Considerations for schools
Policies and procedures
Your school should have a policy and procedures which outline how you will manage visitors. These should work in alignment with your overarching safeguarding policy and procedures.
They should apply to all visitors and you should make sure everyone working or volunteering with visitors in your school understands them. Be aware that individuals may visit your school in different capacities.
You might want to publish your school visitors policy and procedures online and send it to visitors before they arrive so they are prepared.
Your policy and procedures should include:
- definitions of the types of visitors you might receive and the processes they should follow
- a process for managing both planned and unplanned visitors
- vetting, disclosure and barring check requirements for visitors
- information about how visitors should report any child protection concerns
- a process for reporting and responding to safeguarding and child protection concerns about a visitor.
Visitors who represent organisations and are self-employed should have their own safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures. You can ask to see these in advance to ensure they meet your schools standards.
Vetting, disclosure and barring checks
Anyone working with children must undergo the necessary vetting and barring checks. If they are undertaking “regulated activity” or “regulated work”, they are required by law to have an enhanced vetting and barring check.
> Read more about regulated activity, vetting, disclosure and barring checks on our safer recruitment page
Statutory guidance in England, Northern Ireland and Wales provides more detailed information on vetting, disclosure and barring checks for school visitors.
> Find out more about key legislation for schools
If you are contracting visitors who are employed by or volunteer with another organisation, statutory guidance states that you do not need to carry out your own vetting and barring checks. However, it’s best practice to get written confirmation that visitors have been recruited according to safer recruitment practices. Make sure you are satisfied that this meets your school’s safeguarding requirements.
It’s best practice to do this in advance to avoid embarrassment and disappointment. Your visitors policy and procedures should clearly explain who is responsible for doing this and how.
Self-employed visitors may not be able to apply directly for their own vetting and barring check. They may ask your school to apply on their behalf. If you agree to this, you will need to check their eligibility and relevant documents.
Visitors without vetting and barring checks
If a visitor hasn’t undertaken the relevant vetting and barring checks, you should make a risk assessment about whether they can still work with children in your school and what measures need to be put in place. It’s best practice never to leave visitors without checks unsupervised.
Code of conduct
Your school should set out how you expect visitors to behave. This should include:
You should have policies and procedures in place to respond to any concerns about a visitor’s behaviour.
> Find out about managing allegations of abuse
Child protection training
Everyone who comes into contact with children and young people should take child protection training to make sure they know how to recognise and respond to child protection concerns.
If someone is visiting your school frequently, consider including them in your regular child protection training.
Our child protection in schools online training course will help visitors feel confident in identifying the possible signs of abuse and neglect and understand the correct procedures for reporting concerns.
During the visit
When someone visits your school, request and check their identification. Log their name, organisation, who they are visiting and time of arrival and departure.
Give visitors a badge or pass that clearly identifies them as a visitor. This should be visible at all times. Visitors without an identification badge should be politely challenged by school staff.
Make sure reception staff are aware of any visitors you are expecting. Visitors should always make an appointment if possible. Make sure staff know what to do if an unplanned visitor arrives.
Give every visitor information about how they should report any safeguarding and child protection concerns. This should include:
- who the nominated child protection lead is and how to contact them
- information about whistleblowing.
If a visitor reports a concern, your nominated child protection lead should work with them to make the appropriate referrals to children’s social care.
If visitors will be working one-to-one with a child, make sure you put the necessary safeguarding measures in place.
> Read our practice examples about one-to-one working
> Find out more about lone working
Parents and carers
If parents are visiting your school to attend an event, such as a parents evening, sports day or play, they do not need to undergo vetting and barring checks.
But if parents and carers are acting in a voluntary capacity, for example as a classroom helper or school governor, the school should follow safer recruitment processes.