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Education recruiters call for urgent Government action on CRB checks

Education recruiters call for urgent Government action on CRB checks
The Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks procedure might be robust, but the process of making sure they are carried out is certainly not, says Adam Shulman, Director of Cambridge based teaching recruiter Simply Education. The government needs to implement a set of rules that must be strictly adhered to and penalties if they are not.
His comment follows the recent report from the Cambridgeshire County Councils audit and accounts committee that revealed some schools in the area were taking serious risks, by failing to check the criminal records of teachers before employing them.
It isnt only schools that are cutting serious corners, he says. Some education recruiters are doing it too. We are an agency that has received a 100% audit rate for the past two years from the Department of Education and Skills, so knowing that other recruiters are letting the industry down by placing candidates at schools either without a check or before a check has been processed, is very frustrating. If these rogue recruiters continue doing what they are doing, they will have a damaging effect on both the schools and agencies that are following protocol.
Ben Goldsmith, Director of teaching agency ANZ UK Teachers, based in London and Australia, agrees that clear guidelines need to be set. He comments: There should be one set of guidance from the government for everybody who is involved with hiring individuals in the education sector including councils, individual education establishments and agencies. The process needs clarity and simplification. That way everybody does things by the book and no one can get confused.
Simply Educations Shulman believes that those not carrying out the fundamental checks should endure some kind of punishment. He says: Putting in place some form of repercussion would definitely make people think twice before taking unnecessary risks.
Both recruiters say that in their experience, agencies are ahead of the game - they keep their fingers on the pulse of the forever changing regulations and legislations, whereas some schools dont. Many are either unaware of the security checks or they require educating on their importance. Some schools I have been in contact with have told me that they dont have the time to keep up with the changes in legislation or carry out CRB checks, says ANZ UKs Goldsmith. This is just not an excuse - past events should be enough for schools and agencies to make this their top priority. We renew our CRBs every 12 months as best practice to ensure every individual working within education is tracked and updated.
Both Shulman and Goldsmith agree that the government needs to start educating schools and the agencies by instigating a mandatory training programme for all those involved in the teacher hiring process. Setting realistic procedures and ensuring people abide by them is paramount, says Shulman. The failings and excuses have been going on for far too long now. The government needs to take action immediately.


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