Criminal background checks for those working in the education sector
Criminality checking for those working in the educational sector is crucial to ensure the safety of children and staff. According to gov.uk, some 3450 of the 280,000 teachers and teaching assistants who applied for a DBS check during the year 2015/2016 were found to have convictions which may affect their ability to safely work around children. And recent news stories have reiterated the need for extensive screening when employing those who will be around the vulnerable.
Candidates for positions in the education sector will have regular contact with students and therefore stringent pre-employment checking is not only imperative but a legal requirement.
All candidates who will have access to children are required by law to have a full enhanced DBS check to ensure that they have not been banned or suspended from working with children. But it is not just teachers that are subject to this legislation; teaching assistants, administrative staff and regular volunteers are also subject to Enhanced DBS checks in order to comply with legislation.
The Enhanced DBS check is the highest level of check which reveals spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warnings, reprimands and any other relevant police data.
According to recent figures, up to 20% of the UK working age population has a criminal record. And with roles at schools constantly growing in order to alleviate pressure on over burdened teachers, background checking is essential for all candidates and volunteers to ensure that students and staff are protected from any potential harm.
Furthermore, with schools holding a position of such high responsibility, inadequate background checking could leave educational institutions vulnerable to litigation or damage to their reputation.
Following thorough screening, those hiring should consider applicants carefully to ensure that all staff are suited to the environment.
Criminal records checks can only be accurate at the time of the check. Candidates should be made aware of their contractual responsibilities to disclose any new or ongoing criminal investigations or proceedings during employment and it is prudent to regularly re-check current staff to ensure that their information is correct and up to date.