Press release – Charity for people with convictions calls for “ridiculous” ‘disqualification’ regulations for primary schools to be urgently reviewed

by / Tuesday, 20 January 2015 / Published in DBA, Press releases and comment

In late November 2014, the Independent reported “teachers to be barred for living with offenders under new rules.” This followed advice issued by the Department of Education a month earlier.

Commenting on the impact of this news, Christopher Stacey, Co-Director of Unlock, today said: “We are very concerned about these regulations. There is very little logic to why they should apply to primary schools.”

“They were intended to apply to people working in roles like home-based childminders, where partners may come into contact with children, but forcing these onto primary schools, on top of existing measures that they have towards safeguarding, makes no sense. It is an expensive, bureaucratic system that will do very little to protect children.”

“The regulations have clearly come as a surprise to thousands of people working in primary schools. Schools themselves seem unclear of how the regulations work, with many asking existing staff and new employees to make very broad declarations about not only their criminal record, but also of those that they live with. This has led to hundreds of people making declarations and being suspended as a result, where they have otherwise been working for many years with no problems.”

“These disclosures potentially put the jobs of thousands of people in jeopardy – for both those with old/minor criminal records where the school has decided to employ them, and for those working in schools where they live with somebody with a criminal record. Their fate is then in the hands of Ofsted, who have given little information on how they will be dealing with these types of cases, and who now have a backlog, meaning peoples livelihoods are put on hold.”

“We are pleased to see that a number of Unions are also speaking out about this, and we urge the Government to reconsider their advice to primary schools. We’ll be doing all that we can to support the legal challenges that are already under way to put a stop to this ridiculous situation.”

END

Notes to editors

  1. Press/media contact: Christopher Stacey, Co-Director, christopher.stacey@unlock.org.uk / 07557 676433
  2. Unlock is an independent award-winning charity, providing trusted information, advice and support for people with criminal convictions. Our staff and volunteers combine professional training with personal experience to help others overcome the long-term problems that having a conviction can bring. Our knowledge and insight helps us to work with government, employers and others, to change policies and practices to create a fairer and more inclusive society so that people with convictions can move on in their lives.
  3. Our website is www.unlock.org.uk.
  4. For more information on our policy work on this, click here.
  5. For practical self-help information on this, we’ve published a brief guide here.
  6. To discuss this issue on our online forum, click here to read and share your thoughts.
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