Like many teachers and school helpers I thought the DCSF had gone over the top with the latest Vetting and Barring Scheme. This initiative asks people who have ‘intense’ contact (that’s 3 or more times within1 month to you and I!) with children, to pay £64 to get a clearance to be able to go into schools. We all saw the reaction from the authors who are disgusted by the initiative and this has seen the government agree to pay for their checks as long as they aren’t getting paid for their visit. This is all very well but what about the input schools receive each week from parents?
When I was teaching I had a fantastic parent who came in every Tuesday afternoon to support me with spelling games. Will schools have to turn parents away unless they can afford to pay £64 themselves? Think of all that invaluable expertise and help that would be lost. Schools could lose supportive fathers that in addition to their skills can provide an additional male role model for some children.
So I decided to call them and get some answers. I spoke to a very well informed gentleman who was able to answer all my concerns clearly and concisely and make sense of all the media hype I had heard.
* Firstly, you only pay £64 (£28 for the Independent Safeguarding Authority and £36 Enhanced CRB) if you are paid to work with children and vulnerable adults. All volunteers will need to go on the list by November 2010, but there is no fee.
* Joining the list is down to the individual, not the school or group you volunteer with and lasts for life.
* You only join once regardless of how many organisations you work with.
I have to say I felt very reassured and I am having a DVD sent to me with further information about it.
So rather than getting heated about this issue, get the facts. Call them directly on 0300 123 1111 or visit their website www.isa-gov.org.uk