Consultation opens on changes to disqualification by association arrangements – Friday 6 May 2016

This week I draw your attention to the new Government consultation on changing the childcare disqualification arrangements in schools and non-domestic registered settings, the removal of the role of the schools mental health champion and the extension of the EEF’s families of schools toolkit which now includes all primary schools in England.

CONSULTATION ON CHANGING THE CHILDCARE DISQUALIFICATION ARRANGEMENTS IN SCHOOLS AND NON-DOMESTIC REGISTERED SETTINGS
Currently, a childcare worker can be disqualified because someone who lives or works in their household is disqualified – this is known as disqualification ‘by association’. Disqualification by association was introduced by the Government with the intention of preventing an individual from working with young children, where the individual may be under the influence of a person. However, in response to concerns raised about the fairness and proportionality of the existing arrangements the DfE has today opened a consultation on three separate options for changing the arrangements in schools and non-domestic registered settings. These are:

  • Option 1 – remove disqualification by association in schools and non-domestic registered settings
  • Option 2 – retain disqualification by association, but introduce a new right to make representations to Ofsted before the disqualification takes effect
  • Option 3 – retain disqualification by association, but reduce its scope and introduce a new right to make representations to Ofsted before the disqualification takes effect

If you would like to respond to the consultation you can do so using this link until Friday 1 July 2016.

SCHOOLS MENTAL-HEALTH CHAMPION REMOVED
It was announced this week that the DfE’s role of mental-health champion for schools in England has been removed. Natasha Devon who was appointed last August used a Headteachers’ conference last week to highlight the level of mental strain being put on pupils. She described the rigorous testing and academic pressure children faced as “detrimental” to their mental health. The DfE has denied the role was axed to silence criticism, indicating an independent NHS task force report published in February had recommended that a cross-government mental health champion be created. A DfE spokesperson commented that for this reason, and to avoid confusion, they had reconsidered the department’s own role.

EEF EXPANDING FAMILIES OF SCHOOLS TOOLKIT TO INCLUDE EVERY PRIMARY SCHOOL IN ENGLAND
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has now extended its families of schools toolkit to include all primary schools in the country. The toolkit groups schools into “families” that share similar characteristics (such as similar prior attainment, eligibility for free school meals and the number of pupils who speak English as an additional language). The aim is to facilitate collaboration between those schools facing similar challenges. Launching the toolkit, the EEF emphasised that there can be big variation in terms of pupil attainment between schools with the same characteristics.

The families of schools toolkit is free to use and does not require login details. Please click here to access the toolkit.