Authors now excluded from schools vetting scheme

<p>Authors are to be excluded from the controversial plans to impose criminal record checks on any adults who have regular contact with children, after the proposed laws were watered down in a response to widespread criticism.</p><p>The Vetting and Barring Scheme was expected to include about 11m people working with children to undergo the checks, which would have included authors giving readings in schools. </p><p>However, changes announced over the weekend will mean, for example, that only those working with the same children once a week, rather than once a month, will be included in the scheme. The changes mean 2m fewer people should be affected. </p><p>A number of children&#39;s authors have welcomed the changes. <em>Northern Lights </em>author Philip Pullman told the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8410912.stm" target="_blank">BBC</a> he welcomed the changes, although added the regulations remained &quot;fundamentally unhealthy&quot;. The<em> Times</em> runs with the headline &#39;<a href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article6955257.ece" target="_blank">Philip Pullman claims success as criminal vetting proposal dropped&#39;.</a> </p><p>Meanwhile, the <em>Daily Telegraph</em> reports this morning that schools secretary Ed Balls is now <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6804311/Ed-Balls-pre... target="_blank">&quot;under pressure to rethink the entire scheme&quot;. </a></p><p><a href="../news/90936-child-safety-checks-are-like-section-28-says-pullman.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/90936-child-safety-checks-are-like-sec... Bookseller</em> broke the news back in July that authors were concerned by the proposed legislation.</a> Pullman said then it was &quot;Labour&#39;s Section 28&quot;.</p>