New safeguarding policies introduced to better protect welfare of gymnasts
New safeguarding policies for hydration, weighing gymnasts and academic education introduced to better protect welfare of gymnasts
- Policies prioritise care of participants as a person first, and a gymnast second
- Policies have been shaped by experience and expertise of gymnasts, coaches, clubs and parents as well as experts and organisations beyond gymnastics
- Support the new #BeTheChange campaign and designed so that people of any age or experience can understand what is ok and what is not ok
- More work still to do but new policies are a significant and positive step forward for gymnastics
The first of a series of new policies to help better protect the welfare of gymnasts have been introduced, covering hydration, weighing gymnasts and academic education.
As a foundation sport that helps you explore and develop what your body can do, gymnastics attracts hundreds of thousands of people to take part each year, with the vast majority of these being children and young people. With that comes a responsibility to ensure their welfare is protected above all else, and that they have a positive first experience of physical activity that can lead on to a happy, healthy, and active life. All the new polices are therefore rooted in the care of participants as a person first, and a gymnast second.
Some of the rules under the new policies include:
- Hydration: Gymnasts must be provided with opportunities to drink regularly throughout a gymnastics session or activity, with gymnasts encouraged to consume fluids as they feel comfortable to. If a gymnast requires the toilet during a gymnastics session or activity, they must be able to go at the earliest available opportunity.
- Weighing Gymnasts: Weighing of gymnasts must always be their choice and must only be undertaken by qualified sport science or medical practitioners with the gymnast’s optimal long-term development in mind, and with clear, scientifically valid rationale. Weight data must always be combined with another measure. Coaches must not weigh gymnasts.
- Academic Education: Gymnastics clubs and coaches must ensure that the missing of formal education for gymnastics club training must not be a mandatory requirement for any child. Gymnastics club training must not be scheduled during formal education time (i.e., school hours) for children under the age of 12. Children aged over 12 must only miss formal education time (i.e., school hours) for gymnastics club training under exceptional circumstances and on the condition that the child’s academic education is not compromised.
The full detail for each policy can be viewed on the Resources & Videos section on the Welsh Gymnastics website.
The new policies have been released as part of the #BeTheChange campaign, launched earlier this month and created to help keep gymnastics safe and fair for all. The policies apply to all gymnastics activity delivered at Welsh Gymnastics registered clubs and competitions and come into effect across the UK, having been jointly introduced by Welsh Gymnastics, English Gymnastics, Gymnastics Northern Ireland and Scottish Gymnastics – in collaboration with British Gymnastics.
Development of the new policies over the last 18 months has been shaped by extensive consultation with gymnasts, coaches, clubs and parents as well as experts and organisations beyond gymnastics, listening to and learning from their experience and expertise. As a result, each policy has had input from between 70-100 different people.
In a marked change from the past, the new policies have been designed so that they are clear, engaging and supportive for everyone involved in the sport. They are accompanied by easy to read guides for deliverers, parents and carers, and gymnasts, as well as posters and explainer videos to bring the key areas of policy to life so that people of any age or experience can understand what is ok and what is not ok.
For more information about the Safe and Fair Sport campaign, click here. More information support about Safeguarding and Wellbeing in Welsh Gymnastics is available HERE or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org