There was a requirement that schools taking children under the age of 8 had to get staff to sign a ‘Disqualification by Association’ form. This requirement has now been dropped for schools, however, it still ‘applies to individuals providing and working in childcare in domestic settings’ (i.e. homestays taking children under 8). 

This change only applies to the very few ELT organisations that have students under the age of 8. If your organisation doesn’t take under 8s, you can stop reading now!

The Disqualification by Association regulation meant that a staff member might not be able to work with children under 8 if somebody living in the same household had certain convictions against children.

This regulation has now been amended; a person working in a school with under 8s no longer needs to be asked about others living in their household.

Disqualification by Association

However, because a school must not knowingly employ a person who is disqualified by the regulations, a staff member working with under 8s still needs to be asked some questions to satisfy the Disclosure under the Childcare Act 2006 (updated 2018). These are questions about convictions that would not show on a DBS or Barred List check.

  • Have they ever had a child placed under a Care Order?
  • Have they ever had Childcare Registration (e.g. as a childminder) cancelled or refused (except for non-payment of fees)?
  • Do they have any relevant overseas convictions?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then decisions must be made about employing the person. For regulated schools (state and private schools), an OFSTED waiver is required. Non-regulated ELT organisations need to make a decision based on the company’s policy on employing ex-offenders.

Finally disqualification by Association still ‘applies to individuals providing and working in childcare in domestic settings’ (i.e. homestays taking children under 8). In that case, the questions need to be asked about everyone residing in a homestay, not just the main host.

For full information, see the document on the government webpage here.


Find out about what duty of care adults have when working with students in the UK and what to do if a safeguarding situation should arise with Gallery Teachers Safeguarding Basic Awareness Course.