School demands CRBs to let parents watch sports matches

As the Protection of Freedoms Act comes in - supposedly limiting over-CRB checking - it is reported that one school is CRB checking parents, to watch their children's sports matches.

The school apparently put a note in the newsletter -

    "A reminder that parents wishing to spectate at our sports fixtures
    MUST be in possession of an up to date Swindon Borough
    Council CRB check. If you wish to spectate at a sports event the
    following procedures apply.
    Parents wishing to come and spectate regularly at fixtures need
    to contact Miss Carter. Miss
    Carter will send you the relevant links to the CRB site or ask for
    proof of your current CRB if it is from Swindon Borough Council.
    (Getting this is free but may take 2-4 weeks)
    Once your CRB has been granted you will be able to enter and
    leave school signing in via reception if you wish to attend a
    sporting fixture.
    Unfortunately if you do not follow these procedures we will be
    unable to grant you access to the school."

This echoes past cases of parents being asked to get a CRB check in order to enter their children's school, or to help out at a school disco, or drive children to school sports matches.

The case shows that schools make up their own rules on CRBS - and greatly over-step government guidance on when these should be required. The CRB check seems to be part of the way certain schools define the boundaries and authority of their institution, enforcing ID checks at the school gates.

It also shows how 'child protection' policies are used, not against dodgy looking strangers, but against parents - and how some schools treat parents (who after all are just taking an interest in their child's life) as an implicit threat to children.

Certainly, there appears to be a latent conflict between the school and parents in this case, with the school reporting that the policy has "recently resulted in reception staff and PE staff being on the receiving end of verbal abuse from parents who have become frustrated trying to get into or out of the school".

Finally, this case shows the difficulty of reining in CRB checks, since they have become so grounded in everyday life and the culture of institutions.