DfES tightens up rules on barring sex offenders

Anyone cautioned for a sexual offence against a child will automatically be barred from working in schools, under interim disqualification regulations proposed by the Department for Education and Skills.

The regulations would fulfil a government pledge to tighten up the current barring regime until it is replaced by a new vetting and barring system being introduced by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill going through Parliament.

The pledge followed the revelation in January that a “small number” of individuals on the sex offenders register had been cleared by the DfES to work in schools.

The proposed change would mean that anyone over the age of 18 who was cautioned or convicted for a specified sexual offence against a child would be automatically entered on List 99, the department’s list of people barred from working in schools. They would not be entitled to make representations against their entry for at least 10 years.

Although discretionary barring would be allowed to continue in certain circumstances until the new vetting and baring system was introduced, these decisions would be made according to the advice of a panel of child protection experts led by former Barnardo’s head Roger Singleton.

Automatic inclusion on List 99 would apply whether or not an individual had previously worked with children, the draft regulations propose.

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