Industry hub focus series: Screening requirements in Education.

Industry hub focus series: Screening requirements in Education.

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) is an executive agency of the Department for Education and they’re responsible for regulating the teaching profession. Regulated activity in education is anything unsupervised with children, including teaching, training, caring for or supervising, providing advice and guidance on wellbeing or driving a vehicle only for children.

The TRA regulate activity by keeping a record of teachers so that education providers can complete pre-employment checks, and by awarding qualified teacher and early years teacher status. They also investigate and keep records on all cases of misconduct in the teaching profession, working closely with the Secretary of State to decide whether or not someone should be prohibited from teaching or working with children.

Recruiting anyone without undergoing the proper checks is a serious offence and puts children and young people in schools and college in danger, so it’s important to make sure you’re only hiring the people who can be trusted.

At Reed Screening, we understand that apart from the statutory obligations you must adhere to and the rightly heavy penalties for breaching them, there is a far greater moral imperative to ensure that the staff you employ hold to the highest standards of professional and ethical integrity.

So what do you need to check before you make your hire?

For the education industry, the majority of screening is informed by the Department for Education’s statutory guidance on Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) and Working Together to Safeguard Children.

We’ve outlined the checks you’ll need to run below.

Verification of identity checks: Verification of identity checks are done to essentially confirm that the applicant is who they say they are and require photo ID and proof of address.

Right to work checks: This check is to determine that the applicant has the legal right to work in the UK and, again, requires proof through documentation.

Self-declaration: Before an appointment is made, you should ask shortlisted candidates to complete a self-declaration of their criminal record or information that would make them unsuitable to work with children. This can include any criminal history, whether they’re on the barred list or prohibited/disqualified from teaching or providing childcare, or if they’re prohibited from taking part in the management of an independent school. This shouldn’t be used to decide who to shortlist but can be discussed at interview before the DBS certificate is received.

References: It’s recommended that schools and colleges obtain references from past employers before interview so that you can explore any concerns or issues with the candidate. References should be from current or most recent employers, so it’s also a good idea to complete an employment history check to verify that the information provided is accurate.

Enhanced DBS check and disqualifications: You’ll need to get an enhanced DBS check to make sure that the candidate is suitable to work with children and young people. A criminal record doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidate shouldn’t work with children, but getting the check will identify any offences that would disqualify this kind of work. It’s important to remember as well that if you’re using the update service, you’ll still need to obtain the original certificate.

In addition to DBS checks, all schools and colleges providing childcare must ensure that they’re checking that anyone working in reception classes or in wraparound care for children up to the age of 8 are not disqualified under the 2018 Childcare Disqualification Regulations.

TRA’s Employer Access Service: You should also use the TRA’s Employer Access Service to check that:

  • anyone working in a regulated activity with children before the DBS certificate is available isn’t on the Children’s Barred list. This doesn’t apply to 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers
  • any candidate applying for a teaching role has qualified teacher status (QTS) and has completed teacher induction or probation
  • an applicant of a teaching role isn’t subject to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State by the GTCE before it was abolished in March 2012. A prohibition order is a lifetime ban on teaching made to protect pupils, maintain public confidence in the teaching profession and uphold standards. More information on prohibition orders can be found in the TRA’s guidance here.
  • anyone taking up a management role (including governor, trustee or member) in an independent school, academy or free school isn’t subject to a section 128 direction made by the Secretary of State. A section 128 direction is issued when someone has been convicted, cautioned or has done something that means they’re unsuitable for a management role. This can include conviction of an offence under military disciplinary proceedings; being found not guilty of an offence by reason of insanity; conduct in breach of professional standards by a professional body; or conduct that is aimed at undermining British values. The full list of grounds is set out in regulation 2 of The Independent Educational Provision in England (Prohibition on Participation in Management) Regulations 2014. More information on how section 128 affects someone’s ability to take on the role of a manager, governor or trustee in education can be found here.

How can we help?

Reed Screening provides screening packages designed specifically for the needs of the education industry, with packages pre-tailored to mitigate risk when hiring for popular roles such as maintenance, hospitality and facilities staff, finance and admin staff, or teachers, lecturers and support staff. We cover everything from permanent hires and fixed term contractors, to temporary/agency supply chain.

We can assure you that all your workers are screened to the high standard you need to ensure that your establishment is operating safely, efficiently and with appropriately qualified, responsible, and reliable staff.

Click here to find out more about our education pre-screening packages and get in touch today to see how we can help you.