Guide for Teachers and DBS Checks during COVID-19

DBS-checked teacher helping student with work

DBS Checks for Teachers

Many industries have suffered significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These unprecedented past few months have caused uncertainty and the cases have caused incredible strain on NHS hospitals, care homes and much more. One sector which has also been hit particularly hard is education. 

Numerous teaching staff have had to be furloughed, or in worse cases, made redundant. What’s more, as a new term draws increasingly closer, all schools are going to be reopening, with social distancing measures in place. This is to ensure the protection of all pupils and teachers from coronavirus. 

Another conundrum schools are facing is their growing need for additional teaching staff, to cope with the demands that the September 2020 term will undoubtedly bring.

Essentially, new teaching staff, whether for schools, nurseries, universities or even in tutoring roles, will need to apply for a DBS check.

DBS checks for teaching staff are mandatory, as they are for many organisations. Formerly known as CRB checks, these analyse and detail any convictions or offences that a current or potential applicant may have within a specific time frame. 

The three levels of DBS check are:

For schools, almost every staff member is required to apply for an Enhanced DBS check, due to them having to work closely (often unsupervised) with children for large periods of time. 

 

Can Teachers Still Apply for DBS Checks?

Yes, new teachers can apply for a DBS online in the usual way. If they are in the process of applying for a new role, that institution (or in some cases, its governing body) can request an Enhanced DBS application for them. However, the only DBS check individuals can apply for on their own, is a Basic DBS check, which only shows unspent convictions. This is simply not sufficient for the majority of roles in schools.

For those members of staff who are already employed with a school, and who already have an Enhanced DBS check on file, there is no requirement to apply for a DBS again.

Just for clarity, the government has stated that there is no expectation a new DBS application should be requested if an already-vetted teacher temporarily moves schools to provide support. The onus is on schools to ensure all staff, temporary or otherwise, have had the required DBS checks carried out. 

 

What COVID-19 Means for Safeguarding in Schools 

The ways in which schools and other educational institutions will operate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will obviously be different from what they’re used to. As more children return to school, many of the safeguarding principles remain the same:

  • Children’s best interests should be the number one priority.
  • Any safeguarding concerns should be acted upon immediately.
  • A Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) should be available.
  • Unsuitable people should not be allowed access to children.
  • Children should still remain protected when they are online.

The last two points in particular, highlight why a valid DBS check should be carried out on all new members of staff. Even with new procedures to protect children and staff from coronavirus, employers have a duty to ensure all staff are suitable to work with children. It is a legal requirement that anyone new to the school premises should apply for an Enhanced DBS check, with an additional Barred List check, to guarantee child safety.

 

Changes to DBS Checks Guidelines

The Disclosure and Barring Service itself has introduced some temporary ID checking guidelines for all criminal records checks. These changes have been made to minimise face-to-face contact, and they enable ID documents to be verified via video link, or by validating a scanned document. The applicant will be required to produce the original documents when they start their employment, or volunteer role.

One further update has recently been made, which allows expired UK passports to be used temporarily for DBS identity check purposes.

 

Bulk DBS Checks for Schools

For employers who require multiple DBS checks before the start of September, registering with us can be a simple and cost-effective solution. We offer our clients a Fast Track DBS service which allows you to process numerous DBS applications at once, and monitor their progress.

As far as DBS checks for individuals, volunteers and those who are self-employed, you can only apply for a Basic DBS check yourself. If you have been requested by your employer to apply for a Standard DBS check or higher, you can also do so via our portal.

More information can be found on our DBS check FAQs page.

Speak to us directly if you have any questions.

 

Posted in blog, DBS Check