One of the main reasons that the CRB and subsequent DBS checks were introduced was to protect those who are vulnerable from those who may not be in a responsible position to look after them. And of course, that means, amongst other things, protecting children.
Before the safeguarding process, there were some horror stories of people who had managed to get positions of employment looking after children in educational settings and abusing their power of trust, sometimes committing horrendous crimes.
This is what brought the need for what was then called ‘List 99’ so that there was a central list of people who should not be allowed to work with children.
Do I need a DBS check?
As a result, if you’re working in any position in a school setting you need to undergo and pass an enhanced DBS check and a barred list check. This is regardless of whether you’re a full-time teacher, a teaching assistant, a supply teacher, a dinner lady, or a caretaker.
Because all of these positions mean that you’ll be supporting and working directly with children. There should also be a very stringent recruitment process in place to also ensure that anyone applying for a job who isn’t suitable to work with children isn’t allowed access to the establishment.
How long do DBS checks last?
Most schools across the country will ask you to renew your DBS check every three years. The DBS checks in themselves don’t have any set expiry date, however, the recommendation is that schools constantly update their checks so that any new offenses can be picked up promptly and not go unnoticed.
It’s also recommended, of course, to subscribe to the update service should you be a supply teacher for example, where you might need to prove your DBS certificate to different educational establishments.
Will a conviction stop me from being able to teach?
Although you may think if you’ve got a conviction, there’s no chance at all of you being able to teach, that’s not necessarily the case. A criminal record doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t apply to be a teacher. But, of course, it all depends on the nature of the offense.
For minor offenses, these usually aren’t regarded by most educational establishments to be serious enough to stop you from applying. However, serious convictions such as dealing drugs, violence, or any previous dismissals will usually be regarded as serious enough to stop you from applying.
How does it work?
If you are going to apply for a job in teaching, as you will have understood by now, you’re going to need to go through an enhanced DBS check. But you don’t have to apply for it yourself. Rather the school or educational establishment that you’re applying to will apply for it on your behalf.
Typically the turnaround for enhanced DBS checks is a lot quicker than that of standard DBS checks. When you have received the check back you will then be provided with your DBS certificate. Then, if you sign up to the DBS update service you will have a readily accessible certificate for any other employers to see should you be unsuccessful in your job application.
The update services
If you’re in teaching or applying for roles, you should sign up for the update service. You will need to have already had an application for a DBS check put through and subsequently have received your DBS certificate as a result.
You’ll need your certificate number to sign up for the update service. You will then be able to have the certificate on hand online for any future prospective employers to check at a moment’s notice, speeding the whole process up.
It’s important in any environment where someone is looking after someone else that the right checks are made. Within a school our educational environment this is particularly important.
Children are easily influenced and particularly vulnerable and in recent years before DBS checks became compulsory, some people had managed to get jobs working in schools that in fact should have been nowhere near the school at all.
And so, it’s quite understandable that DBS checks are crucial for the welfare of children in teaching environments and if you’re going to apply for a job in teaching or any role within a school or educational environment you’ll be subject to a DBS check which you need to pass in order to be able to teach.