Westward School

Recruitment Policy

The safe recruitment of staff in Schools is the first step to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in education.  The School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.  The School is also committed to providing a supportive and flexible working environment for all its members of staff.  The School recognises that, in order to achieve these aims, it is of fundamental importance to attract, recruit and retain staff of the highest calibre who share this commitment.

The School recognises the value of, and seeks to achieve a diverse workforce.  The School is committed to ensuring that the recruitment and selection of all who work within the School is conducted in a manner that is systematic, efficient, effective and promotes equality of opportunity.  This document provides a good practice framework to comply with the principles set down in the School’s Equal Opportunities Policy.

The aims of the School’s recruitment policy are:

  • To ensure that the best possible staff are recruited on the basis of their merits, abilities and suitability of the person
  • To ensure that all job applicants are considered equally and consistently
  • To ensure that no job applicant is treated unfairly on any ground including age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation as outlined in the Equality Act 2010;
  • To ensure compliance with all relevant legislation, recommendations and guidance including the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE), Keeping Children Safe in Education (Sep 2016) and the code of practice published by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • To ensure that the School meets its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks.
  • To ensure that all employment checks are recorded clearly on the School's electronic Single Central Register (SCR).

Single Central Record of Recruiting Vetting Checks (SCR)

In line with DfE requirements, the School will keep and maintain a SCR.  The SCR will list all staff who are employed at the School, including casual staff, supply agency staff whether employed directly or through an agency, volunteers (Volunteer Policy), proprietors and those who provide additional teaching or instruction for pupils but who are not employed by the School eg specialist sports coach or artist.  The SCR will indicate whether the required pre-employment checks have been completed, what documents have been checked, when and by whom. The SCR will also clearly show which members of staff are working in the Early Years.

Staff members have a duty through their contract to immediately disclose during their employment if they are:

  • charged or convicted of any criminal offence;
  • in receipt of a police caution, reprimand or warning, or if there is a formal child protection;
  • investigation of themselves or any of their household;
  • barred from working with children or vulnerable adults;
  • the subject of a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Staff will also be asked at their yearly annual appraisal meetings whether they have any of the above to disclose, including the Declaration of Disqualification by Association if in Relevant Childcare Provision.

Pre-employment checks

In accordance with the recommendations set out in the Guidance, and the requirements of the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulation 2014 which came into force on 5th January 2015 and the ISI Regulatory Requirements (Jan 2017) the School carries out a number of pre-employment checks in respect of all prospective employees.

If it is decided to make an offer of employment following a formal interview, employment with the School will be conditional on the following;

  • an identity check;
  • a barred list check;
  • an enhanced DBS check;
  • a prohibition from teaching check; 

   (Must be made for anyone undertaking 'teaching work' (with or without Qualified Teaching Status)

  • further checks on people living or working outside the UK, including any restrictions placed on teachers from the European Economic Area (EEA)

   (EEA is all EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway)

  • a check of professional qualifications and QTS where appropriate;
  • a check to establish the person's right to work in the United Kingdom; and 
  • in independent schools, a section 128 check for people in management positions.
  • Receipt of at least two references which are satisfactory to the School, one of which will be from the applicant’s more recent employer;
  • A separate satisfactory barred list check will be undertaken in the event that an enhanced disclosure is not received in advance of starting employment in the regulated activity, or where a ‘portable’ disclosure is used;
  • The signed declaration to satisfy the additional Child Safeguarding requirement “Disqualification through Association” where working in relevant Childcare Provision;
  • Verification of the applicant’s medical fitness to ensure the duties of the post can be carried out satisfactorily, fully taking into account the Equality Act 2010 where reasonable adjustments may be made to fulfil the role effectively.
  • The agreement of a mutually acceptable start date and the signing of a contract incorporating the School’s standard terms and conditions of employment.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Employees involved in the recruitment and selection of staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with and complying with the provisions of this policy.
  • All employees involved in recruitment of staff will undertake Safer Recruitment training.
  • It is the responsibility of the Headteacher and other senior managers involved in the recruitment process to ensure that the school operates safe recruitment procedures and carries out all appropriate checks on all staff, work experience students and volunteers who work at the School.
  • Monitor contractors’ and agencies’ compliance with this policy; and promote the welfare of children and young people at every stage of the procedure.
  • It is the responsibility of all contractors and agencies who provide services to the School to comply with safer recruitment practices.
  • It is the responsibility of the School’s office, in conjunction with the Headteacher, to ensure all pre-employment checks are complete before employment begins and that they are recorded on the Single Central Register.

Verification of identity and address

All applicants who are invited to an interview will be required to bring the following evidence of identity, right to work in the UK, current address and qualifications:

  • Passport or photo-card driving licence providing photographic identity;
  • Two utility bills or statements (from different sources) showing their name and home address;
  • Documentation confirming their National Insurance Number (P45, P60 or National Insurance Card);
  • Original documents confirming any educational and professional qualifications referred to in their application form.

Where an applicant claims to have changed his/her name by deed poll or an other means (eg marriage, adoption, statutory declaration) he/she will be required to bring documentary evidence of the change.

The School asks for the date of birth of all applicants (and proof of this) in accordance with the Guidance.  Proof of date of birth is necessary so that the School may verify the identity of, and check for any unexplained discrepancies in the employment and education history of all applicants.  The School does not discriminate on the grounds of age.

The Procedure

Advertising

To ensure equality of opportunity, the School will advertise all vacant posts to encourage as wide a field of candidates as possible.  Normally this will entail an external advertisement.  However, where there is a reasonable expectation that there are sufficient qualified internal candidates or where staff are at risk of redundancy, an internal advertisement may be considered appropriate.

Applications

Applicants will receive a job description and person specification for the role applied for.  All applicants for employment will be required to complete a confidential application form containing questions about their academic and employment history and their suitability for the role.  Incomplete application forms will be returned to the applicant where the deadline for completed application forms has not passed.  The school does not accept a curriculum vitae in place of an application form.

The applicant may then be invited to attend a formal interview at which his/her relevant skills and experiences will be discussed in more detail.

Interviews

The selection process will always include the following;

  • A tour of the School
  • The candidate will be observed teaching a lesson
  • A face to face professional interview including questions relating to safeguarding children
  • Verification of Qualifications and/or professional Status

Short listed applicants will be required to provide proof of their qualifications and professional status by producing documentation on the day of interview.  The School will verify that applicants have actually obtained any qualifications legally required or deemed essential for the job and claimed in their application by asking to see the relevant certificate, or a letter of confirmation from the awarding body / institution.  If the original documents are not available, the School will require sight of a properly certified copy.  Where applicants have obtained qualifications abroad, a certified comparability check by BARIC will be required.  Proof of identity and other documentation will be verified by the chair of the panel/headteacher

The School requires applicants to account for any gaps or discrepancies in employment history on the application form.  Where any applicant is shortlisted, any gaps will also be discussed at interview.

Applicants should be aware that providing false information is an offence and could result in an application being rejected or summary dismissal if the applicant has been selected.  Where false information is provided in support of an application to work at the School, the School is required to report the matter to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), the police and other relevant professional bodies.

References

References for shortlisted applicants will be requested immediately after short-listing.  The only exception to this is where applicants have indicated on the application forms that they do not wish their current employer to be contacted.  In such cases, this reference will be taken up immediately after interview and prior to any offer of employment being made.  One reference will be sought prior to interview wherever possible.

All referees will be asked whether they believe the applicant is suitable for the job for which they have applied.  All referees will be sent a copy of the job description and person specification relevant to the role for which the applicant had applied.  If the referee is a current or previous employer, they will also be asked to confirm the following:

  • The applicant’s dates of employment, salary, job title/duties, reason for leaving, performance, sickness** and disciplinary record
  • Their relationship to the applicant
  • Whether they have any reason to believe that the applicant is unsuitable to work with children
  • Whether the applicant has ever been the subject of disciplinary procedures involving issues related to the safety and welfare of children including any in which the disciplinary sanction has expired
  • Whether any allegations or concerns have been raised about the applicant that relate to the safety and welfare of children or young people or behaviour towards children or young people

(** only to be included in reference requests sent out after the offer of employment has been made.)

The school will only accept references obtained directly from the referee and will not rely on references or testimonials provided by the applicant or open references of testimonials.  The School will not accept references from relatives of the applicant or people writing soley in the capacity as a friend.

References will be compared to the application form to ensure that the information provided is consistent.  Any discrepancies will be taken up with the applicant and/or the referee before any appointment can be confirmed.  Any information about past disciplinary action or allegations will be considered in the circumstances of the individual case.

Medical fitness

The School is legally required to verify the medical fitness of anyone to be appointed to a post at the School, after an offer of employment has been made but before the appointment can be confirmed. 

It is the School’s practice that all applicants to whom an offer of employment is made must complete and sign a self-declaration of medical fitness which forms part of the School's job application procedure.  The School will arrange for the information contained in the self-declaration to be reviewed.  This information will be reviewed against the job description and the Person Specification for the particular role, together with details of any other physical or mental requirements of the role ie proposed timetable, extra-curricular activities, layout of the School etc.  If the School’s medical advisor has any doubts about an applicant’s fitness the School will consider reasonable adjustments in consultation with the applicant.  The School may also seek a further medical opinion from a specialist or request that the applicant undertakes a full medical assessment.

The School is aware of its duties under the Equality Act 2010.  No job offer will be withdrawn without first consulting with the applicant, obtaining medical evidence and considering reasonable adjustments and suitable alternative employment.

Disclosure and Barring Service Check

Due to the nature of the work, the School applies for an enhanced disclosure check via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in respect of all members of staff, proprietors and volunteers on entry to the school's workforce.

An enhanced disclosure check will contain details of all convictions on record (including those which are defined as “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) together with details of any cautions, reprimands or warnings held on the Police National Computer.  An enhanced disclosure will also reveal whether an applicant is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults by virtue of his/her inclusion on the lists of those considered unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults maintained by the DBS.  An enhanced disclosure may also contain non-conviction information from local police records which a chief police officer thinks may be relevant in connection with the matter in question.

DBS checks will be requested for applicants with recent periods of overseas residence and those with little or no previous UK residence.  These applicants may also be asked to provide further information, including the equivalent of an enhanced DBS disclosure, from the relevant jurisdiction(s).

For any person who have applied to the DBS update service the School will examine the original certificate, check it matches the individual's identity and run an online update check, which will provide information about any changes since the certificate was issued. If the check indicates that there has been a change then the individual must apply for a new certificate 

If there is a delay in receiving an enhanced DBS disclosure before a person starts work in regulated activity, the headteacher may allow the member of staff to commence work:

  • after a satisfactory check of the barred list if the person is working in regulated activity;
  • and all other relevant checks have been completed satisfactorily;
  • provided that the DBS application has been made in advance;
  • with appropriate safeguards taken (for example, Risk Assessment carried out and appropriate supervision put in place)

The Risk Assessment will be reviewed every two weeks and a note added to the single central register. The staff member will be informed of all safeguards put in place.

Schools are not required to retain copies of DBS certificates. 

Overseas checks, where appropriate, including checking for EEA professional sanctions

If, because a person 'living or having lived' outside of the UK for three months or more in the last five years, a DBS check is not considered sufficient to establish suitability to work in a school (because a UK check would not cover offences committed abroad, but only those on the UK Police National Computer), the School would carry out such further checks as the proprietor considers appropriate, having regard to any guidance issued by the DfE. Such checks will be completed before the person starts person. This applies where relevant both to foreign nationals and UK nationals returning from overseas.

Further checks may include an EEA check that will be carried out to check for information about any teacher sanctions or restrictions that has been imposed by a professional regulating authority in the European Economic Area (EEA).This check is relevant to applicants for teaching posts in England who have taught in the EEA. It is applicable to both foreign nationals and UK nationals who have taught in the EEA.This check is carried out using the NCTL Teacher Services system.

Prohibition Order Check

Prohibition orders prevent a person from carrying out 'teaching work' in schools, sixth form colleges, 16-19 academies, relevant youth accommodation and children’s homes in England. A person who is prohibited from teaching must not be appointed to work as a teacher in such a setting.

Prohibition orders are made by the Secretary of State following consideration by a professional conduct panel convened by NCTL (National College of Teaching and Leadership). Pending such consideration, the Secretary of State may issue an interim prohibition order if he considers that it is in the public interest to do so. 

The prohibition from teaching check is completed by going to NCTL Teacher Services 

Qualified Teacher Status is not a requirement for teachers in the independent sector, but schools must now check that anyone employed to carry out teaching work is not subject to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State. 

Teaching work is defined in The Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012 to emcompass:

  • planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils;
  • delivering and preparing lessons and courses for pupils;
  • assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils
  • reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils.

“Delivering” includes delivering lessons through distance learning or computer aided techniques. However, none of these is “teaching work” if the person carrying out the activity does so (other than for the purposes of induction) subject to the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher or other person nominated by the headteacher.

It is our policy that all new teaching staff will be subject to a prohibition check before commencing work at Westward and a record will be kept on the school’s single central register.

Prohibition from management of independent schools directions

From August 2015, schools must check whether staff appointed to management positions after that date are subject to a section 128 direction. This does not apply to staff promoted internally. 

The following staff are considered to be in management positions for the purpose of this check:

  • headteachers;
  • all staff on the senior leadership team (including non-teaching staff);
  • teaching positions with departmental headship;
  • proprietors

The checks will be carried out either via NCTL Secure Access for people not in regulated activity or via the DBS as part of checking the barred list for people in regulated activity. When checking via the DBS route it must be made clear on the DBS application form, within box 61 that the position being applied for reads 'Child Workforce Independent School'. This allows the DBS to confirm if a section 128 direction has been made.

Disqualification and Disqualification by association

Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 (June 2016)

We will ensure that we do not knowingly employ a person who is disqualified under the 2009 regulations in connection with relevant childcare provision and will carry out relevant checks for new staff through our pre-employment checks procedure.

We will make sure that anyone who falls within the relevant categories of staff is made aware of the legislation including that they may be disqualified 'by association' under regulation 9 of the 2009 Regulations where they live in the same household as a disqualified person or in a household in which a disqualified person is employed.

Relevant Childcare Provision includes staff members working with the under 5's in the Early Years, those working in the School's breakfast and after school care facilities, lunchtime assistants, regular volunteers, agency and supply staff, the Headteacher and members of the senior management team.

All present and new staff members who fall within the regulations of relevant childcare provision will be asked to sign a declaration to confirm that neither themselves nor any person living in their household is disqualified from registration under the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009.”

An entry of staff working within relevant childcare provision will be made on the single central register, including the date disqualification checks were completed.

The grounds for disqualification include, in summary;

  • being on the DBS Children's Barred List;
  • being cautioned for, convicted of or charged with certain violent and sexual criminal offences against children and adults, at home or abroad;
  • being the subject of certain other orders relating to the care of children;
  • refusal or cancellation of registration relating to childcare or children's homes or being prohibited from private fostering;
  • living in the same household where another person who is disqualified lives or works.

Disqualification occurs as soon as the above criteria are met, for example, as soon as a caution or conviction occurs, even before the person is formally included on the children's barred list.

The declaration made will be rechecked annually as part of the staff appraisal procedure and will form part of a staff members contract, stating that they should inform the school if their circumstances change.

We will handle data fairly and lawfully and take care not to breach the Data Protection Act 1998, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Human Rights Act 1998. 

We will inform Ofsted where satisfied that a person working in a relevant setting falls within one of the disqualification criteria.

Staff who are disqualified, including by association, may apply to Ofsted for a waiver of disqualification, unless they are barred from working with children.

Contractors and agency staff

Contractors engaged by the school must complete the same checks for the employees that the school is required to complete for its staff.  The School requires confirmation that these checks have been completed before employees of the contractor can commence work at the School.

The School will independently verify the identity of staff supplied by contractors or an agency.

Policy on recruitment of ex-offenders

The School will not unfairly discriminate against any applicant for employment on the basis of conviction or other details revealed.  The School makes appointment decisions on the basis of merit and ability.  If an applicant has a criminal record this will not automatically bar him/her from employment within the School.  Instead, each case will be decided on its merits in accordance with the objective assessment criteria set out below.

All positions within the School are exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.  All applicants must therefore declare all previous convictions, including those which would normally be considered “spent”, when applying for a position at the school.  A failure to disclose a previous conviction may lead to any application being rejected or, if the failure to disclose is discovered after employment has started, may lead to summary dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. A failure to disclose a previous conviction may also amount to a criminal offence.

It is unlawful for the School to employ anyone who is barred from working with children.  It is a criminal offence for any person who is barred from working with children to attempt to apply for a position at the School.  The School will make a report to the Police and/or the ISA if:-

It receives an application from a barred person

It is provided with false information in, or in support of an applicant’s application  or

It has serious concerns about an applicant’s suitability to work with children.

Assessment Criteria

In the event that relevant information (whether in relation to previous convictions or otherwise) is volunteered by an applicant during the recruitment process or obtained through a disclosure check, the School will consider the following factors before reaching a recruitment decision:

  • Whether the conviction or other matter revealed is relevant to the position in question;
  • The seriousness of any offence of other matter revealed;
  • The length of time since the offence or other matter occurred;
  • Whether the applicant has a pattern of offending behaviour or other relevant matters;
  • Whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour or other relevant matters;
  • The circumstances surrounding the offence and the explanation(s) offered by the convicted person.

If the post involves regular contact with children, it is the School’s normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted at any time of any of the following offences

Murder, manslaughter, rape, other serious sexual offences, grievous bodily harm, or other serious acts of violence

Serious Class A drug related offences, robbery, burglary, theft, deception or fraud.

If the post involved access to money or budget responsibility, it is the school’s normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted at any time of robbery, burglary, theft, deception or fraud. 

If the post involves some driving responsibility, it is the School’s normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted of drink driving within the last ten years.

Assessment Procedure

In the event that relevant information (whether in relation to previous convictions or otherwise) is volunteered by an applicant during the recruitment process or obtained through a disclosure check, the School will carry out a risk assessment by reference to the criteria set out above.  The assessment form must be signed by the headteacher before a position is offered.  Such convictions will also be discussed with the applicant at interview.

If an applicant wishes to dispute any information contained in a disclosure, he/she can do so by contacting the DBS direct.  In cases where the applicant would otherwise be offered a position were if not for the disputed information, the School will, where practicable, defer a decision about the appointment until the applicant has had a reasonable opportunity to challenge the disclosure information.

Employment offer

It may be possible to negotiate a provisional start date with the preferred applicant, however, the checks detailed above must all be completed before a person’s appointment is confirmed.  Once all pre-employment checks have been satisfactorily completed and received, an offer of employment will be made and the contract of employment issued. 

Record Retention/Data Protection

If an applicant is appointed, the School will retain any relevant information provided on his/her application form, together with any attachments and evidence of the pre-employment checks completed on his/her personnel file. 

If the application is unsuccessful, all documentation relating to the application will normally be confidentially destroyed after six months.

The School will store all confidential personnel files in locked, non-portable storage containers, access to which will be restricted to members of the School’s senior management team;
 
Personnel files will be kept for six years after the person has left.

The School will also ensure that any personnel information is destroyed by suitably secure means such as shredding.