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Educational Visits: Vetting

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department provides on overseas exchange visits for children of school age, with particular reference to whether Criminal Records Bureau checks should be undertaken for (a) British families having contact with children and (b) overseas families who have contact with visiting British children. (292146)

Chapter 4 of the “Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education” guidance, which came into force on 1 January 2007, sets out the Department's strong recommendation that volunteers who help regularly with activities associated with the school or further education college and are in unsupervised contact with children, including new host families who provide care for students from overseas, should be CRB checked.

Under the new vetting and barring scheme those who provide care and accommodation for children under 18 for reward or by arrangement made outside the family will be engaged in ‘regulated activity', and this is made clear in interim guidance the Government are issuing today about the new scheme. This means that in a two parent family, both parents will have to register with the scheme. Further guidance about registration with the ISA, which begins in summer 2010, will be produced in due course. We cannot impose this requirement on host families in other countries who provide care for British children.

However schools should satisfy themselves that adequate safeguarding arrangements have been put in place to protect children.