Questions over offenders applying for school posts

Questions over offenders applying for school posts

Questions over offenders applying for school posts

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

PEOPLE with convictions of assault, arson, and possession of drugs have applied to work at West Dorset schools – but education chiefs can’t tell us how many made it into the classroom.

The Echo has learned that 42 people with criminal convictions have applied to work in positions such as headteacher, teacher, classroom assistant and lunchtime supervisor since 2012 in schools between Puddletown and Lyme Regis.

Eight of those flagged up on the Disclosure and Barring Service database were convicted of drink driving.

Four have a criminal conviction for stealing from their employer.

Officials do not know how many of these people were taken on because recruitment is often up to individual schools.

In the UK there are certain crimes which automatically ban people from working in schools. But with the majority of convictions, applicants are able to explain themselves to a potential employer.

Angela Burr, Dorset County Council’s safeguarding standards advisor, said: “Since June 2013, DBS certificates will be seen only by the school recruiting to a post, not the county council, and it is the responsibility of the school to determine the suitability of an applicant.

“The law does not allow for blanket policies that say no-one with a criminal record can be employed.

“Just because an individual has a criminal conviction, this does not in itself mean that he or she is a risk to, or unsuitable to work with, children.

“Some offences will clearly preclude an individual from working or volunteering with children but for others the context of the conviction is important – for example, how long ago it was, how old was the person at the time, whether it was an isolated incident, whether person showed remorse, and so on.

“The government is clear in its new guidance: ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ that schools and governing bodies must act reasonably in making decisions about the suitability of the prospective employee.”

That same guidance says schools do not need to obtain an Enhanced DBS check – the highest level of disclosure – if the candidate has worked in a school or environment that brought them in to close contact with children or in any post in a school or college in the last three months.

But the new employer can request one if there are concerns.

In Britain there is a list of crimes which automatically bans people from working with children; for example, child sex offences, murder and kidnap.

Margaret Morrissey, of Parents Outloud, pictured left, said the government should engage more with schools to find out how many have employed people with convictions.

She said: “The excuse could be ‘I’m not like that, I just got drunk and made a mistake one time’.

“But that’s not acceptable when you want to work in an environment with children.

“The government needs to look closely at this and think about what the expectations should be.

“Being in the education profession is not just about a teaching degree; it’s about the way you live your life, the standards you uphold.

“There needs to be a discussion between the government and school governors who are involved with hiring and firing and see what the situation is so we can lift expectations.”

Comments (7)

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11:10am Tue 22 Jul 14

shy talk says...

All people applying to work with children should have an Enhanced DBS check as standard procedure. The check will also show if you have been charged and been to court but not found guilty. And also you can seek further advice from the Chief Constable as to a person’s background check criminal record or court appearance.
All people applying to work with children should have an Enhanced DBS check as standard procedure. The check will also show if you have been charged and been to court but not found guilty. And also you can seek further advice from the Chief Constable as to a person’s background check criminal record or court appearance. shy talk
  • Score: 4

12:31pm Tue 22 Jul 14

MadMicke12 says...

shy talk wrote:
All people applying to work with children should have an Enhanced DBS check as standard procedure. The check will also show if you have been charged and been to court but not found guilty. And also you can seek further advice from the Chief Constable as to a person’s background check criminal record or court appearance.
"The check will also show if you have been charged and been to court but not found guilty"

This has to be wrong as once you are found 'NOT GUILTY', either on summary trial or full jury trial, your record is clean, and I would advise anyone that has previous 'not guilty' verdicts, whose record is disclosed on that basis to consider taking the government to the high court on the basis that this is bad law. If you are found not guilty in any court in this land, you are then presumed to have no record of convictions.

Then only caveat to this must be in the case of then being convicted of a similar offence further down the line. That is the only time that previous 'not guilty' verdicts should be mentioned on advanced disclosures.

If acquittals are part and parcel of the advanced disclosure system then that would pre-suppose a number of perspective employers to have doubts about that persons suitability, doubts that really have no place in a society where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

I fully and wholeheartedly support the protection of children from the risks associated with people with past convictions, but that is the point, they have been CONVICTED, not ACQUITTED.
[quote][p][bold]shy talk[/bold] wrote: All people applying to work with children should have an Enhanced DBS check as standard procedure. The check will also show if you have been charged and been to court but not found guilty. And also you can seek further advice from the Chief Constable as to a person’s background check criminal record or court appearance.[/p][/quote]"The check will also show if you have been charged and been to court but not found guilty" This has to be wrong as once you are found 'NOT GUILTY', either on summary trial or full jury trial, your record is clean, and I would advise anyone that has previous 'not guilty' verdicts, whose record is disclosed on that basis to consider taking the government to the high court on the basis that this is bad law. If you are found not guilty in any court in this land, you are then presumed to have no record of convictions. Then only caveat to this must be in the case of then being convicted of a similar offence further down the line. That is the only time that previous 'not guilty' verdicts should be mentioned on advanced disclosures. If acquittals are part and parcel of the advanced disclosure system then that would pre-suppose a number of perspective employers to have doubts about that persons suitability, doubts that really have no place in a society where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I fully and wholeheartedly support the protection of children from the risks associated with people with past convictions, but that is the point, they have been CONVICTED, not ACQUITTED. MadMicke12
  • Score: 9

12:53pm Tue 22 Jul 14

shy talk says...

Totally agree MadMicke12, read the link below.

http://www.nacro.org
.uk/what-we-do/reset
tlement-advice-servi
ce/support-for-indiv
iduals/advice/freque
ntly-asked-questions
/criminal-records-an
d-dbs-crb-checks,161
6,NAP.html#6
Totally agree MadMicke12, read the link below. http://www.nacro.org .uk/what-we-do/reset tlement-advice-servi ce/support-for-indiv iduals/advice/freque ntly-asked-questions /criminal-records-an d-dbs-crb-checks,161 6,NAP.html#6 shy talk
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Tue 22 Jul 14

La Vigneron says...

An emotive subject and one which comes under the aegis of 'no smoke without fire'. Simply because a person has been acquitted does not, necessarily, mean they are not guilty. Juries a notoriously fickle!
Nor, obviously, does it mean that the verdict was incorrect. Interview with a responsible senior staff member and references from at least three members of the public and an 'approved' note, signed by the senior staff member who conducted the interview should suffice.
Regrettably, in the prevailing culture in which we live, the attitude of senior staff, in virtually any enterprise is, we apologise to those hurt, inconvenienced or killed by the incident; lessons will be learned (some hope there) but we/I am not responsible!!
In the words of the prophet: Wake up and smell the roses!
An emotive subject and one which comes under the aegis of 'no smoke without fire'. Simply because a person has been acquitted does not, necessarily, mean they are not guilty. Juries a notoriously fickle! Nor, obviously, does it mean that the verdict was incorrect. Interview with a responsible senior staff member and references from at least three members of the public and an 'approved' note, signed by the senior staff member who conducted the interview should suffice. Regrettably, in the prevailing culture in which we live, the attitude of senior staff, in virtually any enterprise is, we apologise to those hurt, inconvenienced or killed by the incident; lessons will be learned (some hope there) but we/I am not responsible!! In the words of the prophet: Wake up and smell the roses! La Vigneron
  • Score: -3

8:44am Wed 23 Jul 14

southwellman says...

If on the sex offenders list then obviously not a hope.. But every one makes the odd mistake in life and if they have paid for it in either time served or a fine then why not apply for a position? It does not mean that person will get a job!
If on the sex offenders list then obviously not a hope.. But every one makes the odd mistake in life and if they have paid for it in either time served or a fine then why not apply for a position? It does not mean that person will get a job! southwellman
  • Score: 1

4:31pm Wed 23 Jul 14

toyota777 says...

There will soon have to be a special laboratory bred group of people who are immune to any form of addiction and kept away from all sources of anti-social wrongdoing ie drinking, cigarette smoking, partaking in sexual activities of any kind, gambling,,swearing, gum chewing, spitting ,speeding, etc etc etc to do these sort of jobs, unless it's in government or entertainment then anything goes, it seems.
There will soon have to be a special laboratory bred group of people who are immune to any form of addiction and kept away from all sources of anti-social wrongdoing ie drinking, cigarette smoking, partaking in sexual activities of any kind, gambling,,swearing, gum chewing, spitting ,speeding, etc etc etc to do these sort of jobs, unless it's in government or entertainment then anything goes, it seems. toyota777
  • Score: 1

8:33am Thu 24 Jul 14

La Vigneron says...

toyota777 wrote:
There will soon have to be a special laboratory bred group of people who are immune to any form of addiction and kept away from all sources of anti-social wrongdoing ie drinking, cigarette smoking, partaking in sexual activities of any kind, gambling,,swearing, gum chewing, spitting ,speeding, etc etc etc to do these sort of jobs, unless it's in government or entertainment then anything goes, it seems.
There is!!
They're called priests.
[quote][p][bold]toyota777[/bold] wrote: There will soon have to be a special laboratory bred group of people who are immune to any form of addiction and kept away from all sources of anti-social wrongdoing ie drinking, cigarette smoking, partaking in sexual activities of any kind, gambling,,swearing, gum chewing, spitting ,speeding, etc etc etc to do these sort of jobs, unless it's in government or entertainment then anything goes, it seems.[/p][/quote]There is!! They're called priests. La Vigneron
  • Score: 0

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