Disqualification by Association
Please note this guidance only applies to staff who work with children up to the age of 8 years.
This link will take you to additional guidance with regard to new responsibilities for schools responsible for childcare of children up to the Age of 8 years under the Childcare Act 2006 and Childcare Disqualification Regulations 2009. There is now an additional onus to ask staff who work with children up to the age of 8 to disclose information with regard to a person who lives or works in the same household as them ‘Disqualification by Association’.
This link takes you to a form which enables you to collect this data for all staff both existing and new staff as they join. If anyone discloses any information this has to be reported to OfSTED within 14 days of notification for them to decide whether the individual should be disqualified from working with children due to their association with this individual. We have also asked additional questions of the DfE concerning this and thought the answers may also be useful to you:-
- The guidance would appear to only apply to checking staff directly involved in care or the management of early year and up to children age 8. Would the school have the right to ask all employees the question as to those living in their household e.g. caretakers/office staff, as well as those directly involved in care? The concern is that within a school all staff are in a position of trust and likely to come into direct contact with the children.
There is not a one size fits all approach. The guidance is that if staff are going to come into contact with children within the school and are in a position of trust then they should be asked the question about those living in their household. (If a school was split on different sites and some members of staff would never go over to the other site where the younger children were, then you would not ask the question) The advice was that schools would need to assess likeliness of employee coming into contact and being seen in a position of trust, therefore if this applies to all employees then ask all employees.
- Provision of information on those living in the same household – For those living in a shared house e.g. student households, would they be expected to ask their housemates the question as to any convictions (which the individual is unlikely to be completely unaware of)?
The definition of household is those living under the same address, however this mainly concerns those who the employee has a personal relationship with that may cause them to be influenced. In a family household then this would be considered all individuals. If however an employee is living in a shared house (more and more common for teachers in the London area) they would not be expected to ask all housemates about their convictions.
The question is around whether to the best of their knowledge anyone living in their household has any child related conviction (for example, if it turns out they were completely unaware the person sharing a kitchen has a previous conviction for an offence against a child and had answered honestly then they will not be penalised for this as genuinely unaware. If something like this happened the employee would need to be disclose this to the school as soon as aware.).