DfE revises disqualification rules


DfE revises disqualification rules after union pressure

Pressure from education unions has persuaded the Department for Education to revise its statutory guidance on the application of the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009.

The advice on “disqualification by association” was clarified in February, after a successful legal challenge by the National Union of Teachers over previous DfE advice issued in October 2014.

The National Association of Headteachers had also raised concerns that the original measures were “disproportionate” and welcomed the changes.

The revised guidance states:

  • in a school setting, only staff providing early years provision during school hours and those providing later years provision outside school hours fall within the scope of the Childcare Act
  • it is not necessary for schools to ask staff to complete a self-declaration form. They may use other, less intrusive means to determine whether a member of staff is or may be disqualified by association
  • employers should avoid asking for “unrelated or spent convictions of household members”.

The NUT is campaigning to remove schools from the ambit of the legislation. Meanwhile it is advising employers not to apply intrusive and unnecessary processes to staff.

The original advice had directed that while a waiver application was being considered, individuals must not continue to work in early and later years settings.

Teachers who were disqualified from working in schools because of an offence committed by a relative, spouse or flatmate will now be able to return to work.

Staff will now be able to remain in school while their waiver application is being considered.

See the new DfE guidance here.