Headteacher Should Have Disclosed Her Relationship With A Child Sex Offender Even Though She Had No Statutory Duty To Do So

Senior staff may have an implied contractual duty to disclose relationships with sex offenders to assist the governors in their safeguarding duties

The statutory duty to disclose

Under the Childcare Act 2006 and the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 (the Regulations), certain childcare providers and those who manage childcare providers are required to be registered in order to provide childcare. Those who have committed certain violent and sexual offences and offences against children are disqualified from working with children in certain settings (see below). Headteachers who manage such childcare provision must comply with the Regulations.

The Regulations apply to staff who provide any care for a child up to and including reception age. This includes education in nursery and reception classes and/or any supervised activity (such as breakfast clubs, lunchtime supervision and after school care provided by the school) both during and outside of school hours for children in the early years age range.

The Regulations also apply to staff who are employed to work in childcare provided by the school outside of school hours for children who are above reception age but who have not attained the age of 8. This does not include education or supervised activity for children above reception age during school hours (including extended school hours for co-curricular learning activities, such as the school's choir or sports teams) but it does include before and after school childcare provision.

Disqualification by association occurs when someone working in a relevant setting lives in a household where someone who is disqualified lives or is employed. In such a case, there is a statutory duty to disclose although it is possible to apply to OFSTED to waive disqualification. The statutory guidance on the Regulations is available here.

Case details

In Reilly v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of an employment tribunal that the decision to dismiss a headteacher who did not tell the school about her close friend's conviction for a child sex offence was fair.

Ms Reilly was a primary school headteacher with an exemplary disciplinary record and a long career in teaching. She had a close relationship with Mr Selwood, who was convicted of making indecent images of children. Ms Reilly did not cohabit with Mr Selwood, nor was she in a romantic or sexual relationship with him, but she jointly owned a house with...

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