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Primary school teachers/staff ‘disqualified by association’ – does this affect you?

In October 2014, the Department for Education (DoE) published supplementary advice to schools on what are called the ‘childcare disqualification requirements’.

The requirements have been around for a number of years, and apply to registered childcare provision outside of schools, but it’s only since October 2014 that the DoE has made it clear that these also apply to primary schools, and one aspect that’s received the most attention has been the ‘disqualification by association’ part, as it includes the cautions/convictions of those that you live with.

According to the DoE, these requirements relate to people who are working in early years and later years’ childcare – essentially, childcare up to the age of 8. The requirements apply on top of what schools do in relation to enhanced DBS checks and checks against the barred lists.

This has led to primary schools asking their staff about the criminal records of those that they live with – and those that declare are often being suspended and their case being referred to Ofsted. Although there are rules around which offences this covers, there is a lot of confusion about what this means in practice, as well as what the justification is for such a system.

What we’re doing

As this is fairly new, there are a lot of unanswered questions. We’re still building a picture of how this is working in practice, and how it might be challenged. In the meantime:

  • Practical self-help information – We’ve published a brief guide which summarises how we understand this system to work
  • Policy work – We’ve put a call out for individuals who this has affected. If you’ve been directly affected by the ‘disqualification by association’ element, please let us know what’s happened to you. More details can be found in the policy section of our main website.
  • Discuss this issue – There’s an interesting discussion on our online forum about this – read and share your thoughts.


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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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