Press Release: New guidance for primary schools welcomed, but regulations still need to be scrapped

by / Friday, 27 February 2015 / Published in DBA, Latest, Press releases and comment

Following the introduction yesterday of statutory guidance by the Department of Education yesterday on disqualifications under the Childcare Act 2006, Christopher Stacey, Co-Director at Unlock, said:

“We very much welcome the new guidance. The Government has responded to a number of the issues that we, and others, had raised following their initial advice in October 2014.”

“In particular, we’re pleased that the statutory guidance makes it clear that schools should not be requiring employees covered by the regulations to disclose any spent convictions or cautions of those that live or work in the same household as them. Since the original advice, we have been inundated with people affected by confusion around this. It’s a genuine tragedy that hundreds of people have been unnecessarily suspended from their jobs because they’d been forced to disclose information that they didn’t need to. In one case, an experienced teacher was suspended from her job simply because she disclosed a theft conviction of her husband from nearly 30 years ago.”

“However, the statutory guidance is only one small step forward. How schools now apply this guidance will be important, to ensure that they treat people fairly and make it clear what they do and don’t need to disclose.”

“More importantly, serious questions still remain about the necessity of these regulations and what value they genuinely add to the protection of children. There is no reliable evidence showing that the system of ‘disqualification by association’ adds any value whatsoever, and we continue to campaign for the regulations to be scrapped from primary schools altogether.”

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 updated 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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