Safer recruitment is an important aspect of keeping children and young people safe from harm in our schools and colleges.
Safer Recruitment Training
Andrew Hall is an accredited Safer Recruitment Trainer and leads this workshops in schools across England and Wales. You can find out more information by clicking the video to the right.
DBS Checks: New starters
I am often asked whether a new member of staff can start before their Enhanced DBS check is seen in school. ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ says ‘Where a school or college allows an individual to start work in regulated activity before the DBS certificate is available, then they should ensure that the individual is appropriately supervised and that all other checks, including a separate barred list check, have been completed’ (paragraph 58).
It is best practice to complete a risk assessment for staff that fall into this category and I have developed a suitable pro-forma to help you with this.
Risk Assessment for New Starters without DBS Certificates (MS Word*)
* Available to Safeguarding.Pro members only
Another question I am often asked concerns references for new staff. Safer Recruitment tells us that every person employed in schools should have two references. Ofsted are certainly being very thorough in checking whether schools are obtaining them. A number of schools to my knowledge have been heavily criticised for lacking one (or both) for all members of staff.
It is not always easy to get references for staff (especially retrospectively), but it would be as well to go through all your staff and ensure that where references are missing, you make some attempt to get them. Remember to document what steps you have taken to try to chase references and keep this in the personnel file.
Many employers appear to become more reticent to send out meaningful references, but make sure that your recruitment systems are robust and that you continue to pursue that elusive reference.
Further reading: Teacher References – James Lynas (Schools Week)
Teacher and TA Registration in Wales
I have recently completed a safeguarding review in a school in Wales, where the law and guidance is different to that in England. These legal differences mean that the Single Central Record looks different too. The key safeguarding document for schools in Wales is called ‘Keeping Learners Safe’ and the required columns on the SCR are set out on page 86. In Wales, all teachers must be registered with the General Teaching Council of Wales (GTWC) and so this check must appear on the SCR. However, from 1st April 2016, a new body will replace the GTWC called the Education Workforce Council (EWC) and teaching assistant will also need to be registered.
Prohibition Check Loophole
My work in Wales identified a loophole in the vetting of staff which it is important to bear in mind. The Employer Access Service is only available to schools in England. School staff who are prohibited could apply for work in a school in Wales, who wouldn’t be able to check the teacher’s background. However, schools in England can check whether a teacher has been disciplined in Wales by searching the GTCW’s public database here: https://www.myewc.wales/en/member-of-public/current-expired-disc-orders