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Aishah – University removes Disqualification by Association (DbA) form form their application process.

Our helpline was contacted by a lady who was extremely concerned about a form her daughter had received following her university application.

The lady explained that her daughter had applied for a teacher training degree and had been asked to confirm that nobody she lived with had any unspent convictions which would mean that she was disqualified from teaching (disqualification by association).

Following a Department of Education (DoE) consultation in 2016, the government announced that it was scrapping ‘disqualification by association’ in July 2018. We immediately contacted the DoE and raised our concerns that this particular university was still using disqualification by association as a way of rejecting applicants from its teacher training course. The DoE agreed to contact the university advising them to withdraw the disqualification by association (DbA) form immediately.

We were subsequently informed by the DoE that the university had withdrawn the form and any reference to DbA. The university had also contacted everybody who had been sent the form asking them to ignore it as it had been sent in error. Anybody who had completed and returned the form was told that it would be destroyed and disclosure of any information would be ignored.


This case demonstrates how universities can be unaware that legislation has been amended or ‘scrapped’ resulting in them continuing to seek information which is no longer relevant or required from an applicant.

By highlighting this issue with the DoE we were able to ensure that this university is now fully compliant with the new legislation but also altering the DoE to the fact that other universities may also be doing the same thing.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s casework.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

Published January 2020.

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