Keeping Children Safe in Education: DBS and Foreign Exchange Host Families

19 June 2018

A revised version of the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance was published by the DfE on 17 May 2018, and see our summary here. The new guidance comes into force on 3 September 2018. 

With reference to carrying out DBS checks for UK host families, the new guidance still states that schools and colleges “should” (rather than ‘must’) request a DBS certificate (with the barred list option checked). Further,  schools and colleges that decide not to carry out the recommended checks should satisfy themselves they are not putting a child at risk and be able to justify the decision if challenged. 

ASCL’s view is that this wording gives schools and colleges little option but to carry out DBS checks for all UK host families, and therefore our advice to schools and colleges is to carry out these checks. 

This is not what we had campaigned for; we met regularly with the DfE, working alongside the British Council and other groups, to propose strongly that the new guidance should state that DBS checks for UK host families would not be required. We explained it is not necessary to make similar checks on foreign host families hosting UK children, and made clear that the requirement could be the death knell for foreign exchanges.