DBS Checks For Trainee Teachers
Between 25,000 and 30,000 people enrol on teacher training courses in the UK each year. When people do their teaching practice they come into close direct contact with children on a daily basis and are placed in a position of responsibility.
Therefore, every trainee teacher must first apply for a DBS certificate before being allowed to work in a classroom, to check their criminal record for any relevant offences.
What level of DBS check does a student teacher need?
There are three levels of DBS check:
- Basic – for jobs with some responsibility, but not involving vulnerable groups, e.g. retail assistant, bank cashier, etc.
- Standard – for jobs that involve more responsibility or working indirectly with vulnerable people, e.g. accountants, solicitors, bar tenders, etc.
- Enhanced – for jobs that involve directly working with vulnerable people, e.g. hospital workers, care workers, etc.
- Enhanced DBS check with barred list – for jobs that involve working unsupervised with vulnerable adults or children or a role that the DBS defines as a regulated activity, e.g. teachers, nurses, doctors, etc.
Student teachers must apply for an enhanced DBS check with barred list. This is the most in-depth criminal record check that can be carried out. It checks for spent and unspent convictions, warnings, reprimands, cautions, any other relevant police notes, plus it also checks through the DBS barred list, which is a register of people that are banned from working with vulnerable adults or children.
What is the DBS barred list?
The barred list is a register that is kept up-to-date by the DBS and holds the names and details of people that have committed previous serious offences that means they are unfit to work with children or vulnerable adults.
The barred list check is used for people that are carrying out a regulated activity. In other words, it only applies to jobs that involve working directly with children or vulnerable adults, without any other adult supervision.
Do offenders stay on the barred list forever?
No. People that believe they have reformed their character and should be removed from the DBS barred list can request a review. The amount of time after the offence that they can request a review depends on how old they were when they committed the crime.
For example, if they were a minor at the time of the offence (aged 18 years old or younger), they can appeal their status on the barred list after one full year. However, if they were over the age of 25, they cannot request a review until ten years have elapsed.
How can a student teacher apply for a DBS check?
If you want to train to be a schoolteacher, you must enrol on a teacher training course or PGCE. To carry out your teaching practice in a school, you need an enhanced DBS check, but you cannot apply for this yourself. The school you will be working at, or the university or college you are training at, need to apply for the DBS check on your behalf.
You need to fill in the form and send it to the DBS, either by paper and post, or many schools use an online application process now to speed things up.
How long does the enhanced DBS check with barred list take?
The enhanced DBS check takes the longest of all the DBS checks, as it is the most rigorous check available. It can take between 6 and 8 weeks to process the check.
It may take even longer than 8 weeks if there were mistakes, gaps or inconsistencies on the form that will need checking or double-checking. For instance, if there are gaps in the address history or a missing section on the form, this will cause a delay. Applying online cuts down on the potential for error as the form is automatically checked before submission.
Can teachers transfer their DBS check between jobs?
Let’s say you successfully complete your teacher training. You already have a DBS certificate from the training placement, but the question is – can you transfer it if you land a new teaching job?
The answer is that a DBS check certificate is transferable in some cases, if the job is identical in scope and responsibilities as the existing role. In the case of a trainee teacher, this is unlikely. You are likely to have much more unsupervised time with children once you have qualified and would therefore need to get a new DBS certificate when you start your first full-time teaching job.
Also, some schools and colleges have policies in place that require every new applicant to undertake a fresh DBS check.
Anyone who wants to train as a teacher in the UK will need to apply for an enhanced DBS check with barred list, without exception.
To get a DBS check, the student teacher needs to apply through the educational establishment, either on paper or online. The DBS certificate will take an average of 6 to 8 weeks to be returned.
If you want to find out more about DBS checks and how to apply for them, contact us today.