Tuesday, 8 December 2009

CRB checks - Safeguarding whom?

No one wants those in our society who are danger to young people to have access to school pupils and this necessitates some sort of criminal check, but I am concerned that there is an assumption that children are made safe simply because a CRB check has been carried out.

I have no problem with the idea of criminal checks on staff who work in schools, but how far do we take this?

The world of "safeguarding" becomes more ridiculous by the week - the latest contribution coming from Manor Community College in Cambridge:
"We do not allow anybody who is not fully CRB checked to enter the college premises or to work unsupervised. This includes volunteers, visitors and contractors. If you do not have a CRB (full disclosure) or you do not know what this is, please ensure that you contact a member of staff for further information.”
Daily Telegraph 07/12/09
The Kafkaesque framework laid down by OFSTED ensures that pupils will only ever encounter adults at school who have been CRB checked. But this is a totally artificial state of affairs. Pupils who walk to school or travel on public transport will inevitably meet people who haven't had a CRB clearance - the vast majority of whom pose no risk to them whatsoever. But the OFSTED approach of insisting on regular CRB clearances on all who come into contact with pupils in schools is taking the "don't talk to stangers" routine to new limits. Drawing the line at the school gate ensures that, in the extremely unlikely event of a young person being endangered in some way it will fall outside the responsibility of the school/ Government. Sadly, this reflects a "not on my watch" approach to child protection.

Ultimately the Government's approach appears to have much more to do with safeguarding its own position than concern about young people.

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