The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is a direct attack on the social fabric of this country. It undermines the rule of law and presumes that a bureaucracy can find paedophiles and provide protection for the ‘vulnerable’, when even children’s charities agree it can’t. At last teachers are starting the fight back:
In a letter to the children’s secretary, Ed Balls, seven associations spanning state and private schools warn that new requirements to vet anyone who works or applies to work with children on a voluntary or paid basis are “disproportionate” and will not stop some paedophiles.
The seven bodies say this will stop language exchanges altogether, because it will not be possible to vet overseas families who host British pupils. They argue that the rules will reduce the number of outside speakers prepared to come to give assemblies because they will have to go through the “excessive bureaucracy” of the vetting process. Parents who help out with drama productions, fundraising and school trips will also be affected.
Scouting jamborees, nativity plays, volunteering right across the spectrum will be affected by the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS). And with the government requiring a volunteering component for 18 year old school leavers (which sort of changes it from volunteering to ‘unpaid work’ doesn’t it?), every young person in further education will have to be vetted. Considering the ISA doesn’t require evidence-based disclosures in order to bar people from specific areas of work, there will be a huge risk of criminalising and tainting the futures of huge numbers of young people, and in the end deterring them from continuing with their education. The letter goes on to say:
schools were concerned the review would merely “tinker with the system because of the constraints of his [Sir Roger Singleton's] remit”.
“We are urging a review of the whole strategy,” the letter said.
The letter added that regulations failed to guarantee the safety of children.
“Concern has also been expressed by colleagues that there could be a sense of false security engendered by the completion of checks,” said the letter. “It is also worth reminding you that Ian Huntley might well not have been exposed by the CRB system.”
The letter was also signed by the Girls’ School Association, the Independent Association of Prep Schools, the Independent Schools Association and the Society of Heads of Independent Schools.
The teachers have got it right, but this is a government which believes fundamentally that databases and bureaucracies can solve every problem. Watch how Ed Balls won’t do anything to tackle any of these issues, whilst the ISA through its existence will discourage child protection practitioners from looking in the right direction for real abuse.
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