The Department for Education has released its draft update to the statutory guidance regarding disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006. The guidance is to come into force on 31 August 2018. The updated guidance changes the current position in relation to schools and nurseries. From 31 August, schools and nurseries should no longer ask their staff questions about the cautions or convictions of someone living or working in their household.

Under the current regime, schools and nurseries must ensure that they have undertaken checks to satisfy themselves that individuals seeking to be employed or work in these settings are not disqualified by being associated with another who would be disqualified. A change in the law has resulted in the guidance being reviewed and updated to make the position clearer. This change has removed the requirement for schools and nurseries to check if an individual is disqualified by association. Disqualification by association will continue to apply for individuals providing and working in childcare in domestic settings (e.g. from a childminder’s home).

The new guidance changes the current position for all schools where staff work with:

  • under-fives; and/or
  • under-eights in before and after school settings

What do the changes mean for schools?

The changes mean that schools are no longer required to establish whether a member of staff (or prospective member of staff) is disqualified by association.

It is important that schools review their staffing policies and safer recruitment procedures ahead of the change. They should also make appropriate changes to reflect the new guidance and ensure those involved in recruitment are aware of the updated position.

Our schools team is available to advise and assist with any queries or policy work that schools require.