Keeping Children Safe in Education - Recruitment, selection and pre-employment vetting
LSC Education is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. We ask all our candidates and clients to share this commitment.
At LSC Education we aim to ensure that our processes and systems operate in line with guidance from the UK’s Department for Education, for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. These guidelines are issued under Section 175, Education Act 2002, the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 as amended by SI 2012/2962 and the Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011.
The Department for Education states that, in keeping children safe in education, it is vital that schools and colleges create a culture of safe recruitment and adopt recruitment procedures that help deter, reject, or identify people who might abuse children.
Much of the advice we give below is based upon that of the Department for Education in the UK, however most of it can and should be applied to schools recruiting in other countries and where possible we have identified sources for obtaining information about candidates who live and work in other countries.
LSC Education aims to work alongside employers whether they are organisations, governing bodies or proprietors, to support them in ensuring that they act reasonably in making decisions about the suitability of the prospective employee based on checks and evidence including criminal background checks, barred list checks and prohibition checks together with references and interview information.
It is advised that all employers ensure that a series of pre-employment checks are carried out. Any offer of an appointment to a successful candidate must be conditional upon satisfactory completion of pre-employment checks.
During the recruitment process, there are a number of things to consider and do;
DURING THE ADVERTISING AND MARKETING STAGE:
- It is recommended to include a safeguarding statement in the advert and candidate pack to make it clear to all applicants that your organisation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and that if the applicant decides to apply for the role, they will need to be prepared to undergo relevant background checks.
- LSC Education asks candidates to make their application through a CV accompanied by a letter of application, as well as to complete a brief online form via the LSC Education website. However, we recommend that during the course of the recruitment process candidates are also asked to complete your own in-house employment application form.
- LSC Education asks all candidates to provide us with the names and contact details of three referees which need to include their current and past employers and line managers. Permission is always sought from the candidate before contacting their referees.
DURING THE INTERVIEW AND SHORT-LISTING PROCESS:
When checking the candidate’s employment history and references, it is recommended that the following should be borne in mind:
- Employers should always ask for written information about previous employment history and check that information is not contradictory or incomplete. If a candidate is not currently working in a school or education setting, it is advisable to check with their last employer, where they worked with children, to confirm details of their employment and their reasons for leaving.
- The purpose of seeking references is to obtain objective and factual information to support appointment decisions. References should always be obtained, scrutinised and any concerns resolved satisfactorily, before the appointment is confirmed. They should always be requested directly from the referee and employers should not rely on open references, for example in the form of ‘to whom it may concern’ testimonials.
- Ideally, references should be sought on all shortlisted candidates, including internal ones, before interview, so that any issues of concern they raise can be explored further with the referee, and taken up with the candidate at interview.
- On receipt, references should be checked to ensure that all specific questions have been answered satisfactorily. The referee should be contacted to provide further clarification as appropriate, for example if the answers are vague. They should also be compared for consistency with the information provided by the candidate on their application form. Any discrepancies should be taken up with the candidate.
- Any information about past disciplinary action or allegations should be considered carefully when assessing the applicant’s suitability for the post.
WHEN MAKING AN APPOINTMENT, AN EMPLOYER SHOULD:
- verify a candidate’s identity, preferably from current photographic ID and proof of address except where, for exceptional reasons, none is available;
- obtain a certificate for an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check with a barred list check where the person will be engaged in regulated activity.
- obtain a separate barred list check if an individual will start work in regulated activity before the DBS certificate is available.
NB. If you are an international school and need to obtain a DBS check on a candidate, this can be done through COBIS (Council of British International Schools). COBIS member schools and non-member schools can access the COBIS service administering Disclosure and Barring Service checks. The details of this service are at www.cobis.co.uk. Please follow this link.
- check that a candidate to be employed in a teaching capacity is not subject to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State, using the Employer Access Online service;
- verify the candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities. A job applicant can be asked relevant questions about disability and health in order to establish whether they have the physical and mental capacity for the specific role;
- verify the person’s right to work in the country of employment;
- verify professional qualifications, as appropriate.
Record-keeping following recruitment is crucial, as part of keeping children safe in education. The UK Department for Education requires all schools and colleges to keep a single central record, which is referred to as ‘the register’. The register must cover all staff working at the school or college, all those who are in regular contact with children (including volunteers) and for independent schools, all members of the proprietor body. The register needs to state whether the following checks have been carried out, whether certificates have been obtained, and the date on which the checks were completed:
- An identity check
- A barred list check
- An enhanced DBS check
- A prohibition from teaching check
- Any necessary further checks on people living or working outside the country
- A check on professional qualifications
- A check to establish the person’s right to work in the country.
It is important to remember that whether you are appointing someone from your country of employment or from overseas, all individuals must undergo the same checks as all other staff. In addition, any further appropriate checks must be made so that any relevant events that occurred outside your country can be considered.
If you need to make checks on candidates who have lived or worked in other countries, advice on the criminal record information which may be obtained from overseas police forces is published in the UK by the Home Office on their website. Please follow this link.
OUR COMMITTMENT TO KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE
When supporting you with recruiting a leader for your school or education organisation, at LSC Education we take our responsibility seriously to ensure that you are making a safe and successful appointment.
We are able to carry out some of the above mentioned checks for you and we carry out due diligence wherever possible, but others need to be conducted by you directly. We therefore ask for your support and collaboration in working with us to ensure that all checks are completed fully and to your satisfaction, before you make a confirmed offer of employment.