SCHOOL BAN FOR MORE SEX OFFENDERS (Three sex offenders who are currently free to work in schools should be banned, independent advisers have told the education secretary in England)

The three are among 56 individuals whom the Department of Education had considered banning since 1997.  On Wednesday Education Secretary Ruth Kelly introduced new child protection measures - including banning those cautioned for more minor sex offenses.  She said last month that the 56 individuals had been considered by her department for a ban since 1997 but not put on its proscribed list - List 99.  These included some individuals on the sex offenders register and others who had committed offenses prior to its existence.  Thirteen of these cases were still being assessed by the police and ten had been judged to pose no risk to children.  She announced measures which have been included in the new Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill - including setting up a panel of independent child protection experts to decide on barring individuals from working with children.  There will be a single, online list of individuals banned from working in schools, replacing the current List 99 held by her department, as well as lists held by the police and the department for health.  It will be continuously updated with new information and employers will be required to check the status of new members of staff.