Welcome to Portal. Currently enrolled families should use this as a one stop shop for information. We recommend you bookmark this URL for easy return.

Enrolment Manager: Jodie Murphy | info@circusmash.co.uk | 0121 439 2530
Parent Liaison & Safeguarding: Philippa Bradshaw | youth@circusmash.co.uk | 07718 043 845
Direct Line to the space during class hours: 0121 439 2530 (select option 9) 

MASH Rules for parents/guardians and participants.

  1. Arrive on time. Participants must not miss the warm up as they will not be permitted in class.
  2. Please ensure that hair is tied back. It is a hazard if it is not.
  3. Correct clothing must be worn at all times. Black leggings/joggers/tights that are full length. A MASH T-shirt, or Leotard that covers arm pits.
  4. No Jewellery in class. Tape is available for newly pierced ears.
  5. Parents must be on time picking up youth.
  6. There is a three strike rule. If rules are not obeyed after three strikes we reserve the right to un-enrol participants from the programme.


Technique Classes (Monday – Saturday) 
Term Starts:
Mon 9th Sept | Term Breaks: Mon 28th Oct – Sat 2nd Nov | Term Ends: Sat 7th Dec
Tech Week & Winter Show: Monday 9th December – Sunday 15th December. *Please click on the winter show 2019 tab for more info on times for tech week and shows.  

Cirquestars & BYC (Sunday’s)
Term Starts: Sun 15th Sept | Term Breaks: Sun 27th Oct | Term Ends: Sun 8th Dec
Tech Week & Winter Show: Monday 9th December – Sunday 15th December. *Please click on the winter show 2020 tab for more info on times for tech week and shows.  

Monster Mash – Halloween Half term activities: Tuesday 29th Oct (5-8yo) Thursday 31st Oct (+9 yo)
Film Making: Saturday 2nd November 9am-12pm

Scratch Night: Saturday 23rd November

Christmas show: Friday 13th and Saturday 14th December


Technique Classes (Monday – Saturday) 
Term Starts:
Mon 6th Jan | Term Breaks: Mon 17th – Sat 22nd Feb | Term Ends: Sat 4th April
Spring Show: Saturday 4th April *Please click on the MashBASH show 2020 tab for more info.

Cirquestars & BYC (Sunday’s)
Term Starts: Sun 5th Jan | Term Breaks: Sun 16th Feb | Term Ends: Sun 29th March
Spring Show: Saturday 4th April *Please click on the MashBASH show 2020 tab for more info.

Half term activities: Tuesday 18th Feb (5-8yo) Thursday 20th Feb (+9 yo)
*See school holidays tab for more info.

Valentines day Workshop: Friday 14th Feb

Scratch Night: Saturday 14th March

Mothers day: Saturday 21st March

Spring show: Saturday 4th April

Easter activities: Tuesday 7th & 14th April (5-8yo) Thursday 9th & 16th April (+9 yo)
*See school holidays tab for more info.


Technique Classes (Monday – Saturday) 
Term Starts:
Mon 20th April | Term Breaks: Mon 25th – Sat 30th May | Term Ends: Sat 20th June
Tech week & Over the Rainbow Show: Saturday 27th June *Please click on tOver the Rainbow show tab for more info.

Cirquestars & BYC (Sunday’s)
Term Starts: Sun 26th April | Term Breaks: Sun 31st May | Term Ends: Sun 21st June
Tech week & Over the Rainbow Show: Saturday 27th June *Please click on Over the Rainbow show tab for more info.
BYC Summer Show: TBC *Please click on the Summer show 2020 tab for more info.

Half term activities: Tuesday 26th May (5-8yo) Thursday 28th May (+9 yo)
*See school holidays tab for more info.

Fathers day: Saturday 20th June

Summer show: Saturday 27th June

Scratch Night: Saturday 27th June


MashCAMP full day: (5-8yo)
July: Tuesday 21st & 28th
August: Tuesday 4th, 11th & 18th

MashCAMP full day:
July: Thursday 23rd & 30th
August: Thursday 6th, 13th & 20th

*See school holidays tab for more info.

TECHNIC CLASSES (Monday – Saturday)
Autumn term:
Monday 9th September – Saturday 7th December (both included)
Half term | Monday 28th October – Saturday 2nd November
12 classes in total

Spring term:
Monday 6th January – Saturday 4th April (both included)
Half term | Monday 17th – Saturday 22nd February
12 classes in total

Summer term:
Monday 20th April – Saturday 20th June (both included)
Half term | Monday 25th – Saturday 30th May
8 classes in total

*Visit Skills progression & Class descriptions for more info

TROUPS (Sunday’s classes)
Autumn term:
Sunday 15th September – Saturday 8th December (both included)
Half term | Sunday 28th October
12 classes in total

Spring term:
Sunday 5th January – Sunday 29th March (both included)
Half term | Sunday 16th February
12 classes in total

Summer term:
Sunday 26th April – Sunday 20th June (both included)
Half term | Sunday 31st May
8 classes in total

*Visit Skills progression & Class descriptions for more info

Monster Mash | Tuesday 29th Oct (5-8yo)
Monster Mash | Thursday 31st Oct (+9 yo)
Film Making | Saturday 2nd November 9am-12pm
MashCAMP 1 | Tuesday 18th Feb (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 2 | Thursday 20th Feb (+9 yo)
MashCAMP 3 | Tuesday 7th April (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 4 | Thursday 9th April (+9 yo)
MashCAMP 5 | Tuesday 14th April (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 6 | Thursday 16th April (+9 yo)
MashCAMP 7 | Tuesday 26th May (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 8 | Thursday 28th May (+9 yo)
MashCAMP 9 | Tuesday 21st July (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 10 | Thursday 23rd July (+9yo)
MashCAMP 11 | Tuesday 28th July (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 12 | Thursday 30th July (+9 yo)
MashCAMP 13 | Tuesday 4th August (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 14 | Thursday 6th August (+9 yo)
MashCAMP 15 | Tuesday 11th August (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 16 | Thursday 13th August (+9 yo)
MashCAMP 17 | Tuesday 18th August (5-8yo)
MashCAMP 18 | Thursday 20th August (+9 yo)

*Visit School Holiday’s for more info

Christmas show | Friday 13 & Saturday 14th December 2019
MashBASH | Saturday 4th APril 2020
Over the Rainbow | Saturday 27th June 2020
BYC Summer show | dates TBC | Youth touring show over the Summer

*Visit each show page for more info

Autumn Scratch | Saturday 23rd November
Spring Scratch | Saturday 14th March
Summer Scratch | Saturday 27th June

*Visit Scratch Night page for more info

Valentines day | Friday 14th Feb | 2 adults
Mothers day | Saturday 21st March | 1 adult + 1 kid
Fathers day | Saturday 20th June | 1 adult + 1 kid

*Visit our what’s on section for more info

Annual Fee’s

Insurance Fee: £12 if you enrol from September | £9 if you enrol from January | £6 if you enrol from April.
Wear: £45 | T Shirt & Embroidered Jacket.
Other Fee’s: Dress Rehearsal Fee £5 | Costume Fee £25

Terms & Conditions:
1. We require one months notice for cancellations.
2. There will be a £10 admin charge for payments missed.
3. Late pick ups will be charged. CircusMASH work with freelance artists that are only paid up to the point in which the class ends. 

Technique Classes (Monday – Saturday)

Monthly Direct Debit: One class £30 | Two £45 | Three £60 | Please contact youth@circusmash.co.uk if you would like to attend more than three technique classes.


Monthly Direct Debit £40 + your skills class cost. Participants must attend at least one skills class to attend CirqueStars.

Birmingham Youth Circus

Monthly Direct Debit £55 + your skills class cost. Training plan must be in place in skills classes or at a partner school.

Everyone learns technique when first starting at MASH. As they get an understanding of how each skill works our troupes offer the opportunity to further develop their performance and other skills that will help them to develop a future in creative arts or give them more life skills to move forward with.

Weekly Classes: Technique
CirqueStars: Technique, Movement & Transition, Storytelling
Birmingham Youth Circus: Movement & Transition, Storytelling, Collaboration, Innovation
Street Mash Crew (18+): Movement & Transition, Storytelling, Collaboration, Innovation, Career

In each colour of the rainbow there are areas of development in which participants will focus training around. For each of the elements there are sets of different lessons participants will work on depending on their age and the goals of the class or troupe.

Shape | Lines | Stills | Sequence | Manipulation | Physio | Pilates | Wellbeing

Movement & Transition
Dance | Stillness | Balance | Flexibility | Movement | Impulse | Breaking Free | Transition | Polishing

Re-Creating | Creating | Imagery | Audience | Moments | Physicality 

Teaching | Technique | Creative Process | Reading an Audience | Workshopping | Responsibility 

Concept | Design | Making things happen | Influencing an Audience

Obligation | Assessment | Tax | Insurance | Health & Safety | Auditioning 


CirqueStars: Technique | Movement & Transition | Storytelling
Our show creation class for youth 8+. Youth create a show with the skills they learn in technique classes. There is no audition and CS is the first step towards developing performance skills for young people.

Birmingham Youth Circus
Technique | Movement & Transition | Storytelling | Collaboration | Innovation 
The Birmingham Youth Circus is the Midlands’ premier performance troupe. They are a cast of 18 highly skilled young people that create three innovative, original shows each year that tour within the UK.


Aerial 1:
Foundations of Silks, Hoop, Trapeze & Hammock.

Aerial 2:
Foundations of Silks, Hoop, Trapeze & Hammock. 

Aerial 3:
Foundations on Silks, Hoop, Trapeze & Rope 

Aerial 4:
All aerial equipment 

Skate Squad
Foundations on free skating
Acrobatic & partner quad skating

CYR Club: | Watch here
Acrobatic wheel

All circus equipment wrapped up into game play. . 

Circus Club:
Hand-Eye Coordination (Juggle, Diablo, Poi, staff etc) & Balance equipment (unicycle, stilts, wire, globe)

Ground Tumbling

Acro Balance:
Balancing on people, group acro and hand balance

Open practice for youth that have been signed off. 11+

Pre Registration
If you are new to MASH you will need to pre register by clicking here. This will allow us to see if we have room in classes for you.

Please visit www.circusmash.co.uk/dashboard to register for an account and to complete your contact details, add your participants, classes and pay insurance fee, sign waiver and set up your direct debit.

As soon as you are all set up with your account, the final thing for us to do is enrol you onto the class. As soon as you are enrolled you will see an ‘Enrolled‘ sign next to the participants inside your dashboard. Please do not turn up to class if there is a ‘Not Enrolled‘ sign next to the participants name. We may add you to a ‘Waiting List‘ if there are no spaces in the class.

Class Changes & Cancellations:
Simply log in into your dashboard and request changes or cancellations here.

Please check back here soon. All of the information that you will need for this show will be posted here in due course. This is your one stop shop information for all stuff you need to know about the show.


Friday 13th December 6pm.

Saturday 14th December 3pm.

Saturday 14th December 6pm.

Please check back here soon. All of the information that you will need for this show will be posted here in due course. This is your one stop shop information for all stuff you need to know about the show.

SATURDAY 4th April 2020 7.00-10.00pm

Please check back here soon. All of the information that you will need for this show will be posted here in due course. This is your one stop shop information for all stuff you need to know about the show.

Please check back here soon. All of the information that you will need for this show will be posted here in due course. This is your one stop shop information for all stuff you need to know about the show.

Saturday 27th June 2020 1.00-3.00pm

All technic classes will perform on this show as well as all CirqueSTARTS Troup.

Every half term we invite youth to run away with us for some serious circus fun!
Youth students can be booked onto just one, or all of the MashCAMP days appropriate for their age.
Learn all type of circus including:


Come and join our brand new MonsterMASH
Tuesday 29th October 2019 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 31st October 2019 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
*Early day discounts available
Saturday 2nd October 2019 | 9am-12pm | free of charge just for those attending one of the MonsterMASH days above.

Tuesday 18th February 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 20th February 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
*Early day discounts available

Tuesday 7th April 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 9th April 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
Tuesday 14th April 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 16th April 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
*Early day discounts available

Tuesday 26th May 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 28th May 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
*Early day discounts available

Tuesday 21st July 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 23rd July 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
Tuesday 28th July 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 30th July 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
Tuesday 4th August 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 6th August 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
Tuesday 11th August 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 13th August 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
Tuesday 18th August 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 5-8Yrs | £30
Thursday 20th August 2020 | 10.30am – 4.00pm | 9+Yrs | £30
*Early day discounts available

These workshops are open to all levels: both complete beginners and youth students that have been doing circus for a while. No matter what their level is, we will always find fun ways to challenge them!

Book here

Booking will open at the beginning of the term.

The Birmingham Youth Circus auditions happen in May each year for a September intake. If you are interested in auditioning for Birmingham Youth Circus please fill in the application here.

The CAT Scheme auditions happen in May for a September intake. If you are interested in auditioning please email youth@circusmash.co.uk.

We offer private trining for kids outside our regular classes and usual school times.
Contact will open soon to arrange private sessions.

We allow youth 13+ into some adult classes if we feel that the class can push them to a level in which the youth classes won’t. Our adult classes do not have the same safeguarding rules as our youth classes.

If your child is attending an adult class please be aware:

There are other adults in the class that are not vetted by CircusMASH and are paying students. We do not hold any DBS information on these individuals.

Your child must be able to leave on their own (or you can pick them up) but there will be no sign out procedure and CircusMASH will take no responsibility for your child, as we will not with the adult students.
Your child will be responsible for themselves.

There will be only ONE instructor in adult classes, not two.

Youth Classes run term time and our adult classes run throughout the year. Your direct debit fees pay for your term time classes but not the classes that run during half term and the summer holidays. Your child will be permitted into these classes but we will need to increase your direct debit to cover these costs.

Register your youth for an adult class

Cancellations and Class changes must be made through your online account www.circusmash.co.uk/dashboard.

If you are leaving us, it is really important to us that we get feedback so we can make things better. Please answer one question for us by filling in this feedback form.

If you have any questions please email the enrolment manager info@circusmash.co.uk. If you have any concerns please call Philippa on 07718 043 845.

We love circus, we love performances and performing and we love bringing people together.
That’s why every term we organise an open Scratch Night.

Autumn Scratch: Saturday 23rd November 2019 | 7pm
Spring Scratch: Saturday 14th March 2020 | 7pm
Summer Scratch: Saturday 27th June 2020 | 7pm


How does it work?
Our scratch nights are open to everyone.
We showcase all the youth talents on the first half of the night and the adult performers on the second half.
We have a bar with drinks and some snacks, and we organise a few games during the interval.
Last but not least, we ask you to give feedback to the (other) performers.

Can my child perform in a Scratch Night?
The answer is yes, all you and your kid have to do is fill up this form. Age 11+:
Register for a performance slot

We have a select amount of slots for each scratch night. They fill up fast so make sure you register.

CircusMASH Youth Circus exists to advance the skills and education of young people in the knowledge, practice and appreciation of all aspects of circus in a safe and supportive educational environment in which they can develop and have fun.

Our promise to you…

  • To provide a safe, supportive environment to engage and learn circus activities.
  • Encourage you to develop skills in circus disciplines in preparation for a showcase.
  • Provide fully qualified coaches to aid your learning.
  • Ensure that all rehearsals start on time and sessions are prepared in advance.
  • Ensure that all sessions are fun.
  • Value participants equally regardless of age, disability, gender, race or religion.
  • Not tolerate any form of discrimination or bullying.
  • To challenge you with the disciplines that you are learning.
  • Set rehearsal targets that are challenging, yet achievable.
  • Always be available for any questions or concerns from participants or parents.

Our expectation from you (the kids)…

  • Play an active part in supporting our codes of practice.
  • Behave in a controlled manner at all times in workshops and rehearsals.
  • Support others in their learning and development.
  • Arrive on time to workshops and rehearsals ready to start.
  • Arrive with correct clothing, shoes, no jewellery.
  • Ensure that you listen to your coach and use the equipment as instructed to do so.
  • No food in rehearsals.

Safety at Circus

Safety is our number one priority at CircusMASH. Learning circus disciplines can be dangerous and our job is to be aware of these dangers and meet all of our safety guidelines to ensure that every participant is kept safe at all times during rehearsals.

Participant Safety Rules

  • Do not use the equipment without permission from the coach.
  • No Running around the equipment.
  • Listen to your coaches instructions at all times.
  • Dress appropriately for rehearsals, no jewellery.
  • No chewing gum during rehearsals.

Every discipline will have it’s own set of rules that apply to them. We will ensure:

  • Every child on the equipment will have a coach/spotter with them and relevant safety matting will be in place.
  • They will be work within their abilities yet be challenged safely.
  • All students will be supervised throughout each session.
  • All equipment will be safety checked before each circus session.

Emergency Procedures

If in the event of an emergency please listen to your teachers instructions. Teachers will ensure they have everyone registered in at the start of the session and lead everyone to safety.

Injuries & First Aid

A first aider will be present at all times during classes and rehearsals. In the event of a minor injury we will have a first aid kit available. Please ensure that you have filled in a parent emergency contact form.

While in the Circus Space:

  • Water breaks will be given frequently, please bring your own water bottle.
  • Toilet breaks will be taken just when needed.
  • No chewing gum at any time.
  • No jewellery will be worn.

Child Protection

All coaches hold are DBS certified.


  • Please be aware that there is CCTV in the studio we work.
  • If you do not agree with us taking photographs during rehearsals to document progress and for promotional purposes, please let us know on the registration form.

Spotting & ensuring safety.

  • It is common practice in coaching circus to use manual spotting techniques in order to keep participants safe, which may involve direct physical contact. This is the only way to ensure the child’s safety.

Appropriate clothing and hair

  • Please wear something that you feel comfortable moving about in. Leggings/leotards are great as well as jogging bottoms with NO zips. Please ensure that your armpits, midriff and knee’s are covered.
  • No zips, buttons, sequins or any other object that may be sewn onto clothing.
  • Come along in trainers but you will need to be barefoot in some parts of the session.
  • Long hair tied up.


  • Learning circus can be very demanding. It is common for participants to feel uncomfortable trying something new. The reward comes from the achievement so we encourage all participants to overcome barriers that they are faced with.
  • Please be aware that certain circus activities can cause minor bumps and bruises like with any sporting activity.
  • We have 8 rules that we will go over with the children at the start of the programme that they will need to abide by for each session throughout the term. These have previously been explain in this information pack.
  1. Only use equipment when told to do so by an instructor.
  2. Always walk around the circus equipment. Never run.
  3. Speak in a normal voice, no yelling or screaming.
  4. Be at rehearsals on time.
  5. Dress appropriately for training, no jewellery, tie long hair up.
  6. Do not eat food or chew gum during training.
  7. Inappropriate language is unacceptable.
  8. Respect your coach and each other.

CircusMASH is fully committed to safeguarding the well being of all children and young people who take part in activities lead by CircusMASH. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. CircusMASH will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in its activities through adherence to the safeguarding guidelines adopted by CircusMASH. Staff, leaders and volunteers should show respect and understanding of the rights, safety and welfare of other staff, leaders and volunteers and conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of CircusMASH. The process of implementing the policy is the responsibility of the Director.

Circus MASH acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and is committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice and Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board requirements.

Circus MASH believes that Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. This policy seeks to ensure that CircusMASH undertakes its responsibilities with regards to the protection of children and adults and will respond to concerns appropriately. The policy establishes a framework to support paid and unpaid staff in their practices and clarifies the organisation’s expectations. To ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and there are robust procedures, support and guidance available.

The policy and procedures will be widely promoted and are mandatory for everyone involved in CircusMASH. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the organisation.


There are a number of pieces of legislation that impact on the policy and procedures such as:
Children and Young Persons Act 1933
Children Act 1989 United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child 1989
Human rights Act 1998 Children’s Commissioner for Wales Act 2
Legislation to protect children from adults who pose a risk Sex Offenders Act 1997
Protection of Children Act 1999 Sexual Offences Act 2003
Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)


The policy will be reviewed a year after development and then every three years, or in the following circumstances:

  • Changes in legislation and/or government guidance
  • As required by the Local Safeguarding Children Board
  • As a result of any other significant change or event.

Policy Aims

  • Provide children and young people with appropriate safety and protection while they are in the care of CircusMASH. 
  • Create an environment where young people feel safe and secure, have their viewpoints valued, are encouraged to talk and are listened to.
  • Develop awareness in all staff and volunteers of the need for child protection and of their responsibilities.
  • Allow all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues. 
  • To ensure all staff and volunteers are able to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people
  • To promote safe practice and challenge poor practice
  • To ensure that appropriate action is taken as a result of any concerns or allegations.
  • To ensure that all CircusMASH staff who are involved in a role with children have been through appropriate pre-recruitment checks.
  • To ensure that all CircusMASH Youth Circus Trainers involved in a role with children have attended safeguarding or child protection training at a level appropriate to their role in the Company, which covers the above areas.
  • The policy recognises that the welfare and interests of children are paramount in all circumstances. It aims to ensure that all children
  • Have a positive and enjoyable experience of circus at CircusMASH in a safe and child centered environment
  • Are protected from abuse whilst participating in circus or outside of the activity.

As part of our safeguarding policy CircusMASH will:

  • Promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people
  • Ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people
  • Ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern
  • Ensure that confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored
  • Prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals
  • Ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation.


All staff at CircusMASH that work with children must ensure that:

  • The welfare of the child or young person is paramount, and the environment is kept safe and secure.
  • All children and young individuals, whatever age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
  • All staff (paid/unpaid) working for CircusMASH has a responsibility to report concerns to the safeguarding officer Philippa Bradshaw (youth@circusmash.co.uk).

Behaviour Statement

In order to promote children’s welfare and reduce the likelihood of allegations being made all personnel should demonstrate exemplary behaviour by:

  • Treating all young people equally, and with respect and dignity.
  • Ensuring that a culture of openness exists to enable any issues or concerns to be raised and discussed.
  • Always putting the welfare of each person first before winning or achieving goals.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognising the development of needs and capacity, avoiding excessive rehearsal or performance schedules and not pushing them against their will.
  • Being an excellent role model.
  • Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given.
  • Making circus enjoyable and promoting fair play.
  • Ensuring if any physical support is required it is provided openly with agreement beforehand.
  • Ensuring that children are never left unsupervised.

If you have any questions regarding the behaviour statement, please raise them with Joseph Fearn. The following should be avoided except in emergencies (for example, if a child sustains an injury and needs to be taken to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to collect a child at the end of a session). If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of the child’s parent/guardian.

  • Avoid spending time alone with a child.
  • Avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity.
  • Avoid private or unobserved interaction with young people and encouraging open communication with no secrets.

You should never:

  • Discriminate against, show preferential treatment, or favour particular children to the exclusion of others.
  • Use language, make suggestions or offer advice, which is inappropriate, offensive or abusive, even in fun.
  • Invite or allow children to your home.
  • Condone, or participate in, behaviour of children, which is illegal, unsafe or abusive.
  • Condone smoking or the consumption of alcohol by young people under the legal age. You are obliged to report any sightings of this to the young person’s parent/guardian.
  • Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate contact with young people.
  • Do things of a personal nature for a child that they could do for themselves.
  • Allow young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged (e.g. swearing, racial/sexual taunts).
  • Permit abusive behaviour or activities (e.g. bullying, ridiculing or initiation ceremonies).
  • Make assumptions based on rumour or hearsay.
  • Fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child.


All staff, volunteers, members, and parents should understand what abuse is.

  • All staff, volunteers and members should know what the company policy is on any form of abuse and follow it when abuse is reported.
  • All children and parents should know what the company policy is on abuse and what they need to do should abuse arise.
  • As a company we take bullying seriously.

Children and parents should be assured that they would be supported when abuse is reported.

  • Any form of abuse will not be tolerated. CircusMASH is committed to providing a supportive, friendly, safe and positive environment free of offensive or abusive behaviour for all staff, volunteers, class members and volunteers.


It is important to acknowledge that most children do not find it easy to disclose their concerns. It is known that the majority of referrals to the statutory agencies are from adults who are expressing concerns for a child or children identified by them as a result of the child’s behaviour or presentation. It is critical that we treat reports with the utmost seriousness all reports of observed or identified indicators of possible abuse and respond appropriately.

Abuse is not always easy to identify. There may be many innocent reasons for young people to have bruises. In adolescence, children can be moody and unpredictable in their behaviour. Children can react to external circumstances by a change in behaviour such as bereavement or parental divorce/separation. However some signs may not have an obvious explanation and may indicate that a child may be being abused.

Some indicators of abuse are:

  • The child or young person discloses a concern and describes what may be an abusive act.
  • Another person raises concern about the wellbeing of a child or young person.
  • Unexplained or concerning injuries such as burns, cuts, and bruises situated in areas of the child’s body which are not normally prone to injury through for example play activity.
  • Physical injury where the explanation given is inconsistent.
  • Unexplained changes in behavior such as a child becoming withdrawn, quiet or aggressive/verbally violent.
  • Inappropriate sexual awareness and/or behaving in a sexualised manner.
  • Eating disorder i.e. a child is overeating or showing a loss of appetite.
  • Excessive weight loss or weight gain for no obvious reason.
  • Physical appearance becomes unkempt.
  • The child or young person is withdrawn and isolated themselves from the group and seems unable to make friends.
  • The child or young person is prevented from socialising with other children.
  • The child or young person displays a distrust of adults.
  • Behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to go to school, training or sports club.
  • A drop in performance at school or in the sport.
  • Physical signs such as stomach-aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed-wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes and bingeing, for example, on food, cigarettes or alcohol.
  • A shortage of money or frequent loss of possessions.
  • This is not an exhaustive list of indicators and alone cannot be seen to be definitive proof a child or young person is being abused. CircusMASH does not expect the adults involved in the circus to decide whether a child has been abused but it is everyone’s responsibility to act upon their concerns and report any incident immediately.


Abuse can and does occur in a wide range of settings. The psychological effects of abuse can be life-long, especially if the individual has not been able to disclose the abuse or access support. Anyone who has been abused as a young person may find it difficult or impossible to maintain stable, trusting relationships, and may become involved with drugs, and experience mental health problems or self-harm.

A child who has been neglected can experience serious impairment in their health and development.

A child may be abused or neglected though:

  • Inflicting harm.
  • Failing to act to prevent harm.

A child may be abused by:

  • A family member.
  • By a person within an institutional or community setting.
  • By a person known to them or more rarely by a stranger*.
  • An adult or adults, or another child or children.

*It is recognised through research that children are more likely to be abused by a member of their immediate or extended family, someone within their community or a person in a position of trust than by a stranger.

The following definitions are taken from Chapter 1 of ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ and additional specific information has been added.


Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

In circus an example of physical abuse could include: –

  • Setting a training regime that exceeds the capacity of the child’s immature and growing body.
  • Inflicting pain on a child that is beyond an acceptable level of discomfort involved in physical preparation and training.
  • Forcing a child into a highly restricted and unhealthy diet that may lead to extreme weight loss.
  • Physically pushing, poking, or prodding a child


Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

  • It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
  • It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.
  • It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.
  • It may involve serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Within circus examples of emotional abuse may include: –

  • Continually belittling a child’s efforts.
  • Placing extreme pressure on a child to perform.
  • Shouting, laughing, humiliating a child


Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether the child is aware of what is happening. This may include:

  • Activities that involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts.
  • Non-contact activities, such as involving children in viewing, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Within youth circus examples of Sexual abuse may include: –

  • Inappropriate sexual touching
  • Coach to youth circus member’s sexual relationship
  • Taking inappropriate images
  • Use of sexual innuendos direct or indirect
  • Displaying sexual behaviour in front of or towards children
  • Making comments about a child’s developing body which causes embarrassment or discomfort

Child sex abusers can come from any occupational, racial or religious background, and can be male or female. They are not always adults – children and young people can also behave in a sexually abusive way. Usually the abuser is a family member or someone known to the child, such as a family friend. Some individuals will target a sport or activity that allows access to children specifically to commit acts of sexual abuse. Abusers may act alone or as part of an organised group. After the abuse, they will put the child under great pressure not to tell anyone about it. They will go to great lengths to get close to children and win their trust, for example, by choosing employment that brings them into contact with children, or by pretending to be children in Internet chat rooms run for children and young people. Many cases of sexual abuse result from an abuse of that trust by the adult.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve parent or carer failing to:

  • Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment).
  • Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger.
  • Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers).
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Neglect in a circus situation might occur if a teacher or coach fails to ensure children are safe or exposes them to unduly cold temperatures at their training venue or not acting to stop young people from doing things put them at risk of injury.

Within circus examples of neglect abuse may include: –

  • Not providing suitable sustenance during training sessions
  • Dirty and dangerous equipment or environment
  • Inadequate coaching supervision


Bullying and harassment occurs where repeated deliberate actions by one or more people cause hurt to an individual or group and where it is difficult for the bullied person(s) to prevent or deal with this person’s actions. The damage inflicted by bullying can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to young people, to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, causes them significant harm (including self-harm).

‘Kidscape’ (www.kidscape.org.uk), a UK charity established specifically to prevent bullying and child sexual abuse, defines bullying as the use of aggression with the intention of hurting another person that results in pain and distress to the victim. 8

It splits bullying into the following categories:

  • Emotional – being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding belongings, threatening gestures)
  • Physical – pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence • Racist – racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
  • Sexual – unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
  • Homophobic – because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality • Verbal – name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumors, teasing
  • Cyber – All areas of internet, such as email & internet chat room misuse, mobile threats by text messaging & calls, misuse of associated technology, i.e. camera & video facilities

Bullying can occur between:

  • An adult and young person.
  • A young person and young person.
  • A parent and own child.

Bullying by children or adults on children will never be be tolerated. Bullying may take many forms including physical, verbal, or through the written word, and may be conducted in person or through the actions of another person/other people. Cyber bullying is now recognised as a serious concern and must be dealt with in line with the Anti Bullying policy.


  • Create an open environment and provide adequate supervision at all times
  • Encourage children to speak out and share any concerns with the person in charge, or other responsible adults.
  • Take all signs or allegations of possible bullying seriously.

Responding to victims of Bullying

  • Anyone becoming aware that a child is being bullied should offer the child reassurance and try to gain the child’s trust.
  • Explain that someone in authority may need to be informed.
  • Keep accurate records of what happened together with names of those involved and any action taken.
  • Report suspicions or concerns to the person in charge.

Confronting the Bully(ies)

  • Talk to the bully(ies), explain the situation and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their actions.
  • Seek an apology from the bully(ies) to the victim.
  • Inform the bully’s parents.
  • Insist that any borrowed items are returned to the victim.
  • Impose sanctions or disciplinary action if necessary.
  • Report and record all actions taken.
  • Provide support for the victim and his/her circus trainer.
  • Encourage the bully(ies) to change his/her behaviour. 9


Supporting bullied children

  • Children who have been bullied will often need support to deal with the impact of bullying. This may include having a specific person to whom concerns can be raised in specific situation or providing a “buddy”

. • They will need to be supported from external people to the club for example from parents, other relatives and sometimes school teachers.

  • The company may consider holding a reconciliation meeting to help address the issues between the bully and the bullied young person. The company can advise the child or parent to contact Kidscape, a charity that offers support to bullied children as well as day courses to help them deal with bullying and its after effects including how to avoid being bullied in future at www.kidscape.org.uk.


A relationship of trust exists where an adult, by virtue of their role, is in a position of power or influence over a young person. Although an adult engaging in any sexual activity with a young person under the age of sixteen (in Northern Ireland the age of consent is 17) would be committing a criminal offence, in some circumstances, engaging in sexual activity within a relationship of trust is also a criminal offence. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 introduced the offence of abuse of a position of trust. The Act set out a series of occupations to which the legislation applied, which was extended in the Sexual Offences Act (2003). The legislation states that it is a criminal offence for a person in a position of trust to engage in any sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 with whom they have a relationship of trust, irrespective of the whether the young person has ostensibly consented to the relationship. It is acknowledged that in some situations a shared attraction may develop between two people within a relationship of trust. In such circumstances, it is essential that the individual who holds the position of trust behaves in an open manner, makes Safeguarding Officer aware of the situation, and resigns from this position of trust if the parties involved wish the relationship to develop beyond the existing professional one. This will ensure that the previous power differential is not a factor in any future relationship. It is strongly advised that the young person is given an opportunity for reflection before any sexual relationship develops.


Poor Practice can be split into a number of groupings. These include: –

  • Practices that may be on the fringe of abuse and/or if repeated again and again, would amount to abuse. Most of the examples are linked to emotional abuse.

Examples include: – Name-calling – Excessive monitoring of weight – Constant criticism of a child – Exerting excessive pressure – Forcing a child to do something against their will – Use of inappropriate language – Harassment.

Breaches of Circus MASH Safeguarding policy and procedures:

Examples include:

  • Inadequate safeguarding arrangements
  • Providing inadequate supervision and/or care
  • Failure to respond appropriately to concerns
  • Expelling anyone from the club who raises a concern
  • Excluding parents from observing or asking questions about training
  • Inappropriate use of photographic equipment or materials.

Breaches of recognised best practice in circus training:

  • Providing coaching or running a session without another responsible adult present
  • Exceeding level of competence and/or qualification
  • Employing practices that are inappropriate for the stage of psychological and physical development of the individual
  • Excessive training or competition
  • Inappropriate/excessive supporting or stretching.

Practices that may be carried out with the best intentions but that fall into a category of behaviours that are used by people who sexually abuse children to ‘groom’ their victim: Examples include:

  • Offering to give a child a lift home alone
  • Giving a child gifts
  • Having unnecessary physical contact with young people e.g. excessive handling/supporting, cuddling, kissing, ‘friendly’ taps etc
  • Socialising/having friendships with young people outside training.

Practices that are known to be significant risk factors in cases of abuse and can never to be condoned:

  • Taking children to your home or other secluded place unaccompanied by others.
  • Engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games.
  • Sharing a room with a child.
  • Allowing or engaging in any form of inappropriate touching.
  • Making sexually suggestive remarks.
  • Reducing a child to tears as a form of control.
  • Allowing children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Allowing allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
  • Carrying out personal care for a child that the child can do unaided
  • Departing from the premises without first supervising the safe dispersal of the children. – Abusing a privileged position of power or trust.
  • Resorting to bullying tactics, or verbal abuse.
  • Causing a participant to lose self-esteem by embarrassing, humiliating or undermining the individual.
  • Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from other adults.

It is essential that everyone challenges poor practice, even where there is a belief that the motives of an individual are well meaning. Failure to challenge poor practice can lead to an environment where abuse is more likely to remain unnoticed. CircusMASH accepts that on occasion there may be unplanned situations where the unexpected does occur, which leads to a responsible person being alone with a child.

In addition, situations arise where a young person may:

  • become distressed
  • be accidentally hurt by someone else
  • misunderstand/misinterpret something that has been said or done
  • appear to become sexually aroused in these situations, the individual involved must report the incident immediately to the welfare officer or a senior colleague and compile a brief written report of the event. The parent should also be informed of any significant incident.

Responding to allegations/suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working with CircusMASH, in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns by reporting these to the appropriate officer or the appropriate authorities. CircusMASH will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a vulnerable individual.

Reporting procedure

If you witness or suspect any behavior that may be deemed inappropriate you must report it to CircusMASH Directors immediately. Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation.

  1. Criminal investigation.
  2. A child protection investigation
  3. A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.

The results of the police and child investigation may well influence and inform the disciplinary investigation, but all available information will be used to reach a decision.


If a child indicates that he/she is being abused, or information is received which gives rise to concern that the child may be being abused, the person receiving the information should:

  • Stay calm and ensure that the child is safe and feels safe.
  • Listen carefully to what is said, allowing the child to continue at his/her own pace.
  • Explain that it is likely the information will have to be shared with others – do not promise to keep secrets.
  • Keep questions to a minimum to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said.
  • Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in revealing the information.
  • Show and tell the child that what he/she says is being taken seriously and recognise any difficulties inherent in interpreting what the child says.
  • Tell the child what will be done next, and with whom the information will be shared.
  • Record in writing what was said using the child’s own words as soon as possible. The following information should be recorded: Dates and times, any names mentioned, to whom the information was given, information that fact, hearsay or opinion should be notes as such.  Ensure the record is signed and dated make a record.

If the child indicates that he/she does not wish others to be informed about the allegations, carefully and tactfully explain the reasons why it may be in the interests of everybody if the matter is referred to the appropriate person or department (i.e. Children’s Social Care Services/Social Services). The person to whom the disclosure is made is presented with a great responsibility and it is advisable, if there is any uncertainty, to seek advice on how to deal with the issue, from Children’s Social Care Services or NSPCC.

Procedures are also outlined in our Child Protection Policy.



Whistleblowing is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. Officially this is called ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.

A worker can report things that aren’t right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties, including:

  • someone’s health and safety is in danger
  • damage to the environment
  • a criminal offence
  • the company isn’t obeying the law covering up wrongdoing.

If as a company member you have safeguarding concerns then disclosure procedures outlined above and within the Child and vulnerable adult protection Policy. If you have any concerns about CircusMASHand its work, and are not getting the necessary support or resolve from your project line management structure or your issues directory concern it then these should be raised with Joe Fearn. If Joe Fearn isn’t available or the issue raised concerns Joe Fearn, the issue should be raised with Sarah Smith. All employees are protected by the Public Disclosure Act.

Further advice on this can be found at Public Concern at (PcaW) Work website | http://www.pcaw.co.uk/  020 7404 6609 13

Safe Recruitment and training of staff/volunteers

CircusMASH recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse vulnerable individuals and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable individuals are prevented from working with children and/or vulnerable individuals. All staff and volunteers will receive a safeguarding induction at the start of their time with CircusMASH. This induction will help them to:

  • Analyze their own practice against established good practice to ensure their practice will not result in allegations being made.
  • Recognise their responsibilities to report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely and effectively with children and vulnerable individuals.

A criminal background check or a Disclosure and Barring certifcate a DBS check  will be undertaken for all new CircusMASH team members and volunteers. All staff and volunteers will be required to return a signed copy of this policy to ensure that they understand it’s content.

Circus MASH recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse vulnerable individuals in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with vulnerable individuals.

Pre-selection checks must include the following:

  • All volunteers/staff should complete an application process. The application will elicit information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
  • All freelance Youth Circus tutors are required to have a DBS certificate and provide a copy of this. It is also compulsory that they are registered with the online update service and they must provide a reference, so the company verifier can do regular checks.
  • All volunteers and PAYE employees the company will undertake DBS checks and certification for them.
  • Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
  • Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo).

Interview and induction:

All employees (and volunteers) will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations.

All employees and volunteers should receive an induction, during which:

  • A check should be made that the application form has been completed in full (including sections on criminal records and self-disclosures).
  • Their qualifications should be substantiated.
  • The company Code of Conduct go through and signed.
  • The job requirements and responsibilities should be clarified.
  • Child protection procedures are explained, and training needs are identified. This document should be distributed for reading and a signed copy kept on file.
  • They should sign up to the organisation’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection policy.


  • In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process includes training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
  • Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is not likely to result in allegations being made.
  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely and effectively with vulnerable individuals.
  • In the case of volunteers, a volunteer agreement signed.


These guidelines are for overnight stays within the UK. For trips aboard there will be additional guidelines.

A consent form must be completed by parents or guardians for overnight stays, it is essential that parents or carers complete the consent form and the details of the activity must be specified. No child should be allowed to participate in such activities if a consent form has not been completed and returned to the group leader.

Parents must be given full details of the event, including:

  • Aims and objectives of the activity,
  • Date and duration, details of the venue including arrangements for accommodation and supervision,
  • Travel arrangements,
  • Name of group leaders and contact numbers,
  • Information about financial, medical and insurance arrangements.

A full risk assessment must be completed and should be given to parents and carers. CircusMASH will ensure the group has adequate and appropriate insurance cover.

  • There will always be a fully trained in safeguarding and child protection Welfare Officer on any trip.
  • There will always be separate sleeping arrangements for youth circus leaders and young people.
  • There will be separate accommodation for youth participants over 18 years old and those under 16 years.
  • All Youth Circus accommodation will be separate for males and females.
  • Any parents may only share accommodation with their own children.
  • We will ensure that there are two waking night staff to regularly patrol the accommodation and prevent unauthorised entry.
  • We will ensure accommodation is safe and secure (fire exits, emergency procedures etc.).
  • Every trip will have a Welfare Officer whose main concern is with the children’s welfare.
  • Addition to this the ratio to children over the age of 11 years will be 1 Youth Circus trainer to every 8 children.
  • The youth circus trainer must be fully trained, hold an updated DBS certificate, where possible be a registered Chaperone, be fully aware and follow the companies Child protection and Safeguarding procedures.
  • Rules regarding the trip will be agreed beforehand between trainers and children.
  • The trainers and youth circus participants will have a daily meeting to discuss any issues or problems.
  • There should always be a qualified first aider and a full and up to date first aid box
  • If any of the group have asthma or diabetes, ensure that appropriate club members are aware of how to deal with any situation.
  • Ensure you have the following insurance in place:
  • Public and civil liability
  • Vehicle
  • Breakdown cover (whether it’s a car or minibus)
  • All members of the group including parents and trainer will receive a detailed pack of all details of the trip.
  • Room shares will be arranged before the trip with parents and children informed.


  • The company will check that the supplied has the correct insurance, MOT, working seat beats and the correct roadside recovery.
  • That the driver has the correct licence.
  • Pick up points will be organised so that the driver will not be alone with any children or young people.
  • An additional risk assessment will be done when taking a group on public transport.


  • Ensuring that parents and children are aware of the role and responsibilities
  • Reporting any incidents in line with CircusMASH reporting procedures (Welfare Officers should have access to all emergency contact numbers)
  • Taking a child-focused approach and responding to the needs of children during the event working in partnership with other staff to resolve any welfare related issues that need to be addressed at the event
  • Assisting the event organizer with the implementation of procedures for photography and the use of video cameras at the event and managing any issues that arise out of these policies.
  • Supervision and coordination of accommodation at the event
  • Leading the supervising of the Youth Circus participants during non-circus training periods
  • Ensuring all participants fully understand their responsibilities in relation to the code of conduct



The importance of detailed planning and preparation to secure the success and safety of a visit, journey or activity cannot be overstated. Such planning is a prime responsibility for any party leader and will depend to a large extent on the leader being able to anticipate all the potential risks, dangers and difficulties which could arise, and then making plans to avoid and eliminate them as far as possible.

It is vital that planning and preparation take place as early as possible to ensure ample time for all the procedures to be completed before the visit.


All employees/ staff have a duty of care as laid down in Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which states that whilst at work, every employee must take care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions. Youth Circus Trainers are said to have a particular duty of care in “loco parentis”, meaning that, a trainer is expected to exercise the same standard of care as a reasonably careful and responsible parent. A circus trainer must therefore take all reasonable steps to ensure that every child under his or her control is not exposed to unacceptable risk. Indeed the duties of trainers in this regard will often go beyond what is normally expected of a parent. This is particularly true in the area of sporting and hazardous activities, where youth circus leaders can be expected to be more fully aware of the potential dangers to youth circus trainers. This also in the case of pupils who are 18 or 19 years of age even though they are no longer regarded as minors.

The youth circus has a clearly defined policy on dealing with smoking and alcohol or drug abuse by pupils/young people taking part in a visit of any kind.

Any child or young person found smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs the substance will be confiscated and the parents will be informed. An incident report will be written with close monitoring and review of the situation.

The use of any controlled drug other than under medical supervision is illegal and strictly forbidden. Disciplinary Action will be taken against any employee believed to be abusing drugs or other substances whilst on Youth Circus trips. Some proprietary or prescribed medicines may have a detrimental effect on the ability of employees to carry out certain tasks. Employees must inform management if such medicines are being taken so that a decision can be made as to their suitability to accompany a group.

The risk assessment carried out by the group leader prior to the trip will have identified the number and skills of employees necessary to supervise the group for various activities and at different times through the day and night. At least this number of employees must respond to group needs during both normal circumstances and in case of emergency.

  • must be available at the required time;
  • must not consume alcohol under any circumstances.

To avoid confusion and, if appropriate a written report should be prepared naming employees who are “on duty” and the time they are required. Employees should be informed of this rota. If at times extra staff are deemed to be “off duty” these staff may consume alcohol but in moderation.

CircusMASH Youth Circus has a clearly defined policy on dealing with smoking. The general policy of the Youth Circus discourages smoking.

  • All smoking is prohibited for Youth Circus members.
  • Employees or volunteers must not buy cigarettes or give them etc for young people under the age of 18.
  • Employees or volunteers should not smoke in front of children. Adults may withdraw at agreed times in order to smoke always ensuring that adequate supervision remains for the group.
  • Youth Circus tutors and volunteers must not smoke in front of Youth Circus and must take steps to not smell of smoke.


    • CircusMASH will avoid using children’s names (first name or surname) in photograph captions.
    • Use a parental permission form to obtain consent for a child to be photographed/videoed.
    • Verbal permission will be obtained by children and young people to take photos and to use their image.
    • We will consider the use of images of children that they are suitable dress to reduce the risk of inappropriate use and be aware some activities in circus present a much greater risk of potential misuse.
    • The use of images of children on the company website will not be accompanied by personal information, eg, this is X who likes to juggling – could be used by an individual to learn more about a child prior to grooming them for abuse.
    •  There is written expectations of professional photographers or the press who are invited to an event, making clear the company’s expectations of them in relation to child protection.
    • Photographers will not have unsupervised access to children.
    •  We will not approve photography sessions outside the event or at a child’s home without suitable supervision.
    •  During showings parents and audience members will be asked not to post any images onto social media. An announcement will be made at the start of youth circus or community performances.
    •  Photos of children will be stored in a secure way. In line with GDPR legislation.
    • On occasions images are used on our website specific permission is sort from the child and parents. Any image will be immediately removed if requested.
    • Do not use images that can appear staged and potentially provocative.
    •  Avoid using images that appear to focus unnecessarily directly on the groin area in movements where legs are in a split position.
    • Always use a parental consent form to request the use of a child’s image for publication. The parent should be encouraged to discuss the matter with their child before signing a consent form.
    • Photos must not be stored on personnel devices.

The use of video equipment can be a valuable aid to coaching. The guidelines below should be implemented to safeguard against inappropriate practice.

  • Ensure that the performers and their parent/carer are aware of the purpose of the filming as a coaching aid and consent is obtained.
  • Ensure that the person designated for participants’ welfare and one other responsible and approved adult is present to ensure that performers are protected against inappropriate filming.
  • Care should be taken to securely store the video materials to avoid inappropriate usage.


Supporting and shaping the Youth Circus participant is an essential part of coaching circus in that it helps the participant to understand shapes, movement patterns and complex skills, but also reduces the risk of injury due to a fall or error in performance.

Detailed guidance on appropriate supporting techniques is provided as part of ongoing CircusMASH training course. The key points on safe spotting and manual support are:

  • the trainer must ensure that support is only used when necessary and “over-handling” is avoided, however;
  • The circus trainer must always be alert to the possibility of performance errors or anxiety, which may increase the risk of injury;
  • supporting techniques must not inhibit performance;
  • physical contact should not be invasive of sensitive areas of the body i.e. genital areas, buttocks or breasts. Infrequent non-intentional physical contact can arise out of error on the performer or coach’s part. Such situations should not be ignored and need to be acknowledged through an apology to the participant and reported to the Safeguarding Officer or head coach and parents. Any written report should be made of any incident.

If a participant or parent has any concerns, they should be raised with the Safeguarding Office. In any circumstance where abuse is suspected, Circus MASH Youth Circus reporting procedures should be followed.


There is a range of techniques and types of exercise for extending flexibility that involve the application of force. These techniques can also lead to the person applying the force coming into close proximity with the youth circus participant and having prolonged contact with areas of their body.

Circus trainers must follow the following guidelines:

  • Use slow, progressive and prolonged stretching exercises, within the “discomfort zone”, rather than what might be considered to be excessive force.
  • Avoid exercises that place the trainers and participants body in “close proximity” and might be seen as unnecessary by the less- informed parent or observer.
  • Be sensitive to how the exercise might be perceived by the parents and children.
  • Consider holding a parents’ forum to explain the flexibility training techniques, so that the parent is more aware and therefore less likely to misinterpret the techniques being used.
  • Use partner exercises with more experienced youth circus members where possible.


If Youth Circus members wish to take their training to one to one then the lesson must be booked and all organization to go through the reception team. The parents must be present at all times during the training. This is up to the age of 16 years old.


Due to Child licensing for shows we will send information about Youth Circus participants such as name, date of birth and address. This is to inform their local council safeguarding officer that they are involved in performance.

No member of CircusMASH staff or Youth Circus staff must contact a child or young person directly by phone, email or social media. All communication should be though parents or as a group forum and to the whole group never to an individual. When tutor or staff member does contact the group they must also contact another member of staff or the Safeguarding officer at the same time.

When making communication they must always relate to Youth Circus activities.

No tutor or CircusMASH member must ever accept a Youth Circus participant as a friend on Facebook or any other kind of social media.

Parents, guardians and youth circus participants will have access and have an induction to CircusMASH Child protection Policy and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. Parents are asked to make sure the children know who the companies Safeguarding Officers is.

Phillippa – email – youth@circusmash.co.uk

We aim to create an environment where children and young people are listen too. There will be communication and consultation with the Youth participants of Child Protection and Safeguarding policies and procedures.

CircusMASH Space procedures

Door Procedure and Time

The front door will remain locked throughout youth circus sessions and parents will not be permitted when this door is locked. Please look at the opening times below to see when to drop off, and collect your children.

Parents will be asked to sign children in and out at reception.


Parents have full responsibility of the child until the children/young people are taken into the circus class. The tutors then take on a duty of care. Parents are asked to always come into the building with them when dropping off.

The Youth Circus tutors have duty of care until the children are collected by the same adult that dropped them off at class. If this is a different person then the tutor must be informed of this at the drop off.

A password can be left at reception that the other person picking up must give to be able to collect the child.

External Events

There will be clear times and place where children will be drop off and pick up. So that parents/ guardians and instructors/ chaperones / welfare officer will be clear on when responsibility of children is passed over.

This process will be written into the production schedule and clearly communicated to parents and instructors.


The following information provides guidance on how to respond where a parent, for whatever reason, does not arrive at the required time to collect their child.

All parents must be advised that in the event that they are delayed for any reason, they must:

  • Contact the circus at the earliest opportunity
  • Provide clear guidance on what they wish the company to do e.g. consent for another parent to transport their child home.

CircusMASH Youth Circus tutors and Reception staff must:

  • The tutor has duty of care and must not leave until the parent has collected the child. This must not be transferred to the receptionist either one reception and one tutor or two Youth tutors must remain with the child. Not leaving one staff member on their own with the child.
  • A maintain a list of parent contact details and emergency numbers will be kept in reception.
  • Never leave a child or young person alone unless she/he is over 16 and then only with parent’s permission
  • Carry out appropriate assessments of situations as they arise, acknowledging that some young people aged 16 and over can go home alone if their parent is delayed.

Only young people who have had permission to leave on their own will be allowed. It is up to the Youth Circus tutor to be aware of this and reception to keep a record of this.

The CircusMASH  Staff must not

  • Take the child home or to another location.
  • Ask the child to wait in a vehicle or the spaces with them alone.
  • Send the child home with another person without permission.

If the parent is considered by the club as being unduly late, CircusMASH Staff should:

  1. Attempt to contact the parent
  2. Attempt to contact the emergency contact person nominated.
  3. If there is no reply from the emergency contact, ask the child if there is another family member who may be contacted.
  4. Wait with the young person(s) at the circus space with at least one other staff member or parents.
  5. Respond to any instructions received from the parent
  6. If no-one can be reached, contact the local police or Children’s Social Care Services to enquire about the best course of action.


Parents, who persistently fail to collect a child on time or have not arrived after a reasonable period of time and have given no prior notice or informed the circus they are delayed, may be failing to provide adequate care for their child. If the parent makes no effort to contact the club or provide reasonable explanation for the delays, the Youth Circus Safeguarding Officer and Youth Circus tutor should arrange to meet with the parent to discuss the matter. If there is no change the Safeguarding Officer should either contact the children’s team at the local Children’s Social Care Services or seek advice from the Birmingham Council Safeguarding Officer. If a parent arrives to collect a child and there is concern that the parent’s ability to take appropriate care of the child may be impaired (e.g. the parent is considered to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that she/he is unfit to drive, and/or take care of the child) the club should seek advice from the police or Children’s Social Care Service immediately.

Toilet Policy at the Centre

We use the All Saints Youth Centre toilet. There is an entrance and 3 meters from the entrance there is the toilet door. Any time that a youth member needs to the toilet they must be escorted to the outside of All Saints Youth Centre while the youth member goes in. The staff member should go no further than the entrance and wait until the youth member comes back to entrance door to escort them back. You should provide youth members with a loo pass so All Saints staff know that they are a Circusmash student. Youth MUST NOT be left to come back or go to the toilet on their own, they must be escorted to the entrance.


In the rare event that a child goes missing from the circus, the following guidelines have been devised to outline the actions that should be taken.

At the point that a child has been identified as missing the company should:

  • Ensure that other children in the group are looked after appropriately while a search for the child concerned is conducted.
  • Inform the child’s parents if they are present, or nominate an appropriate person to telephone them and advise them of the concern. Reassure them that everything is being done to locate the child.
  • Organise all available responsible adults by areas to be searched. It is best to take a short time to organise the search properly so that all places are searched fully.
  • Search the area in which the child has gone missing including changing rooms, toilets, public and private areas and the circus space grounds.
  • Request all those searching report back to a nominated adult at a specific point.
  • Make a note of the circumstances in which the child has gone missing and where he/she was last seen
  • Prepare a detailed physical description of the child, including:
  • Approximate height
  • Build
  • Hair and eye colour
  • Clothing he/she was wearing, as this will be required by the police Report the concern to the police if the search is unsuccessful.

This must happen no later than 30 minutes after the young person’s disappearance is noted, even if the search is incomplete.

  • Follow police guidance if further action is recommended and maintain close contact with the police
  • Ensure that you inform all adults involved including the parents, searchers and police if at any stage the child is located
  • Refer the concern ASAP to the Safeguarding Officer.

Implementing our policy

All staff and volunteers will receive a safeguarding induction when they start with CircusMASH. This induction will take them through all areas of our safeguarding policy and equip them with everything that they need to know to report suspicious behaviour, understand the different types of abuse and keep themselves protected. There is annual safeguarding training for all current employees and volunteers of CircusMASH.

Safeguarding Training for Staff/Volunteers

All staff who have regular one-to-one contact with students who are under the age of 18 should adhere to the following guidance to ensure safety both for themselves and the young person.

If you have any concerns or queries arising from reading this guidance please contact Joseph Fearn who is responsible for matters relating to safeguarding.

General Guidelines

  • Respect all individuals whatever their age
  • Place the safety and wellbeing of the young person first. It must be placed before any personal or organisational goals and before loyalty to friends and colleagues
  • Form appropriate relationships with young people. These should be based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Be aware of the relative powerlessness of young people compared to staff members
  • Be committed to actively preventing the exploitation and abuse of children and young people.

Guidelines for working with students under the age of 18 years

  • Conduct meetings with the student either with another staff member present or in an open environment (e.g. leave office door open and do not hold meetings when lone working)
  • If staff have a concern about a student which specifically relates to the age of an under 18 year old student, they can contact Joseph Fearn.
  • Trainers should follow guidance on signposting, consultation and referral to appropriate services if they have concerns about individual students.
  • If physical contact is necessary e.g. for demonstration purposes, ensure it takes place only with the full consent of the student and that its purpose is clear
  • Do not use touch as a form of communication, even to comfort a student who is distressed.
  • Consider implications of transporting students in your own vehicle, offer alternatives where ever possible so the student travels with peers.
  • Consider your expected behaviour in certain situations and what might be considered unacceptable, e.g. sexually suggestive comments, inappropriate language
  • Be mindful that it is a criminal offence for any person in a position of trust to engage in sexual activity with someone who is under 18
  • Remember that it is not legal for students who are under 18 to buy alcohol, and that it would not be appropriate to offer them alcohol. Planning and organisation of events involving students should take this into account.

HR policies are clearly set out and in line with relevant legislation.

∙ Policies have been reviewed to ensure compliance with legislation and good practice, for example using the resources included in the ‘Further Information’ section below.

Volunteers adhere to a clear volunteer agreement or role description. 

∙ The Agreement covers responsibilities and roles; supervision, support and training; health and safety issues; insurance issues; expenses issues.

Rules regarding the involvement of staff or volunteers with previous or current problems, including alcohol or drug misuse, are clearly set out. 

∙  The main criterion for appointments should be competence to carry out the role, whether paid or voluntary.

∙  Any additional support needs should be assessed and addressed in addition to the standard training provided to all staff/volunteers.

∙  Consideration should be given to any elements of the work that could jeopardise their recovery.

There are clear, safe recruitment processes for staff and volunteers.

∙  Staff competencies for successful programme delivery are clearly set out and are the basis of recruitment and staff development. (The resources listed below can be used to draw up a list of competencies.)

∙  There is a suitable, written recruitment and induction policy.

∙  All applicants complete an application form covering essential information.

∙  All interviews are conducted face-to-face, involve more than one interviewer and use a transparent scoring system.

∙  All applicants are required to provide two references, two pieces of identification and original copies of any essential qualifications before appointment.

∙  DBS checks and any additional necessary vetting procedures are carried out for each member of staff or volunteer engaged in regulated activity with children and young people.

New staff and volunteers are well supported and monitored.

  • All staff and volunteers receive a comprehensive induction.
  • Staff training needs on joining are assessed, and a plan put in place to address these needs.
  • Training and/or awareness raising on safeguarding children issues is provided for all staff and volunteers during their induction period.
  • Appointments are conditional on a satisfactory period of work (a probationary period for staff and a trial period for volunteers), with a review before they are confirmed in post. During this period, there is ongoing supervision and development.
  • There is effective support and supervision for all staff and volunteers.
  • Training and development needs for all staff and volunteers are identified
  • Support and supervision is regular and ongoing, and equally accessible for all staff
  • members including volunteers and part-time staff.
  • The organisation has a clear policy on safeguarding
  • The policy includes guidance on working within school’s policies on confidentiality and disclosure.
  • Any concerns raised about a child or young person’s wellbeing are shared with their school immediately.
  • It is clear that school policies take precedence when external contributors work with a class.

As part of the agreement to work with any school there is a clear understanding of and strict abidance to the school’s policies on safeguarding, confidentiality and disclosure and other relevant information.

  • The school’s policies on safeguarding, confidentiality and disclosure are obtained.
  • There is a clear understanding with the school about what they can and cannot keep confidential before beginning the session, including whether the young people need to be briefed on this and by whom.
  • There is clear understanding that potential disclosure should be shared with the ‘appropriate’ member of staff, according to agreement made prior to the visit.
  • Before working with a class, the school is asked to provide general (non-pupil- specific) relevant information about the circumstances of pupils and families, and this is taken into account in delivering the session. It is clear that a teacher or a school member of staff should be in the room at all times and in charge of classroom management and appropriate behaviour.

It is clear to schools how they can feed back comments or concerns.

  • A written complaints policy sets out how complaints will be dealt with.
  • Schools are actively encouraged to feed back comments or concerns.
  • Where possible this will be through a different person in the organisation.

CircusMASH work with freelance trainers and are paid for the delivery of classes.

For youth that are not picked up on time the trainers need to wait around until parents arrive with no payment. For youth that are not picked up on time we need to cover the trainers fees which are £5 for every 15 minutes of lateness. We understand that as a one off it may not be your fault but we are having to implement this rule as a result of continuous pick up lateness.

If you are running late please call the training space 0121 439 2530 (option 9). If you have questions please email youth@circusmash.co.uk.

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