Recruitment remains a hot topic across HR departments in all sectors, whether it be the fight for talent, the need to plug skills gaps or decreased interest in positions, recruitment or talent acquisition remains pivotal. Education is no exception to this rule, despite the cost-of-living crisis and funding disputes, the need for staff in schools remains. Our HR team continue to witness the “mad dash” for filling vacancies, but questions remain regarding the recruitment process and ensuring this is “up to scratch”.
Most Headteachers will have been in the unfortunate position, at some point in their career, where they were required by law to complete either a Teaching Regulation Agency or Disclosure and Barring Service referral – in cases you may have completed both – following a member of staff being found to have committed an act of gross misconduct, on a balance of probability.
The Teaching Regulation Agency published statistics in their annual report, stating they received 1,038 referrals from April 2022 – March 2023, 482 were deemed serious and 296 (61.4%) were referred to a hearing. Of the 1,038 referrals, 95 (9.1%) received interim (fixed period) orders. 382 (36.8%) required no further action or did not fall under the jurisdiction of the TRA. 137 cases (13.2%) were permanently barred from teaching.
But why would this be concerning to Education?
The TRA have reported they’ve experienced an increase of 39% in hearings since 2021/22 and whilst the hearing model is deemed fit for purpose, they’ve admitted their KPI’s are not being met in their entirety. The TRA aim for cases that are formally investigated to be concluded or referred to a
hearing within 20 weeks from the date the investigation commences. At present it is taking an average of 30.42 weeks for investigations to be completed. The TRA aim for teacher misconduct cases that are considered at the hearing stage to be concluded within 52 weeks (median) from the date of receipt of the referral. At present it is taking an average of 113.14 weeks for the hearing to be held from the date of referral. It is taking more than two years for a teacher, who is potentially unsuitable to remain in the sector, to have their professional conduct reviewed and their future determined.
The Disclosure and Barring Service published statistics in their annual report, stating they received 57,000 referrals, 8,000 of which were for discretionary barring consideration. 11% or 6,266 were barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults. With checks being completed, on average, within 11.6 days, 64,684 individuals remain on the adult barred list, 82,799 individuals remain on the child barred list and 93,653 sit on both. 5% of the 4.5 million DBS Checks (Enhanced or Standard) included Police National Computer data after filtering, meaning 225,000 individuals had data on their record which had to be disclosed to an employer where they may be in regulated activity.
If you’ve attended Safer Recruitment, you will be aware of the Finkelhor model (D Finkelhor Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory & Research 1986), which remains uncontested to date. Finkelhor states there are 4 barriers associate with a person who commits child sexual abuse: motivation, internal inhibitors, external inhibitors and overcoming victim resistance. A person who commits child sexual abuse and is usually attempting to enter an educational establishment when in their second or third phase – internal and external inhibitors. The safer recruitment process is designed to deter, reject, and prevent these unsuitable persons from entering the sector. The application process is there to deter, the interview process to reject and the vetting/induction to prevent. But with TRA referrals taking over two years to be heard and 225,000 DBS checks providing data from the PNC – it is evident you cannot rely solely on a DBS Check or Prohibition Check.
All elements of your safer recruitment process must be followed to the letter before allowing any individual to step foot into your school. Safer Recruitment is a daunting process, there are many tasks running concurrently and it is difficult to know where to turn. By using applicant tracking systems (ATS), the digitalisation of your recruitment process can assist you with streamlining your process and quickly identifying those who may not be suitable to work in your school. Our FACE-Ed system is designed by Safer Recruitment Accredited Trainers to ensure you are complaint with the requirements stated in Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Don’t just rely on your checks, have the support of FACE-Ed to be confident in your recruitment decision. Book your free demonstration now via our website.
Our team of accredited Safer Recruitment trainers also run virtual Safer Recruitment training. For more information on this training, please contact us online or get in touch on 01924 827 869.
Visit our group, Fusion Education People Solutions, to learn more about our vision for creating better futures for children.