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teachers’ strike - Gove backs parent volunteers

28 June 2011

In a move that has been highly criticised by teaching unions NAHT and the ATL, Michael Gove has suggested parents could step into the void left by striking teachers this week.

As well as appearing contradictory to the coalition line that teaching should be undertaken only by well trained and well resourced teachers, Mr Gove’s comment seems to cut through the fabric of the safeguarding measures put in place in schools over the last 10 years.

Under the current guidance a CRB check must be undertaken on volunteers with unsupervised access to children. Heads and Principals should also consider the suitability of each volunteer and consider getting references before allowing them to undertake volunteering duties.

Whilst Mr Gove has not suggested that the statutory guidance should be ignored for the purposes of the strike, perhaps it does hint at the government’s softening approach to safeguarding generally. Further amendments to Part 5 of the Protection of Freedoms Bill could follow…

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