Friday Update – 5 December 2014

This week we highlight potential Department for Education consultations which would make changes to regulations affecting Governors and new rules barring certain people from working with the under 8s

POTENTIAL CONSULTATIONS ON CHANGES TO REGULATIONS                                                        The Department for Education is considering launching consultations on several changes to regulations as follows:

  •  to require all governors to have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks;
  •  to allow Governing bodies to set individual terms of office for governors;
  •  to remove the veto enjoyed by Foundation governors of voluntary controlled schools on amending the Instrument of Government;
  • to require maintained schools to publish their Governors’ Register of Interests on their websites.

If these go through they would come into effect on 1 June 2015, apart from the requirement on DBS checks, which would be deferred to 1 September.

NEW RULES BARRING CERTAIN PEOPLE FROM WORKING WITH CHILDREN UNDER 8 YEARS OF AGE  
In October the Department for Education published Keeping Children Safe in Education: Childcare disqualification requirements –supplementary advice.  This reiterated previous stipulations that people who had been convicted of, or cautioned for, various offences relating to children were barred from providing or managing any form of childcare for children under the age of eight.  However, this provision also extends to anyone “living in the same household where another person who is disqualified lives or works”.  This “disqualification by association” means that anyone whose partner or relative living with them that has been convicted or cautioned would be barred.

Schools will have been conducting the requisite checks on staff as part of their statutory safeguarding procedures, but might now want to check with existing staff and new staff whether the “by association” rule applies to them.  The DfE’s advice is for schools to ask staff to “complete and sign a declaration which would help identify those caught by the ‘by association’ requirement”.

This guidance only refers to staff and does not state that the restriction applies to Governors.