DBS Checks for School Trips

Think back to your own school days and the memories of school trips come flooding back. Who wouldn’t remember the time you went to the zoo, or when someone threw up on the bus on the way home? Happy days. When you become a parent however, those letters home from school asking for parent helpers take on a different feel. Do you want to help out on your child’s school trips, and don’t volunteers need DBS checks anyway?

Laws about school trips

There’s lots of legislation around school trips and as a parent helper you don’t need to worry about most of it. The teacher will do the risk assessment and make sure they have enough adults for the number of children. In general, older children require fewer adult helpers than smaller ones. Most schools run trips regularly, the staff are experienced and competent, and the places visited aren’t risky. As a parent helper you will not be asked to teach or lead the group. You’re just there as another pair of hands to keep the kids in order. Teachers are very grateful for the help in managing a class of over-excited children, and making sure that they don’t lose anyone along the way.

DBS and School Trips

It’s a common misconception that all helpers on school trips need DBS checks. The law about parent volunteers helping out in schools is fairly clear. Anyone who helps out on a “regular” basis needs an enhanced disclosure check. The definition of regularly is once a week, or more than three times in a month. Therefore, a parent who is only helping out once a term or less frequently on a school trip will not need to get a DBS certificate.

There are a couple of exceptions to this. If the school trip requires an overnight stay somewhere, then all adult helpers require an enhanced disclosure. Very few schools run trips of this type and if they do, they usually try to use teachers and other members of the school staff to help out. Parent volunteers who have not been DBS checked shouldn’t be left on their own with groups of children or individual children during the trip.

Regular volunteering in schools

If parents are helping out regularly in school then they will have a DBS check already. Parents who hear groups of children read on a weekly basis or who run after-school clubs can use the same disclosure certificate throughout the school. Often, these parents are the obvious choice when looking for volunteers to help out on trips. Schools are generally very up to speed with the law around DBS checking. This applies to both paid staff and volunteers, and schools know what to do get checks processed. If you have been asked to apply for a DBS to help out in your child’s school, we can answer any questions which you still have about the process.