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Hosting For Overseas Students: Vetting

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in what circumstances families in England hosting foreign schoolchildren for fewer than 28 days are required to undergo a criminal records bureau check; and if he will make a statement. (212235)

We expect UK host families involved in providing accommodation for foreign students in organised school exchange visits to undergo enhanced CRB checks. This is in line with guidance to schools in respect of volunteers involved in activities requiring an overnight stay, as set out in paragraph 4.56 of “Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education”. We also recommend that host families are given basic awareness of child protection issues and the contact details of the designated senior person within the school with responsibility for safeguarding issues.

For other host families making private arrangements of fewer than 28 days, CRB Disclosures are not required in this area. We recommend however those involved in supervising or looking after the child are made aware of child protection issues as set out in “What To Do if You Are Worried A Child Is Being Abused”. Organisations setting up such visits should consider developing guidance and child protection policies to enable host families to clearly understand the issues and their responsibilities.

The new independent safeguarding (ISA) scheme will mean that from October 2009 those who provide care and accommodation for children under 18 for reward or in pursuance of an arrangement made by someone other than a member of the child's family will be engaged in regulated activity.

This includes host family arrangements for fewer than 28 days made by other organisations providing tuition in languages or other subjects. It will be a criminal offence for a barred individual to engage in this activity and the person organising the host family placement will be required to check that the person providing the care and accommodation is ISA registered.