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Parents Not Allowed?!


marley
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Hi

Just been informed by a member of our committee that parent help was discused at their meeting. One lady on committee works in a school and says that CRB are really clamping down and that parent helps are not allowed as not CRB checked. I said I would check it out...been on webites but cant find anything about this. In fact totally opposite....they say that settings are sometimes doing unnecesary checks! It was argued that we cant stop parent being in due to settling etc etc. We have always had the opinion that so long as parents were never left alone that it would be ok. We are desperate for our parents to attend.

 

Any advice/info that I can pass along?

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Hi ,

 

In our school all parent helpers, volunteers have to complete a List 99 declaration form. This is a list of people barred from working with children etc. and our office then checks them. I am not sure how it works and who checks what but if you ask the DCFS I am sure they will point you in the right direction.

 

 

Mrs B

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Our parent/helpers are not crb checked.

 

What happens when an upset child insists his/her parent stays for the whole session. What happens when a parent makes a spur of the moment decision to stay and help that morning.

 

As long as parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and of-age siblings have no unsupervised time with children then the matter doesn't really arise.

 

We're crying out for an extra pair of hands each day and making parents have a crb check would be the end of this.

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I don't know if the fact the OP mentions a committee member with experience of school is the significant factor here. I have been involved in the CRB checking of people associated with our pre-school for years now, firstly as a committee member and later as staff member who knows what she is doing (well with some things!).

 

I know for a fact that a few years ago we understood who needed CRB checking and who didn't much better than a local primary school round here. As a parent of children at that school I was very worried about who wasn't being CRB checked there and the level of responsibility and interaction they had. The school then swung round the other way and it would have been quicker to have CRB checked every parent as their child was enrolled! This has settled down a little now but mostly due to the fact the school now has a more permanent body of TAs. It may well be that the advice being given has come from a school background who hasn't been as aware of the dos and don'ts of CRBs before now and is being over cautious.

 

Would you be able to get advice from Ofsted regarding this and feed back to our committee? Although of course there is no saying that they will say the same thing twice.....

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In the safe recruitment booklet it states that if volunteers (including parents) are only helping as a one off then they do not have to be CRB checked. However if it is a regular thing then they do. I can't remember off the top of my head what constitutes as regular but I'm sure someone will be able to give the specifics.

 

http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/defa...04217-2006& available to download.

Edited by KarenM
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hi all

there are some changes going on at the moment a new owner for our nursery.

i recently went to her other school and CRB checks came up they were told recently that every one who has acsses regularly to the building must have a CRB they are very lucky to have a cleaner and she has to be checked even though as far as i know shes not on the site while the children are there?

 

so who should and shouldnt be checked?

 

 

Daz :o

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Well I could be wrong..... but we only CRB check staff, committee members and any long term volunteers. We do not allow short term volunteers or parent helpers to have unsupervised access to the children, take them to the toilet, wash hands, change nappies or clothes, and in the case of younger volunteers, to have children sat on their knee. With parent helpers the knee sitting is more difficult as their own child is likely to sit on their knee and we don't like to say no to another child who wants to squeeze on then, or to tell their child not to do something which is natural to them. We tend to encourage the other child to move to sit with a member of staff or let the parent know if they feel uncomfortable to ask the child to sit beside them, or make other excuses to move.

 

I recently saw a programme on TV which highlighted the fact that many adults are reluctant to ask a lost child if they need help for fear of accusations, and I know my own children had started to fear asking a strange adult for assistance. I think the idea that all parents must be CRB checked is a delicate issue as it could easily put the fear into a parent that they shouldn't intervene when they saw a child alone and distraught. Even my committee members are quizzical when told they need to be CRB checked, but I stress the business side of the issue for them. I would be very reluctant to ask all parents to complete one for the odd occasion they might stay.

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CRBs are a recurrent issue with not everyone knowing who should have them & who not. Prior to leaving ofice work in 1995, I worked in local gov and one of my roles was to send the CRBs for school staff off to the police. Who would routinely phone up & say 'But this applicant is only working in the school office, surely they don't need it?' And my reply was to point out that the office is usually where children sit while waiting for a parent to collect them, is usually where first aid is found (not exclusively there but most schools I've had contact with, one of the office staff have first aid). And most importantly, because this person works in the school, the children and parents will think of them as trustworthy.

 

Daz, I'd say that's the category your new owner's cleaner comes under. Because she's connected with the school, she needs to be trustworthy, because parents & children will think she is.

 

I was concerned when my elder son was in Reception & Year 1, because I went in every week to help the boys get changed before & after swimming - and the school never asked about a CRB (I did have one from work, but they never even asked), and brought this up at a Governors AGM.

 

In my preschool, we want CRBs for all staff (well, obviously!); all students in placements - not school work ex if under 16, but sixthformers on placement with us for 1 day a week for a year, anyone form college or YMCA; volunteers (ie those wanting/needing to show they've worked in a setting before college); casual staff (we have 1 parent who is a trained TA and comes in when we need extra help).

 

We do not do them for parents/carers unless they take on another role as above. In fact, in my area, I suspect it would be counter-effective as I know some of the parents had convictions for drunk & disorderly when younger and if we said 'All parent/carer helpers will be police checked'... we'd have very few.

 

As a side note, my sons' Scout Troop are planning a family camp next year and all parents must be CRB checked to attend. But that's a different situation from supervised parent helpers who don't have unsupervised access to the children.

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This is always a confusion and also a very important issue, the safeguarding of the children, so I can understand your committee's wish to do what is best and what is right.

 

That said, I think this needs to be considered in the context of common sense, are checks being done 'because they think they have to' or 'because they think there is a real risk'?

 

As we know CRB checks informs us of any 'criminal' records a person may have. It, to me, is valid on the day it is issued.

Committee's have a legal duty to safeguard children, so if they deem a check is necessary then one should be done. I wonder about the civil liberties, rights of parents (or any person) if these checks are done 'ad hoc' with little specific reason , ie: when the person is not in a position to be of risk to a child.

 

So, do a risk assessment, consider not just the 'physical' time a person spends with the children in the setting,(supervised or not) consider also the access to 'forming a relationship' with the children, what risk, if any does this offer.

 

What risks to childrens safety and wellbeing would occur if you didn't have the important relationships with the parents who offer their time to help out, what sort of society would we have then, if every person felt 'guilty before proven innocent'?

 

This reminds me of a programme I watched recently, the Tonight show, called Esther vs political correctness. Basically because of this 'fear' of having allegations made against them, adults (both male and female) are scared to approach children 'in need of support' ie: if a child falls in the play park no-one would assist (but leave it to the parent). The programmeshowed 2 child actors a boy aged 9 and a girl aged 7, pretending to be lost in a shopping centre, over 800 people walked by.

 

You can see the programme HERE (bear with the first few seconds of film, then the film will start)

 

Basically the programme shows that this over carefullness, including, checking all adults, is actually causing children to be abused by society, who are now not there to protect them. A hard hitting thought.

 

Sorry, this doesn't answer your question, I would say, if the committee have considered all risks and do not think that parents who help out now and again are not a risk then don't do them, and the evidence of risk assessment for each adult should be sufficient for any Ofsted inspector. Now this is where the common sense may come unstuck, we cannot guarantee whether the Ofsted inspector agrees, and therefore may consider the committee haven't done their job. They either need to decide to challenge such a judgement, or bow down and just get everyone checked. Before doing this I would suggest emailing Ofsted with this query, (then you have a written response).

 

I personally wish we (childcare professionals) could turn around this culture of fear, of not being 'safeguarding enough' and on the part of the general public, change the current fear of allegation which is stopping them from going to the aid of a chid 'in need'.

 

Peggy

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I agree strongly with what Peggy has said. There does need to be a balnce between safeguarding all involved- adults and children. CRB's like Peggy said are only a true indication of the persons status on the day of issue. The important thing for me is ensuring that all staff and adults are aware of the policy for volunteer adults being on site eg things like not allowing them to go to the toilets when other children are there out of sight or supervision of a staff member. The adults need to be told that procedures are there to protect not only the children but also them from accusations and false allegations.

It is about common sense prevailing as well as having measures in place to show that you have considered and addressed the potential risks involved.

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I whole heartedly agree with everything Peggy has said, oh dear what a sad world we live in sometimes. This matter came up at a committee meeting few weeks ago. Committee though it odd that they were CRb’d but not parent helpers. I think because there were ¾ who help at school. So just to clarify and put their minds at rest I rang Ofsted again who said. Providing your committee have considered all the risks and are happy to allow unchecked helpers in and these helpers do not have unsupervised access to the children then it is up to them (the committee) At no time do they or will they say no, you don’t need to (rang and asked them last year as well)

School is different, the children (usually) are older, and they go to the toilet themselves, often if a parent is in school to hear reading they are in another room. If we had to start CRB checking parent helpers then I think I would stop asking for them. As already mentioned how do you say to the child who is a bit wobbly and wants Mum to stay- No, can’t do that she’s not CRB checked. Or a parent who is on a visit? To be honest it takes so long to get committee done, by the time they have filled in DC2 (EY2’s now) form, sent them off, then got CRB forms back filed them in, had me check them and then heard back well if I had to do it for more than the few I do it doesn’t bare thinking about. I think we have to be sensible about this.

Unlike Ofsted, who even after recieving the disclosure number and copy of a parent who was only CRB'd iat beginning of September have insisted that she be done again for us.

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I really think the 'doubling up' of CRB's issue needs addressing, ( or people even having to have 3/4 /5 checks done for various positions held at any given time). This beaucracy nightmare was also highlighted in the Esther Rantzen programme. :o

 

I've often wondered what percentage of checks show that applicants are unsuitable. I fully accept that a person with a 'bad' history needs to be known, but is the current system really cost effective? (in terms of time and money)

 

What other type of system could work do you think?

 

Peggy

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I agree that the whole system is a nonsense. The sensible route as far as I am concerned is to have an initial registration fee which may well be quite hefty - who paid this would be up to settings, but maybe a half and half split would be reasonable. Thereafter there should be an annual fee to update the check. Only one check should need to be done for working in any setting/for any different job within the sector. Providing this is renewed annually it should be more than enough.

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I run a pre school now and don't CRB check parent helpers. Previously I worked in an infant school and every parent helper had to attend a training session and be CRB checked before helping out in school. At the time I presumed that it was a requirement for school but never asked the head teacher why it happened. (so probably no help at all, sorry!)

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I agree that the whole system is a nonsense. The sensible route as far as I am concerned is to have an initial registration fee which may well be quite hefty - who paid this would be up to settings, but maybe a half and half split would be reasonable. Thereafter there should be an annual fee to update the check. Only one check should need to be done for working in any setting/for any different job within the sector. Providing this is renewed annually it should be more than enough.

 

 

I agree but also with rechecks if a person leaves the sector and returns, ie gaps within the sector workforce would need 'checking'

 

Peggy

 

p.s. Obviously I'm talking about staff here not parents.

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If we get to a situation where all adults who are, or who might be in contact with children need to be checked, then wont we be in a situation where everyone in the country is checked and so noone will be deemed as unsafe?

That senario scares me more than having a parent helper in who hasnt been checked.

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The checking and updating of CRBs will be covered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority ISA

 

From October 2009, when you recruit someone new to work with children or vulnerable adults you will need to check their ISA status. This will determine whether or not you can employ them (or take them on as volunteers), and may affect what activities they can undertake.

 

Existing employees

You will also need to ensure that existing employees are ISA-registered.

First you should ask those who have not been previously checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) to apply for ISA registration.

Next you should ask those who have been CRB checked to apply, beginning with staff whose CRB checks are the oldest.

We will add detailed guidance on the timing of this process as the ISA vetting service is phased in.

 

Registering with us

It is the individual applicant’s responsibility to apply to register with the ISA. If they have not applied for registration you can’t employ them. It is your responsibility to check a potential employee or volunteer’s status. If an applicant is not ISA-registered they have either not applied or are on an ISA Barred List.

You will not be charged for checking someone’s ISA status.

Once you have registered your interest in an individual as their employer, you will automatically be contacted should their status change – that is, if new information leads to an ISA decision to bar them.

 

So all will be registered and be on a regular updated data base.. if their status changes you will be informed..

 

we wait and see how it works..but from this individuals have to register themselves and employers check just status.. i assume this will do away with CRB checks for every setting..

 

Inge

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