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Celine – How Disqualification by Association unjustly effects the lives of family members who don’t have a conviction

Celine contacted our helpline after both her son and daughter had been suspended from their teaching roles under the Disqualification by Association (DbA) requirements because they had returned to live with her.

Having recently been released from prison, Celine’s conviction was unspent and, as her children both taught under 8’s they were suspended from teaching until they’d applied for waivers from Ofsted. We provided Celine with advice regarding the DbA process.

Celine contacted us several weeks later to inform us that, as the waivers were taking such a long time to be processed, both her children had been asked to resign their positions from their schools, which they did. The children were eventually granted their waivers from Ofsted, but were unable to use them as they’d already resigned their posts and the waivers were not transferable to other schools.

At the same time as being suspended from her job at the  school, Celine’s daughter had also been suspended from a coaching job she had at a gymnastic club. Although her daughter had voluntarily disclosed her mother’s unspent conviction it didn’t appear that there was any legislation in place which meant she needed to be suspended. The gymnastic club contacted the DBS asking them to consider whether she should be put on the children’s barred list.

After a few weeks Celine let us know that her daughter had received a letter from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), informing her that after a referral they would not be placing her on the barred lists. However, despite being aware of this, the gymnastic club were not willing to reinstate her.

Celine stated:

“I have the conviction, my children don’t. If we’d known about DbA earlier my children’s career choices may have been very different or they could have elected not to live with me. My children have both been discriminated against because of my conviction, even though they have done nothing wrong themselves.”



This case demonstrates just how unfair DbA is, leading to people who do not have convictions being prevented from working with children and families suffering months of stress and worry.

In May 2016 Unlock made a submission to the Department of Education’s consultation process setting out the reasons why we believed the DbA requirement was ineffective and should be scrapped. We’re awaiting a government response to that consultation, setting out how they plan to proceed.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

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

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