Schools across Rutherglen and Cambuslang could be facing a potential Santa shortage.
In February 2011, the Scottish Government introduced a new membership scheme to replace the previous disclosure arrangements for people who work with vulnerable groups.
But as the previous disclosures expire, they are having to be replaced by Protection of Vulnerable Group (PVG) certificates.
This means many schools face a race against time to find Santas who have been approved by the new scheme for school festive events. The PVG checks also cost £59 each, adding an extra cost to the financial constraints facing PTAs and parent councils across the area.
The Reformer understands an event at St Columbkille’s Primary School had to be cancelledbecause they didn’t have enough parent helpers who are PVG approved. One concerned parent who contacted us, and who asked not to be identified, said: “We have been told by South Lanarkshire Council that our old disclosures will have to be upgraded to the new PVGs, which cost £59 a time.
“At the moment, the council are paying for some people to go through it, but it’s already causing problems.
“How many schools have relied on parents for Santas at their Christmas fayres, and are now finding they can’t comealong because they don’t have the new approval?
“Some schools have libraries which are run by volunteers, and if they don’t have the PVG, then the library will have toclose.
“And the same goes for otherextra-curricular activities which parents might run, such as cinema clubs, and so on.”
South Lanarkshire Council insisted that their education department will continue to help schools and pay for appropriate people to receive PVGs, which will last for three years.
A spokesman said: “Education resources encourages the involvement of parents and members of the community in supporting and taking part in school events and activities.
“However, we need to ensure thatwhen adults are engaging directly with children and young people they are subject to appropriate checks through the Protection of Vulnerable Group disclosure scheme. Our key priority is always the care and welfare of children and young people. Where a parent helper is volunteering as part of their own personal development such as to complete a training course or for career progression, this will not be paid for by the council.
“Other checks on potential parent helper volunteers are paid for.
“However we do ask head teachers to apply reasonableness to the volume of requests made each year.
“It can also take a few weeks for the process to be completed.”