EX CATHEDRA | 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 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) ensuring their skills, experiences and appropriateness for working with our participants.


Before anyone can deliver or assist in the delivery of 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: https://www.gov.uk/find-out-dbs-check.

Ex Cathedra follows best practice with regards to repeating DBS at appropriate intervals and our people are asked to register themselves on the update service and are given instructions in how to do so.

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 although everyone participating with the organisation is required to complete a Safer-Recruitment Self-Declaration Form, provided by Ex Cathedra. Ex Cathedra uses the information received from this process to determine an individual’s suitability to engage in activities with Ex Cathedra. Information is stored in accordance with Ex Cathedra’s Privacy Policy. 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. Members of staff responsible for the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults within a specific situation wear a green lanyard around their neck, which also holds their ID cards. This information is communicated with participants.


Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Anyone who sees anything that gives them concern should raise it with the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.

It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and Deputy 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 and all associated websites, 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 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 and vulnerable adults within the organisation
  • Support and monitor the work of the Designated Lead and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

It is the responsibility of all members of Ex Cathedra employed staff and education & participation animateurs 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 Director of Education (DSL) and Participation and the Education and Participation Manager (DDSL) 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 and Participation. Everyone engaged by Ex Cathedra to deliver regulated activities for children are required to complete an Enhanced DBS Check with barred lists which returns no information and they are encouraged to register on the DBS Update service. Annual DBS checks are then carried out on those registered to check for any changes to status. If a DBS certificate is not registered on the update service, then these will be reapplied for in full after 3 years. All Ex Cathedra free-lance staff are required to complete Level 2 Safeguarding training every 2 years.

4. Making our Space Safe

Risk assessment documents are created for all our events, to:

  • Identify Risks
  • Assess the risks
  • Controls the risks
  • Record our findings
  • Review our controls

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 A standard Google Business Account (GDPR Compliant). physical copies of forms are handed to Ex Cathedra, the information is transferred to the online account and the physical copies are then destroyed appropriately. In the nature of some of our work (Singing Medicine) we are working with vulnerable people and learning about confidential and private information. We must not share any of this knowledge outside of the project team, unless it relates to or is new a safeguarding disclosure.


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, appropriate permissions are sought 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. At an event where children and/or vulnerable adults are present, no one except approved Ex Cathedra staff should be taking photographs or video footage featuring the children/vulnerable adult.


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 and participants’ Self Declaration information) is saved in A standard Google Business Account (GDPR Compliant)and only accessed by those with appropriate DBS checks. If physical copies of forms are handed to Ex Cathedra, the information is transferred to the online account and the physical copies are then destroyed appropriately.

6. Communication

No person in the Ex Cathedra community (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 an appropriate adult 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.


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 is clear to participants and audience members that any photographs or video footage taken during an Ex Cathedra event which feature children or vulnerable adults must not be shared publicly on social media, unless permission has been granted.

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 responsible adult 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 Ex Cathedra via the Designated Safeguarding Lead/Deputy 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 respond appropriately with such disclosures.

We are vigilant to Safeguarding Risks, including; bullying, radicalisation, sexual exploitation, grooming, allegations against staff, incidents of self-harm, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, forced marriage, and FGM.

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 participants. 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.

This work is classed as regulated activity and is only ever carried out by people holding an up to date Enhanced DBS Certificate.

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 to 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 Education & Participation staff 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 dementia support groups and care homes
  • 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 work in teams in a Children’s Mental Health Hospital with clinical staff present, in social spaces.

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 and reviewed by GK/RL
  • 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 / Education & Participation Programme Assistant 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 a responsible adult and are required to sign in with the registered chaperone, even where the responsible adults remain in attendance
  • Children in the Children’s Academy and Junior Academy must arrive with a responsible adult
  • Children in the Senior Upper and Lower Voices are allowed to arrive without a responsible adult, but if they do not arrive we will contact the emergency contact on our records
  • Children are chaperoned at all times
  • Children are not allowed to leave until collected by an assigned responsible adult and must sign out with the registered chaperone; (when a child is to be collected by a different person, Ex Cathedra must be informed by the parent/carer)
  • 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  appropriate adult
  • Parents/carers are asked to read and sign a code of conduct agreement for when joining rehearsals online (appended)
  • Ex Cathedra Staff and Free-lancers complete Level 2 Safeguarding Children Training every 2 years.

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
  • Ex Cathedra Staff and Free-lancers complete Level 2 Safeguarding Children Training every 2 years.

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
  • Ex Cathedra Staff and Free-lancers complete Level 2 Safeguarding Children Training every 2 years.

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
  • Ex Cathedra Staff and Free-lancers complete Level 2 Safeguarding Children Training every 2 years.

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 – Standard Business Google Account
  • 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.
  • Ex Cathedra Sstaff and E&P fFreelancers complete Level 2 Safeguarding Children Training every 2 years.

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:

  1. Ex Cathedra’s adults including staff, players and singers
  2. 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 Participation, Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Gemma King, Education & Participation Manager, Deputy DSL

John Clemson, Trustee with designated responsibility for Safeguarding

March 2023

Revisions list

This Policy and Plan is reviewed annually, or more frequently if new information and advice requires.

23/03/2020 Updated following review by Director of Education and trustee with safeguarding responsibility. Reviewed and agreed at full Board meeting.
30/04/2021 Addition of appendix with guidelines for Academy of Vocal Music online rehearsals
13/09/2021 Additional of procedure around Digital content and update of Chair of the Board of Trustees
01/03/2022 Additional procedure around one-to-one vocal coaching sessions for Academy of Vocal Music
01/03/2022 Additional activity detailed
01/03/2022 Changes to how information is stored (no physical copies to be kept)
15/03/2022 Advice on how to manage on-line presence
15/03/2022 Changes to how we communicate with 17-18 year olds
21/03/2023 Changes to how information is stored
05/05/2023 Additional Activity Detailed, Changes to roles detailed, Changes to working practices details: Green Lanyards, Removal of Covid-19 protocols