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Recruitment failings in schools leaving children at risk

The Hull Daily Mail revealed that at least 33 members of staff in local schools have not yet been vetted to see if they are allowed to work in them. 

On the recent spate of failings by schools, Mark Beedles, managing director at Connex Education, says: “This is only the tip of the iceberg as schools and their chosen recruitment partners persist in cutting corners when it comes to undertaking DBS checks, obtaining references and right to work documents and, where appropriate, qualification certificates. 

“Gathering the right documentation and carrying out the appropriate checks is simple and necessary in order to ensure the safety of the children. The school’s reputation and, ultimately, the safety of the children, is in the hands of the school and its chosen recruitment partner. Failing to conduct candidate checks or failure to prove that candidate checks have been conducted is an offence and will result in severe response from Ofsted, and rightly so. The safety of children is paramount and there is no excuse for not carrying out these checks.

“When using a recruitment partner, schools must always obtain written confirmation from the agency that it has carried out the appropriate DBS checks and referencing prior to the appointment of the candidate. To ensure that the agency is not cutting corners and that the candidate is not deceiving the new employer, it is also best practice to confirm identification so that the person presenting themselves for work is the same person who was subjected to the checks.”

A reminder that recruitment check failings can impact a school’s coveted Ofsted ratings came this week as Rainbow Playgroup in Hastings, East Sussex, was warned by Ofsted and threatened with the cancellation of its registration after failing to provide the information needed to ensure the suitability of committee members which run the group. While all staff had been through the appropriate checks to clear them to work with children, members of the committee which runs the group had not. 

Mark continues: “Schools are not only responsible for verifying the appropriate DBS checks, right to work documentation and referencing of new regulated staff, but also for trainee teachers, supply teachers, unsupervised teachers or contract staff that may come into contact with children. 

“Any failings do not only impact the highly-valued Ofsted rating of a school, but potentially put the children attending that school at risk, as their safety is entrusted with the schools employees – whether temporary, permanent, assistant level or committee level.”

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