The government announced today that the heavily criticised Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) will be significantly scaled back, meaning that millions of adults will no longer need criminal records checks to work or volunteer with children.
According to the Independent, Children’s charity Barnardo’s called the move a “victory for common sense”. Its chief executive Anne Marie Carrie stated “There is already enough safeguarding in place for people who have unsupervised, substantial access to children”, and emphasized that “No system will ever entirely protect children … safeguarding is everybody’s business”.
In Aprl 2010, The Tutor Pages attracted national media coverage with its poll which demonstrated overwhelming opposition to the VBS among private tutors. The government views tuition as a private contract between parents and a tutor, and therefore self-employed private tutors are under no obligation to undergo Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks. Although a CRB check may be useful (and tutors can at their own expense apply for one), parents will often prefer other checks, such as talking to parents of current or former students, or following up a tutor’s references.
To further clarify best practice for tutors and parents, The Tutor Pages is currently collaborating in academic research into child protection in the private tuition sector. Results and recommendations will be published later in the year.