Disqualification by Association rules axed for schools

From September 2018, schools will no longer have to adhere to ‘disqualification by association’ rules.


Under disqualification by association rules, individuals working with young children are required to apply to Ofsted for a waiver if they live with anyone with convictions or cautions for specified offences.

The aim of such rules is to stop individuals working with children if they may be under the influence of a person who is likely to pose a risk to children, but the rules have been deemed controversial and widely criticised by schools.

Numerous cases emerged of schools being obliged to suspend employees who had not committed any wrong pending the outcome of their waiver application. This caused many to raise concerns that the rules were disproportionate, unnecessary and unfair especially as there are already robust safeguarding arrangements in place which protect against risks of abuse to children.

To address schools’ concerns, the Department of Education launched a consultation in May 2016. Following the consultation schools will no longer need to determine whether a member of staff is disqualified by association and the statutory guidance will be updated.

For further advice, find out more about Strictly Education’s safeguarding support for schools, academies and multi-academy trusts.

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