Stronger checks needed on applicants


A newspaper report which claimed that more than 1,500 teachers with criminal convictions, including paedophiles and attempted murderers, applied for jobs in schools in the past year reinforces the need for stronger checks in the application process, according to a leading education recruitment company.

The Daily Mail report suggested that candidates for teaching jobs last year included drug dealers, burglars, thieves, fraudsters, flashers and blackmailers.

The report cited a Freedom of Information Act request as revealing that around 100 head teachers had applied for new jobs even though they had criminal convictions including wounding, cottaging, ABH, theft, battery, burglary, benefit fraud, drugs offences, hit and runs, violent disorder and one even planned a bomb hoax.

In addition, the Daily Mail reported around 800 teachers and 600 teaching assistants with criminal records also asked schools for work in 2012.

The new follows the Department for Education’s decision to abolish the Quality Mark accreditation for recruitment companies. The scheme, which was developed as a joint initiative by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and the Department for Education (DfE) in July 2002, set minimum standards for agencies and local authorities.

These standards covered the way they recruit and interview supply teachers; the way they check and manage their performance; and the way they stay at the forefront of changes in the teaching sector.

Managing Director, Darryl Mydat, of The London Teaching Pool, said: “We were very disappointed at the DfE's decision to discontinue the Quality Mark. The high standards set by the Quality Mark helped schools choose agencies with the highest standards of recruitment practice and safeguarding of children.

“The closure of the Quality Mark gave us serious concerns regarding the safeguarding of children, without proper checks and audits."

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