A consultation has been launched by the Department for Education into the “disqualification by association” rules for schools and childcare providers – which have led to staff being banned from the classroom because of offences committed by relatives, spouses and flatmates.
The move comes after delegates of the NAHT headteachers' union voted in favour of continuing a campaign to exclude schools from the legislation last week.
At the NAHT's annual conference in Birmingham on Sunday, union member Judith Slott called it a “gross intrusion of privacy” and said it “does not add anything to protect the children in our schools”.
Ms Slott, the proposer of the motion, added that the law had caused “unnecessary embarrassment and distress” to members, with them having to disclose personal information to governing bodies.
“We need to get this changed," she said. "Although the guidance has improved, the regulations still stand. We need to keep fighting to get those removed [so they do] not apply to schools.”
Fairness and proportionality
The rules were brought in for childminders and nurseries in 2009. But, since October 2014, the Department for Education has insisted that they should also be applied to staff at primary schools.
The Department for Education said it will look into removing the regulation following concerns "about the fairness and proportionality of these arrangements on childcare workers in schools and other non-domestic registered settings".
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “NAHT has been at the forefront of organisations calling on the government to look again at this legislation.
“The disqualification by association rules were designed for childcare providers only, and add nothing to the robust safeguarding procedures already in schools.
“We thank the government for listening to NAHT concerns on this important issue, and look forward to submitting evidence to help make the system work better for school leaders.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “The current rules around disqualification by association can create significant and sometimes unnecessary challenges for early years providers, and so we warmly welcome the move to consult with the sector on a fairer regulatory system.”
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