DBS Checks for Teachers – Our Guide

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With the start of a new term comes a host of challenges for schools to overcome, especially given the situation that we currently find ourselves in with regards to COVID-19.

Not only do schools have to reduce the risk of infection by putting appropriate social distancing measures in place, they must also ensure that those that work with children are suitable by carrying out checks on them, one of these being a DBS Check. But what level of check is a teacher eligible for, do all teachers need checks and how often should they be done?

We have worked with educational organisations for nearly 20 years and have used our knowledge to answer some of these questions for you below.


What level of check does a Teacher need?

As a school is classified as a ‘Specified Setting’ and teachers engage in Regulated Activity with Children on a regular basis in the course of performing their role, they are eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with a check against the Children’s Barred List where necessary.

An Enhanced DBS Check details both Spent and Unspent Convictions as well as any Cautions, Warnings or Reprimands shown on the Police National Computer (PNC). The certificate may also contain non-conviction information supplied by relevant police forces, if it is deemed relevant to the role.


Do all Teachers need a DBS Check?

Absolutely, an Enhanced DBS Check is specifically for roles that have supervised or unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults on a regular basis and a teacher would certainly be one of these roles. The same rule would apply to any supply teachers or temporary staff that carry out the same role.

Aside from teachers, under the Safeguarding of Children Act, all associated staff in schools must have an Enhanced DBS Check and those who are in Regulated Activity with Children will be subject to a check of the Sex Offenders Register as part of their DBS check. The roles may include Before School/After School Supervisors, Admin Staff and Catering Staff.

All of these roles may involve some sort of contact with children so please contact us if you’re unsure of what level of check is required.


How often do DBS Checks need to be reviewed?

Although a DBS Check does not have an official expiry date, it is good practice to renew a DBS Check frequently to ensure that an individual has not been convicted of an offence that may affect their ability to work with protected groups. Some authorities suggest a new check should be carried out every 3 years although this is often down to the discretion of the organisation.


Do I need to carry out a DBS Check on Volunteers?

Yes, even if you are not paying a member of staff for their services, their role will still involve unsupervised contact with children and therefore will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check.

The only difference between a check for a paid member of staff and a volunteer is that if a DBS Check is legally required by a volunteer, the DBS may waive their fee if they meet the volunteer requirements that are set out by the DBS.

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