After nearly four years of lobbying by NAHT, the Department for Education (DfE) has finally announced it will amend the 2006 Childcare Act so that school staff will no longer be at risk of being disqualified by association from working with children up to eight years old.
While the provisions will remain for those working with children in domestic settings, NAHT's campaign to make the case that the provisions were unnecessary for school settings has finally born fruit.
When the DfE announced in the autumn of 2014 that it deemed the regulations did apply to schools, we were inundated with concern from members who had to apply for waivers for their staff or themselves if someone in their household had ever been convicted or cautioned for a relevant offence.
Staff were suspended while the waivers from Ofsted were applied for, and careers were damaged as immaterial personal histories had to be shared with school leaders and governing bodies. NAHT pushed DfE for guidance to make it clear that there was no need to suspend staff while a waiver was being sought, and we met with ministers and officials to get them to understand that these regulations were not suitable to school settings where the person presenting a risk would not be present. In 2016, DfE consulted on the options, but changes of ministers and priorities delayed a decision.
Finally, our lobbying and common sense has won through, and a new statutory guidance was published to support the amended regulations, which means from 1 September 2018, disqualification by association will no longer apply to school settings.
First published 04 July 2018