If you’re considering volunteering as a parent helper for your child’s school, you may be wondering what the rules are around DBS checks and school trips.
For little ones, there’s not much that can top the excitement of a school trip. New sights, new sounds, new people – the memories can last a lifetime.
And, as a parent, taking part in the delights of the day can be extremely rewarding (plus you might learn something yourself).
But do you need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if you are going on a school trip?
Do you need one to be a volunteer or can you go without? What if you need to stay overnight?
To help you out we’ve put together everything you need to know about DBS checks and school trips, so that you can share the excitement of your children’s adventures…
Do you need a DBS check for a one-off school trip?
Many parents or guardians may only go on the odd school trip.
There could be a rotation system in use between the parents, or they may only have time to do one occasionally.
In these circumstances it’s unlikely you’ll need a DBS check.
This is because teachers will attend all your children’s school trips, and they’ll already be fully vetted.
However, they should never leave you unaccompanied with the children, and will make sure they have you under their supervision at all times.
These systems are put in place to protect you and the children, but also mean you won’t need to get a DBS check – making life a lot easier for you as an occasional volunteer.
Do you need a DBS check if you want to become a regular volunteer?
If you want to dedicate a bit more time to school trips and become a regular volunteer then things become a little more complicated.
In this case you will need an enhanced DBS check.
However, as a parent helper, you are defined by the Disclosure and Barring Service as a volunteer.
This is because the position is ‘entirely voluntary, unpaid and primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party’.
The government does not charge for volunteer DBS checks. However, if the school applies for your DBS check through an umbrella body, there may be an admin fee. At uCheck, it’s just £8.
In what other circumstances will you need a DBS check?
We’ve already learnt that you’ll need an enhanced DBS check if you’re a regular volunteer, but there are other reasons you may need to obtain one.
If you’re likely to look after the children unsupervised then you’ll certainly need an enhanced DBS check.
Similarly, there may be some circumstances when a trip occurs overnight.
If you’re going to take charge of a group of children in this situation, you’ll also need to have an enhanced DBS check.
DBS checks and school trips: The final conclusion
The most important thing to decide is whether you’re going to be an occasional volunteer or whether you want to get a bit more involved.
If it’s going to be an irregular occurrence then you won’t need a DBS check, but if you want to do it more often then you may need one.
It’s a good idea to speak to the school and find out how often you’ll be needed.