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MU Launch New Safeguarding Resources For Musicians Who Teach

The new resources define best practice in safeguarding for members working with children and vulnerable adults.

Photo ofChris Walters
By Chris Walters Published: 27 July 2023 | 4:43 PM
Colourful paper chain of people in a circle, in the middle of open cupped hands, representing safeguarding and protection.
The new Code of Conduct stands as a definition of best practice in safeguarding from the MU’s perspective. Image credit: Shutterstock.

The Musicians’ Union regularly supports its members with a wide range of safeguarding matters, and we provide online safeguarding training in partnership with Educare.

Now we are launching a new suite of safeguarding materials: a Safeguarding Policy, which clarifies the MU’s role in safeguarding; a Code of Conduct; and a template Safeguarding Statement that members can fill out and issue to schools, parents and other engagers.

The Code of Conduct

Our Code of Conduct describes some important approaches and behaviours for music educators who are looking to uphold the highest standards of safeguarding in their work. It also stands as a definition of best practice in safeguarding from the MU’s perspective.

There are 12 behaviours that are the cornerstone of the Code of Conduct. In summarised form, these are:

1. Commit to upholding the highest standards of safeguarding and child protection.

2. Maintain high standards of personal behaviour. Be friendly and approachable but professional in your interactions.

3. Abide by the MU/ISM Music Sector Code of Practice, designed to tackle bullying, harassment and discrimination.

4. As well as following this Code of Practice, be aware of other safeguarding policies that may also apply and follow these.

5. Develop an understanding of the various issues that can cause students harm, using this knowledge to remain vigilant to risks and promote a safe environment for learning.

6. Acquire a basic knowledge of, and be able to identify, the signs of the four most common forms of the abuse: emotional, physical, sexual and neglect.

7. Be aware that those experiencing abuse can be any age, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality or faith; and that those who abuse can be any age, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality or faith.

8. Understand and be able to identify grooming behaviour. Never intentionally behave in any way that could be perceived as grooming.

9. Report any concerns or disclosures to an appropriate authority.

10. Keep records about children and vulnerable adults securely protected and retain them for no longer than necessary, whether records are physical or digital.

11. Ensure that consent is gained from all relevant parties for all photos or film of students, and that these are stored securely and retained no longer than necessary.

12. Maintain an up-to-date DBS check using the online DBS Update Service (England and Wales only). In Scotland or Northern Ireland, maintain equivalent checks.

Additional resources and information

The Code of Conduct discusses these points over a series of subtopics, which include:

  • Communication with pupils and parents – covering contracts, email, personal communication and social media.
  • Delivering lessons – from room layout to dress to physical contact, plus specific issues relating to teaching online.
  • How to respond appropriately if a disclosure is made to you, plus how to report disclosures and other concerns.
  • Working with vulnerable and non-vulnerable adults.

We have also provided a summary of other important organisations working in safeguarding and what they provide – often a vast range of materials and resources that are freely available.

I hope you will take time to explore the new resources and please feel free to contact with any comments or queries.

Get support as a music teacher through MU membership

The MU has a strong community of teaching musicians, with over 12,000 members. We advise music teachers on specific topics, including pay and contractual issues. Through our resources and employment advice, we support and create careers in music teaching.

Get support as a music teacher through MU membership

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