Prohibition checks for people undertaking ‘teaching work’

Keeping Children Safe in Education (from September 2016) says:

Governing bodies and proprietors must act reasonably in making decisions about the suitability of the prospective employee based on checks and evidence including: criminal record checks (DBS checks), barred list checks and prohibition checks together with references and interview information. (Paragraph 86)

In addition to obtaining the DBS certificate described, anyone who is appointed to carry out teaching work will require an additional check to ensure they are not prohibited from teaching. (Paragraph 91)

What are teacher prohibition orders?

Teacher prohibition orders prevent a person from carrying out teaching work in schools, sixth form colleges, 16 to 19 academies, relevant youth accommodation and children’s homes in England.

(Source: Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012)

What is ‘teaching work’?

Teaching work means carrying out the following activities:

(a) planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils;

(b) delivering lessons to pupils, including online or distance learning;

(c) assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils; and

(d) reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils.

It is not ‘teaching work’ if the person carrying out the work does so under the direction of a teacher, for example, work undertaken by teaching assistants or volunteers. (Source: Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012)

Isn’t everyone carrying out ‘teaching work’ a qualified teacher?

No. Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is not a statutory requirement to teach in independent schools and free schools; and since November 2012 teachers in academies do not have to have QTS.

Which organisations need to check whether someone is Prohibited from teaching?

The following organisations must carry out this check and record they have done so on the Single Central Record:

  • Maintained Schools
  • Pupil Referral Units
  • Independent schools
  • Academies
  • Free Schools
  • Non-maintained special schools
  • Sixth Form Colleges

The check is not required for staff in Further Education colleges.

How do I complete the prohibition from teaching check?

(Edit 29/04/18 – note that from April 2018, the NCTL has been replaced by the Teaching Regulation Agency)

The prohibition from teaching check is completed by going to NCTL Teacher Services . Next click on ‘Employer Sign In’ at the bottom of the Employers section.


The next screen is the secure access page. All schools should have a login for secure access, if not go to the ‘secure access help page’.

Secure Access

After logging in to Secure Access, the screen will show a list of teachers linked to the organisation and input boxes ready for you to enter a person’s teacher number (TRN) and date of birth. To search for a teacher, both the teacher number and the date of birth is required.

Prohibition Check 2

At the time of writing, if the person does not have a teacher number (because they are not a qualified teacher, but are doing ‘teaching work’), you can only check if they are prohibited from teaching by manually looking at the whole list of prohibited teachers.

To see the whole list of prohibited teachers, click on the links to the right of the page. The lists are in alphabetical order, so the checks should be straightforward.

This page also allows organisations to check that people who are “engaged in management roles (in independent schools – including academies and free schools) are not prohibited under section 128 provisions. (Source: Keeping children safe in education (from September 2016))

Should teaching assistants and volunteers be checked whether they have been prohibited from teaching?

There is no statutory requirement to check anyone other than people carrying out ‘teaching work’ have been prohibited from teaching. However, there is a loophole in vetting, in that someone prohibited from teaching could apply for a post as a teaching assistant or volunteer and not declare it to the school.

In my opinion I think it is sensible to check on the prohibition from teaching list. This check could be completed after interview and any prohibition information found must not be used in the recruitment decision-making process. However, the prohibition information could then be used in a risk assessment about suitability to be employed. This check should not be recorded on the Single Central Record, but could form part of the evidence recorded on the the risk assessment. Schools in this situation should contact their HR or legal advisors.

Case study: Craig Lindsay

In 2015, Ofsted placed in school in special measures after it took on a volunteer who was a prohibited teacher. The teacher had been banned from teaching after grooming a pupil at the secondary school where he taught, and was jailed for 15 months in June 2011.

Ofsted wrote: ‘The school’s leaders did not make a well-considered assessment of risk before allowing a volunteer to work with children in the classroom. A risk assessment had not been suitably undertaken nor advice sought from the local authority before allowing the volunteer into school.’

Ofsted Report (June 2015):

Ofsted Report (January 2016):

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