Earlier this week I wrote about the ludicrous decision of Manor Community College in Cambridge to ban all non-CRB checked visitors to the school. At the time, I noted the following quote from the head teacher: "Ofsted makes the rules up, not me, and a lot of schools have failed their inspections for not safeguarding pupils." Well, it seems he's not the only one exasperated by the government's safeguarding body.
Today the BBC reports that a number of 'school leaders' – ranging from the Independent Schools Association to the National Association of Head Teachers – have written to Children's Secretary Ed Balls to call for a review of the new vetting and barring scheme, which the BBC claims could affect up to 11m people. As they report:
The letter, from the seven main representative organisations for school and college leaders, says they take very seriously their duty to protect youngsters but the newly introduced system is "disproportionate to risk".
The school leaders say there will be a reduction in the support of parent volunteers in schools, for example for school plays and fund raising, as a result.
They also foresee difficulty in obtaining emergency support staff such as plumbers, heating engineers and midday meals supervisors.
It remains to be seen whether the DCSF takes the letter on board and relaxes the criteria. But one fears that this is yet another case of heavy-handed government legislation, ignoring the fears and experience of those on the ground.
By Dylan Sharpe