Now parents face criminal checks just to enter their children's school
2009 12 08
By Andrew Levy | DailyMail.co.uk
Parents have been banned from setting foot in their children's classrooms without first having a Criminal Records Bureau check.
Stern new signs at a college in Cambridge warn that mothers and fathers cannot enter the premises if they have not been fully vetted.
As a result they face paying £86 each - £36 for an enhanced CRB check plus a fee of up to £50 to process the application.
It is the latest CRB controversy following bans on unchecked parents walking children to a carol concert and supervising at a play park.
Councillors yesterday called the signs at Manor Community College 'extreme', warning they could alienate parents.
The notices read: 'We do not allow anybody who is not fully CRB checked to enter the college premises or to work unsupervised.
This includes volunteers, visitors and contractors.
New rules: Only visitors checked by the Criminal Records Bureau can enter
Manor Community College in Cambridge
'If you do not have a CRB (full disclosure) or you do not know what this is, please ensure that you contact a member of staff for further information.'
The main school sign adds: 'Restricted access for bona fide visitors only.'
Lucy Nethsingha, a Liberal Democrat Cambridgeshire county councillor, said she was astonished by the move.
She said: 'The sign is effectively saying anyone coming on to the school site needs to be CRB checked, including parents, which seems very extreme.
'We need to take sensible measures to ensure young people's safety but this is going well beyond what is sensible.'
Fellow LibDem councillor Neil McGovern said: 'Obviously people who work with children need to be checked out but does this have to include visitors and parents?
'CRB checks are to protect children and vulnerable young people - I don't see how this would help. It's verging on the ridiculous.'
Manor Community College has about 350 pupils aged 11 to 16 and has been a specialist creative and performing arts college for two years. It was described in an Ofsted report last year as 'a satisfactory and improving school'.
Principal Ben Slade - at 33 one of the youngest secondary heads in the country and a former child presenter on BBC programme Why Don't You? - defended the signs yesterday.
He said: 'We had a safeguarding review which suggested we should make it clear to people who are entering the building they are not to walk around unsupervised or work with children if they haven't been CRB checked. You don't need a CRB check to enter the reception or go to an adult education class.
'But you need to catch people's attention. Taking risks on safeguarding children is not something I'm prepared to compromise on.
'Ofsted makes the rules up, not me, and a lot of schools have failed their inspections for not safeguarding pupils.'
It was unclear last night how the policy would affect parents' evenings or school concerts.
Cambridgeshire County Council said it allowed schools to make their own decisions on visitor checks.
Last week it emerged another school in the county, Somersham primary, was ordering parents accompanying children to a carol service to be vetted.
Meanwhile, Watford Council recently banned parents from playing with their children in recreation areas because they had not been checked.
Article from: DailyMail.co.uk
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