Private tutor DBS loophole leaves 'ideal scenario' for child abusers

Becoming a self-employed private tutor is the "ideal scenario" for child abusers because they do not need to have a criminal records check, a charity has warned.

The NSPCC highlighted a "loophole" that means while workers such as accountants, vets and traffic wardens must have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, a self-employed teacher is not required to do so.

It wants self-employed private tutors in the UK to be required by law to undergo the checks, which would reveal details of any child sex offences.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "Over the summer months many parents will be giving their children a head start in the coming school year by employing a tutor at home.

"Clearly, the vast majority of private tutors are not child abusers but the current legal loophole makes it an ideal scenario for any predatory adult seeking to harm children.

"It's absurd that you need a basic criminal record check to issue a parking fine, calculate finances or treat animals but not if you're a self-employed tutor working with children.

"We want all tutors teaching children to be required to undergo a criminal record check - just as anyone driving a car needs to have a driving licence.

"Children have a right to be educated in safety and parents need to know that every care has been taken to ensure unsuitable people cannot practise as tutors.

"The rules on applying for criminal record checks need to apply to self-employed tutors just as they do for teachers employed in schools."

According to research by education charity the Sutton Trust, around around one in four children receive extra tuition outside school.

The NSPCC recommends that parents use reputable agencies and take their own steps to make sure the tutor is suitable, such as interviewing candidates, following up references and speaking to previous employers.