Before commencing a Junior session a number of considerations need to be made with regards to both safeguarding and the mechanics of running a junior session.
Minimum Standards for Safeguarding Children
Every planned junior session must meet these minimum standards to proceed:
- Always prioritise the well-being of all children
- Be a positive role model and act with integrity. Help to create a safe, inclusive environment for all children, free from poor practice, discrimination and/or bullying
- A minimum of two adults should be available, where one of which holds a current DBS check*. For simplicity these will be as termed the “cox” and the “junior crew facilitator”.
- Always obtain consent from parents/carers and children before taking or publishing any photos, videos or personal information about a child. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with and comply with our rules on the ‘Photography and Social Media’ page.
- Keep your personal and rowing life separate, including on social media.
- Avoid face-to-face and online private one-to-one communication with a child.
- Where possible, do not be alone with a child, unless in an emergency
- Do not abuse, neglect, discriminate against or otherwise harm a child or act in a way that may be interpreted as such.
- Doing nothing is not an option: report all concerns and disclosures as soon as possible. If someone is in immediate danger, call the emergency services (999)
- When in doubt, seek advice: contact your SWO or the Lead Safeguarding Officer at British Rowing (see Welfare Contacts).
*the only time one adult is permitted to be alone with a crew is during a race at an organised regatta. In this scenario the cox should be DBS checked and this time alone should be as short as possible.
Junior Session FAQs
Q. Can crews be made up of both adult and under 18 rowers?
A. Yes and sometime sessions will need to be mixed aged to operate safely (e.g. intro rows). One adult in the boat MUST be DBS checked and the cox may need to tailor the session to meet the needs of the youngest rower in the boat (i.e. more frequent water stops and / or technique over power training).
Q. Can under 18 rowers lift gig boats?
A. They can assist but the recovery and launch of a gig boat will require a minimum of four adults and a full crew of under 18s. Ideally time session where another (adult) crew can take over or at a time where there are more people available to assist (e.g. club rows). When this is not possible ensure that two shore crew are available to take the session.
Q. Do all coxes need to be DBS checked?
A. No, as long as the second adult has an in date certificate the session can proceed. It is recommended that coxes wishing to cox juniors at regattas are DBS checked.
Q. Do Under 18s have to wear a lifejacket?
A. Yes. There is no exception to this rule. No lifejacket no row. The same goes for the junior crew facilitator if they are positioned in the pilot seat.
Q. What is the role of the junior crew facilitator and can they be the same person as the cox?
A. The junior crew facilitator is tasked with arranging the logistics of the session (making sure the juniors turn up on time, with the right kit etc.) and they may assist with the planning of the session or even coaching.
Once on the water the cox has final call on how the session is run (or even if it is cancelled). Both roles can be filled by one person BUT a second adult must be present and one MUST hold a DBS certificate.
Q. Will junior sessions be the same as adult sessions?
A. Broadly, yes. Consideration must be made to the age of the youngest member of the crew or the relative strength of all the crew members. Sessions should last no longer than 40 minutes and should focus on technique.
Racing starts, turns and “big tens” can all be part of a session but not a focus. Overall, sessions should be focused on team work and fun.
Unlike adult sessions it is not appropriate to shout at junior crews or single out individuals. Feedback should be given to the group as a whole. If one-to-one feedback would be useful try and do this on the beach (with a second accompanying adult) after the session. Be encouraging and positive.