New guidance from the Department for Education provides changes to the 'disqualification by association' rules

Article

22 November, 2018

Government guidance issued by the Department for Education came into force at the beginning of the new academic year changing the "disqualification by association" rules. From September, staff working with young children in schools will no longer need to apply to Ofsted for a waiver if they live with anyone with spent convictions for certain types of crime.

The "disqualification by association" requirements were originally included in the Childcare Act 2006. Guidance issued by the Department for Education in October 2014 confirmed that the rules should apply to schools.

The rules had previously been controversial as they were felt by some to result in teachers being unnecessarily suspended from work through no fault of their own. A change to the rule was first proposed in a 2016 consultation, and after a two-year campaign the Department for Education has made the requested change.

Schools will no longer be required to apply for a waiver for staff living with anyone with the relevant spent convictions as the new guidance has confirmed that the rules should only apply to those providing childcare in a domestic setting. As a result of the change, schools should no longer make enquiries with staff regarding the cautions or convictions of anyone living or working in their household. Schools should review their staff and recruiting policies and make any necessary adjustments to accommodate the change.

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