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Police checked to accompany your child and their class on a school trip?

(50 Posts)
Carla Thu 24-Mar-05 10:22:11

I was shocked when my sister told me about this. Her ds's (8) school will not allow any parent to accompany their class without first having been police checked. Consequently, they're always short of volunteers.

I explained this to dd2's teacher, who simply said 'Unfortunately, that's the way it's going'. Anyone else heard of this? What do you think?

Hulababy Thu 24-Mar-05 10:24:40

It is in case there is any situation where a parent would be given supervision of children on their own - even for a short period of time.

It is to ensure our children are protected I guess. Sad, but it has to be te case.

Why not suggest the school asks who may want to volunteer at the start of a year - and then send them all the necessary paperwork to fill in and send off.

I am ot sure how long the police checks last, but a fair while I imagine.

iota Thu 24-Mar-05 10:31:08

I got police checked when I joined the PTA - you can't even go and help in the classroom at our school without the CRB check. The school gave me the form and sent it off - it wasn't a big deal to get it done -I think it lasts 3 years.

Carla Thu 24-Mar-05 10:32:34

Thankfully it's not imposed by dds' school - but what makes one school adhere to this and not another?

Hulababy Thu 24-Mar-05 10:35:38

Personally I would prefer it to me imposed by a school I send my child too. Sadly many of the people who do abuse children/cause problems are also parents of children too.

Marina Thu 24-Mar-05 10:36:09

I accompanied ds' class on a trip last week and wondered vaguely whether we would be police-checked beforehand. None of us were.
I'd be quite happy to do it but the school (very small, non-state sector) clearly doesn't worry about it. Parents are not asked on residential trips though and when on day-trips they aim for a ratio of two children to every adult and go round in a gaggle.
I think I'm happy with the situation in the context of our school but I can understand and support the principle of police checking in a wider context.

fairyfly Thu 24-Mar-05 10:36:14

I want away to france with school. My friend and i found out the coach driver had scores against all the girls names, marks out of ten, that kind of thing. We asked him what he was doing and he said they were marks saying who was the prettiest, who was timid etc. He was overtly leary and winked at us. About three days into the holiday he started pinching our bottoms. Then he asked if he could see our room, and sit with us for a bit that evening. We said yes. We then asked our teacher to come to our room and when he arrived she was sat there.

Caligula Thu 24-Mar-05 10:37:17

I think it's OK. School trips were always a great way for paedophiles to get free-er access to children than normal.

Police checks will only pick up on someone who is a convicted paedophile of course, so it's not fool-proof. But it will weed out anyone who has been convicted.

It's a problem though. I work for a charity which works with elderly people, and as they are now classed as a vulnerable group, we have to introduce police checks. I know that the first result for me, is that at least a third of my volunteers are going to back off. So a lot of elderly people are going to be left without the service.

Hulababy Thu 24-Mar-05 10:39:15

I can't understand why having to have a police check should put people off. I have always had police checks as a teacher, and now working in a Priosn I have very thorough checks. But at the most it takes 30-60 minutes of your day to complete the forms and post them off.

Marina Thu 24-Mar-05 10:40:53

ff, that brings back very nasty memories of a coach driver who shagged his way through the 5th year on a trip to Germany
I was a 4th year and it was the talk of the school, except in the staffroom where they managed to remain oblivious

Marina Thu 24-Mar-05 10:42:25

Message withdrawn

Caligula Thu 24-Mar-05 10:47:53

I think it's a generational thing, Hula and Marina. I accept that for any job or volunteering I do with kids or elderly, I'll expect to be police checked. But the average volunteer in this country, for obvious reasons, has a demographic profile which is white, middle aged to elderly (50+), middle class and female. They tend to feel insulted at the implication that they might be a criminal. Also, they feel that it's an imposition that they are volunteering, giving their time for free, and they have to submit themselves to a police check. They just instinctively don't like it. Although many volunteers tend to be in occupations where they are police checked anyway (like caring) and they accept the need for it, another huges section are comfortably off empty nesters who just feel that they are being forced to jump through hoops for the sake of doing a few hours a month driving, where the chances of doing harm to an elderly person are quite minimal anyway.

Caligula Thu 24-Mar-05 10:49:35

I don't think it's because they're all secret criminals that they decline btw! It's just that they feel it's an imposition.

Hopefully as police checks get seen to be as necessary, that attitude will change, but in the meantime, I've got a problem of volunteer recruitment (which I won't bore you with here)!

Marina Thu 24-Mar-05 10:56:56

That's a very fair point about age and background Caligula. Most of the people I deal with likely to need police-checking are other parents who understand and accept the need, and students who just sign on the dotted line.
My parents would probably go ballistic if they were asked for checks.

Carla Thu 24-Mar-05 10:59:57

I agree Caligula. I would have no problem with being police checked, but to accompany a group of 6 year olds on a day trip to, for example, the Roald Dahl museum? I may be being naive, but that just sounds a bit like going beyond the beyonds .....

Hulababy Thu 24-Mar-05 11:01:46

But look at it from the other side. How would you feel if your child was abused by another parent whilst on a school trip, or you found out that a parent going on a school trip had some form of relevant criminal record?

Carla Thu 24-Mar-05 11:03:47

Absolutely gutted of course, Hula. I can see the whys and wherefores, just sad that it should be so. So why (and this is what I can't get my head round) isn't it mandatory in all schools (or at least all state schools)?

Caligula Thu 24-Mar-05 11:04:02

hmm, does seem a bit daft, I was thinking you were meaning going away with the kids overnight. I think it depends on whether you would have sole supervision or not - our local walking bus volunteers don't get police checked because there are always a minimum of 3 adults and it's unlikely they are a paedophile ring, but the classroom assistants do, because there may be occasions when they are left in sole charge of a child or children.

iota Thu 24-Mar-05 11:05:00

a group of 6 yr old may need taking to the toilet and potentially accidents can happen and they have to be cleaned up - I see CRB checks as very necessary when dealing with young children

iota Thu 24-Mar-05 11:06:33

and 6 yr olds can get upset and need comforting - would you want someone hugging your child and putting them on their knee if they hadn't been CRB checked?

Caligula Thu 24-Mar-05 11:07:02

I agree that the easiest way of dealing with it would be to send out a letter every year asking who wants to potentially volunteer that year and could they please do a police check so that they can be available for all volunteering. That way, you've actually got time to get the police checks in (it's still taking weeks in some areas).

But bear in mind, police checks are only as good as the day they're done.

Caligula Thu 24-Mar-05 11:27:24

TBH Iota, yes I would. That happens every time my child goes on a playdate in the home of one his friends. I can't ask them to have CRB checks!

But in general, I'm in favour. CRB checks aren't a panacea (Ian Huntley had all the right checks, didn't he) but they are one part of a weeding out process.

The other parts are references, common sense, gut feel, which of course can often be wrong. There's no 100% foolproof method.

iota Thu 24-Mar-05 12:33:22

Caligula, I was referring to school activities when the person involved may not be known to the child - I think playdates are a different matter as the parents are known to you - at least I only let my child go on playdates if I know the parents and feel comfortable with them.

Also if my child ever expressed reluctance to go on a playdate, or said he didn't like the parent involved, my antennae would twitch and I would probably make excuses and decline.

bee3 Thu 24-Mar-05 12:52:31

I thought that having police checks done on any adult who would be in contact with children in school was now a legal requirement. At my last school we sent the forms out with the information pack for Reception starters, with a letter explaining about parent volunteers in school, how it worked, how much they were appreciated etc etc, but also advising that they would need to be checked, so get it done early if they thought they might like to help.

As for school trips - I would say it was even more important. Adults helping in the classroom are nearly always in the sight of teaching staff, but on school trips often each parent gets "given" a small group to go off with, then you all meet up later. I know it seems overly bureaucratic, but I think it's necessary, and certainly doesn't do any harm.

joash Thu 24-Mar-05 13:26:20

It is an unfortunate state of affairs that this is what the world is coming to and I can't see what the problem is for people who've nothing to hide.

Personally - I think they're a waste of time, they only show up what people have been caught for - not what they might be doing in 'private'.

Police checks last for 3 years - but only for the specific purpose for which they have been done. Other trips, other schools, etc would have to do another one.

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