Information

Registration of independent schools: guidance for proprietors overseeing child protection and safeguarding arrangements

Guidance for proprietors who are obliged to ensure that their school is appropriately resourced and structured to safeguard the welfare of learners. This guidance has been developed in consultation with a number of stakeholders to support good practice in schools.


Annex A: proper person

The term proper person is used throughout part V of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (in particular, in sections 98A (5) and 99(1A)(g) and (h), which set out, among other things, that the Scottish Ministers (1) may not approve an application to register an independent school where either a proposed proprietor or proposed teacher is not a proper person and (2) may find a registered independent school objectionable where a proprietor or a teacher is not a proper person).

It has been considered appropriate to provide further clarity on what is meant by proper person and, therefore, additional detail has been below.

Proprietors:

  • A proprietor will not be considered a proper person where:
    (1) they are disqualified from being the proprietor of an independent school (by virtue of section 100(2)(e) of the 1980 Act); and / or
    (2) they have been barred from regulated work with children (by virtue of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007).
  • Where a proposed proprietor is not a proper person, the Scottish Ministers will (in the case of an application to register a new school) refuse the application.
  • Where a proprietor at an extant school is found not to be a proper person, the Scottish Ministers will consider whether the school is objectionable, or at risk of becoming so, on the grounds set out in section 99(1A)(g) of the 1980 Act and regulatory action (such as imposing conditions on the running of the school) will very likely follow.

Teachers:

  • A teacher will not be considered a proper person where:
    (1) they are disqualified from being a teacher at an independent school (by virtue of section 100(2)(e) of the 1980 Act); and / or
    (2) they have been barred from regulated work with children (by virtue of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007); and / or
    (3) they are a ‘prescribed person’ (i.e. not registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland as set out in the Registration of Independent Schools (Prescribed Person) (Scotland) Regulations 2017).
  • Where a proposed teacher is not a proper person, the Scottish Ministers will (in the case of an application to register a new school) refuse the application.
  • Where a teacher at an extant school is found not to be a proper person, the Scottish Ministers will consider whether the school is objectionable, or at risk of becoming so, on the grounds set out in section 99(1A)(h) of the 1980 Act and regulatory action (such as imposing conditions on the running of the school) will very likely follow.

As proprietors should appreciate, it is vital – and obligatory – for all proprietors, teachers, and other staff to be PVG Scheme Members (to ensure that no individual at the school is barred from regulated work) and that all teachers are appropriately registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (and that any other staff, such as care staff, are appropriately registered with the appropriate regulatory body). Such checks must be included as part of the school’s robust recruitment practices.

Where a school identifies an individual who is not a proper person, the school must respond quickly in accordance with their own policies and inform the Registrar of Independent Schools; no individual who is not a proper person should be permitted to carry out the role of proprietor or teacher.

Contact

Email: independentschools@educationscotland.gov.scot

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