In September 2017, the DfE amended its guidance on the responsibilities of schools in organising DBS or similar checks on hosting families, in Britain or abroad. Whilst HMC welcomes KCSiE guidance, it appears to have had the effect of considerably lessening the number school exchanges which can practically be organised.
HMC Chief Executive Mike Buchanan said:
“Keeping children safe will always come first, but common sense and children’s education are also important.
“Schools will generally support having checks on families hosting children in Britain, even though it will never be fail-safe. However, it’s difficult to see how they can reasonably be expected to take responsibility for carrying out risk assessments on hundreds of families in countries with no DBS system.
“The inevitable decrease in exchange visits means children are missing out on irreplaceable language learning, which in turn will affect grades and take up of important subjects which are already in decline.
“We want to take all reasonable steps to protect children but schools need the guidance to be clear and sensible.”