Tutors refuse to sign up for child safety scheme


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The Independent Online

Thousands of tutors employed to give children private lessons will refuse to register with a controversial new government child-safety scheme which comes into force this summer.

Nearly three-quarters of self-employed tutors said that they would not be giving their details to the new Vetting and Barring Scheme in a poll published today.

Designed to make sure that children or vulnerable adults are protected from abuse, the scheme is voluntary for self-employed tutors, coaches and nannies if they have are privately engaged by parents.

Most of the 525 tutors surveyed said that they did not believe that the scheme would help to stop paedophiles from getting access to children. The majority also said they thought that it would be a "waste of resources" and a "bureaucratic nightmare".

Initial proposals for the scheme were met with widespread public anger last year after The Independent published the concerns of a group of respected British children's authors and illustrators, who said they intended to stop visiting schools in protest at having to register with the scheme. In December, the Government agreed to scale back the scheme. The Conservatives have included a commitment in their manifesto that it would be run at "common-sense levels".

Harry Fagg, the director of website www.thetutorpages.com, which commissioned the poll, said the survey showed "just how strongly tutors feel about this issue".

"Many already have Criminal Record Bureau certificates and see this extra check as unnecessary, bureaucratic and intrusive and regard the cost of registering – £64 – as a tax on teaching. Very few parents ask to see CRB checks as it is, as they prefer to rely on personal recommendations and their own judgement."

As many as nine million adults working in schools, colleges, crèches, clubs and community centres will have to be vetted under the scheme, which is being administered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

The ISA, established in the wake of the Soham murders, has the authority to make checks into information held on police computers and other databases, as well as records of criminal convictions held by the Criminal Records Bureau.