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Educational Institutions: Vetting

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what sanctions will be taken against language schools which use host families for foreign students who have not undergone vetting and barring scheme or Criminal Records Bureau checks; (306472)

(2) how many representations he has received from language schools on the application of the vetting and barring scheme and Criminal Records Bureau checks for host families for foreign children in the last six months.

There are currently no requirements on language schools to conduct Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on the individuals they engage to host foreign students.

Acting as host parents for a student at a language school is regulated activity under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. Engaging in regulated activity will normally require registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). However, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on 14 December 2009, Official Report, column 50WS, in his response to the Sir Roger Singleton’s report “Drawing the Line” on the vetting and barring scheme, we shall lift the requirement for registration for exchange visits where the student’s parents accept responsibility for the selection of the host family, the host parents are unpaid volunteers, and the visit lasts less than 28 days.

Where these conditions are not met, the requirement for registration of the host parents will remain in place. Where the requirement for registration applies, a language school that uses host parents without checking their ISA registration status would commit an offence under section 11 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. Under section 11(9), the maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of up to level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000).

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has not received any representations from language schools on this issue during the last six months.