check will be required. These help employers make safer recruitment decisions.

An individual artist cannot apply in person to the CRB, and will need to contact an umbrella organisation who will apply on their behalf. Arts organisations like Soundsense and the English Amateur Dance Association and the National Operatic and Dramatic Association are examples of umbrella organisations, who offer CRB check facilities for their members. Expect to pay around £40 and possibly a fee to the umbrella organisation or agent and to wait approximately six weeks before receiving your certificate. Amber Valley CVS is a local umbrella organisation, offering CRB checks at low cost.

Please note: The government introduced changes to 'discosure and barring' procedures' in September 2012.



Public Liability Insurance

Artists working in schools are expected to have public liability insurance - usually for up to £5 million indemnity. Without insurance cover the artist can, if a person becomes injured or equipment is broken, be held personally accountable. Some professional organisations like The Society for All Artists offer public liability insurance as part of their membership deal.

Contact British Insurance Brokers Asssociation (BIBA)  for a list of companies who specialise in insuring artists. Phone: 020 7623 9043

School policies and procedures

Schools have policies and procedures that artists need to be aware of. The school's project coordinator should provide all relevant documents, which you should read before working with them. You should also make sure that you are clear about issues like artist/teacher roles and responsibilities, including behaviour management, appropriate physical contact and sole access to students.

The most likely policies you will come across include:

  • Health and Safety (including fire evacuation procedures and risk assessments)

  • Duty of Care

  • Equal Opportunities

  • Special Educational Needs (including medical requirements)

  • Behaviour management

Photography / Filming

Photography and filming may be central to an arts project, or may be useful to artists for keeping records of work in progress or celebratory events. You need to find out about the school's rules for using images of children. The school will always need to ensure parental consent has been given.  Schools will often be able to identify students for whom parental consent has not previously been given although it is always wise to request written permission for each new project, stating what the images will be used for and how long they will be kept. Images should never be used on a website without written consent from parents / carers.  


A guide to safe internet use and young people have a look at

Useful Resource

The Arts Council have produced a useful document called 'Keeping arts safe’. It is recommended reading for any artist who is planning to work with schools, or with young or vulnerable people.


Kim Johnson - Arts in Education Coordinator

Wenna Stockdale - Arts in Education Coordinator Derby

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