DBS Checks for school trips: Do parents need one?

Parents are often unsure if they require DBS Checks for school trips they are volunteering on, which is unsurprising as the answer depends on the circumstances.

Schools sometimes ask parents to accompany classes on school trips, usually when the school cannot provide enough staff itself to go on the excursion.

Government data suggests that about 1,000 DBS certificates are issued to volunteers for school trips in a year – however this is quite a low number, given that there are more than 24,000 schools in the UK.

So when do parents need DBS Checks for school trips?

DBS checks for school trips: do parents need one?

One-off trips

If parents are accompanying children on a one-off short school trip, it is less likely that they will require a DBS Check.

Since all the other teachers should have already received their disclosure, there would be ample protection in place for the pupils.

There are two important exceptions to this rule though.

The first is if the school trip would necessitate the parent spending time alone with any of the children, unsupervised by any of the teachers.

The second is if the school trip involves an overnight stay, as this could increase the likelihood that parents may at some point be the only adults near the children – for example, if they are imposing a curfew.

Multiple trips

If a parent’s involvement on school trips becomes a regular occurrence, then this changes the circumstances significantly.

Any parent frequently attending school trips would need to undergo an Enhanced DBS Check, which is the same disclosure the teachers at the school will have obtained.

This is because carrying out any working or volunteering role which involves regular contact with children under 18 requires a DBS Check by law – ‘regular’ being the key word here.

DBS Checks for school trips: Summing up

Parents do not need to be screened for single school trips, unless the excursion will require them to spend any time alone with the children or involve an overnight stay.

However, regular involvement on school trips is a different matter entirely and if any parent is a frequent volunteer, schools should be asking them to undergo an Enhanced DBS Check.

If you have any queries at all about DBS Checks for school trips and whether parents need to take one, please feel free to contact us.