Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Vetting and barring

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ASCL and six other school leaders' associations sent a letter to Ed Balls in early December detailing concerns with the excessive bureaucracy and unintended consequences of the new vetting and barring scheme.

Following the letter, the secretary of state responded by letter and offered a meeting with ministers. In addition, Sir Roger Singleton, who was commissioned by the DCSF to report on the vetting and barring scheme, also had a discussion with John Dunford. In Sir Roger's report published the following week, many of the points raised in our letter were addressed.

In particular, 'frequent' contact is now defined as weekly and young people aged 16-18 are not required to register. The report states that private arrangements between parents and friends should continue to remain outside the scheme. However, where an organisation makes the decisions on which adults should work with their children then the requirement to register will apply.

This still leaves some uncertainty around foreign exchange host families but another letter from the DCSF copied to ASCL provides some clarification on that point.

While it refers specifically to the regulations for independent schools, the letter also may help to reassure maintained school members. In essence, the DCSF is of the view that host families are not 'working in a school' so are out of scope of the regulations.

It stresses that there is currently no absolute requirement for schools to go through CRB disclosure with host families if they are satisfied that the other checks they are making are sufficient. Please note that this is temporary advice and will be superseded by the next version of Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education guidance.

To read the letters and get more detail on the vetting and barring scheme, go to www.ascl.org.uk/Home/Members_Area/Guidance/Child_Protection

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