To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that both teachers and other members of staff in early and later years provision are not adversely affected by the current childcare disqualification regime which originally covered only child minders and day care providers.
On 26 February we published ‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006’ statutory guidance for schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disqualification-under-the-childcare-act-2006.
This new guidance clarifies the circumstances in which the provisions of the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 apply to school staff. It also supports schools to take appropriate action to ensure that school staff do not work in circumstances that are in breach of those Regulations. It makes clear that where staff are disqualified schools may redeploy them or make changes to their duties. This discretion allows many of those staff affected by the Regulations to continue to work in schools while an application is made to Ofsted for a waiver of disqualification.
The childcare disqualification arrangements are not new and have never applied exclusively to child-minders and day care providers. They apply to all staff providing childcare, including in schools. These arrangements help to ensure that children in the most vulnerable age groups, those who are potentially at greatest risk, are protected regardless of the setting in which childcare is provided.
In schools they prevent staff who have been cautioned or convicted for certain serious offences, from providing childcare:
for children up to the age of five years before, during, or after school hours; and
for children aged up to eight years of age before and after school hours.
School staff are also prevented from providing childcare if they reside in a household where another person who has been cautioned or convicted for such an offence lives or is employed.
The new statutory guidance replaces the Department’s earlier advice on this subject, published in October 2014 as a supplement to ‘Keeping children safe in education’, and is a direct response to requests for additional information to help schools make appropriate and robust decisions should these matters arise.
The guidance has been developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders who have expertise and experience in child safeguarding matters, including children’s safeguarding organisations, employer representative bodies, trade unions and local authorities.