Government action needed to make sure criminal record checks are carried out on Fenland teachers

URGENT Government action is being called for to make sure Criminal Record Bureau checks are carried out on all teachers being employed in local schools.

The call comes from a Cambridge based teaching recruiter after it was revealed that some schools in the area are taking serious risks by not checking the criminal records of teachers before employing them.

Adam Shulman, Director of Simply Education, said: “The Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks procedure might be robust, but the process of making sure they are carried out is certainly not. The Government needs to implement a set of rules that must be strictly adhered to and penalties if they are not.”

His comments follow the recent report from the Cambridgeshire County Council’s audit and accounts committee highlighting failures in the system.

Mr Shulman said: “It isn’t only schools that are cutting serious corners. Some education recruiters are doing it too.

“We are an agency that has received a 100 per cent audit rate for the past two years from the Department of Education and Skills, so knowing that other recruiters are letting the industry down by placing candidates at schools either without a check or before a check has been processed, is very frustrating.

“If these rogue recruiters continue doing what they are doing, they will have a damaging effect on both the schools and agencies that are following protocol.”

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Ben Goldsmith, Director of teaching agency ANZ UK Teachers, agrees that clear guidelines need to be set.

He said: “There should be one set of guidance from the Government for everybody who is involved with hiring individuals in the education sector including councils, individual education establishments and agencies.

“The process needs clarity and simplification. That way everybody does things by the book and no one can get confused.”

Mr Shulman believes that those not carrying out the fundamental checks should endure some kind of punishment. He says: “Putting in place some form of repercussion would definitely make people think twice before taking unnecessary risks.”

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