Government in climbdown over vetting database

Millions of adults who volunteer to work with children will no longer be forced to undergo criminal records checks after the Government watered down its new vetting system.

The U-turn by Schools Secretary Ed Balls means that leading children's authors, who said they would stop visiting schools in protest at the new rules, will not now be required to register on a database designed to protect children from paedophiles.

The complaint by authors including Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake, was first revealed by The Independent in July.

Older teenagers who volunteer to help younger pupils, as well as parents who host foreign-exchange students, will also be exempted. About 11 million people would have been forced to be vetted, but the new rules mean two million adults will not be included.

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