Nearly 3000 teaching applicants have criminal convictions, reports TLTP
Nearly three thousand teachers in London with, between them, more than 8000 criminal convictions, including soliciting as a prostitute, gross indecency and sexual assault, have applied for teaching jobs since the start of last year, according to new research from independent education recruitment agency, TLTP Education (The London Teaching Pool).
The figures released by TLTP, following a Freedom of Information request to the Disclosure and Barring Authority, which conducts criminal record checks for schools, reported that 2,892 applications had been made covering 8,004 separate criminal convictions. These may have included people applying for head teacher and deputy head teacher positions as well as those applying to teaching and teaching assistant jobs.
The data shows that the most common convictions were for shoplifting (754) and driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol (709), but also included 199 counts of causing actual bodily harm, 127 counts of common assault and 126 counts of possessing a controlled drug. Other convictions included possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, grievous bodily harm, carrying a firearm with intent to commit an offence, being drunk while in charge of a child, and violent disorder. Some of the applicants may already have been working in a school at the time of their application for another job. The figures do not show how many of those with criminal convictions were taken on.
Darryl Mydat, managing director of TLTP Education, said, “These statistics are alarming especially as we don’t know how many of these people were successful with their applications as this information is held by individual schools.
“However, it does underline the importance of solid background checks on candidates. Even though responsibility for recruitment of teachers has been passed to individual schools, we still see some confusion about where schools can turn for support and information, particularly on issues like regulatory changes.
“With demand for teachers outstripping supply it may be tempting to take a candidate who, on paper, looks impressive but without the robust recruitment, selection and vetting processes that a bona fide recruitment agency would deploy before allowing them to start working in a school.”