Monday, 14 December 2009

Vetting and barring review - response to fora comments.

Could I strongly recommend people read ‘recommendation 7; host families’ page 17 onwards para 46 – 54.

Unfortunately the wording of the recommendation and its punctuation are ambiguous. In the recommendation itself there is a comma after days and family which could be interpreted as giving a different nuance to para 54. However if you read the totality of the paragraphs 46-54, it is clear that Sir Roger is recommending that exchanges of fewer than 28 day should be regarded as ‘private arrangements where overseas parents accept the responsibility for the selection of the host family’ and therefore would not require registration.

In view of the ambiguity of the phrasing and punctuation, it may be wise for schools to ask overseas families to sign a form confirming that they accept the responsibility. Do note also that para 54 says that his recommendation would not prevent an individual school from asking host parents to register if it wished to offer that additional measure of protection, but it would not be a statutory requirement.

In view of the carefully phrased caveat,it would probably be wise for schools to consult with governors and perhaps the wider community so that if something were to go wrong, and the schools had not undertaken such a check, then they would not be found guilty in ‘trial by the media’. There are clearly many nuances to this issue and it would be wise to reflect carefully and await further developments before rushing into action.

Hope this helps.

(I realise there are loads of 'it would be wise' phrases .. hopefully this covers me!)