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  • Heather McGee

What pre-employment background checks are needed in education?

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

The education industry comprises all establishments whose primary objective is to provide education to others. It’s a vast and varied industry that plays a significant role in the UK economy, employing thousands of individuals every year. Teachers naturally form a huge part of that number, from Early Years right through to Higher Education, but the sector has a wide variety of roles across a whole spectrum of specialisms. From Lab Technicians, Librarians and Sports Coaches, through to Welfare Officers, Careers Advisors and Teaching Assistants, the list of professions that fall in to the education sector list is endless.


So, when you have such a wide range of roles to recruit for, how do you know which background checks are needed?


The ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance from the UK Department for Education (DfE) sets out the legal duties that must be followed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges. This includes the pre-employment background checks that must be carried out when appointing individuals to engage in regulated activity relating to children. Some of these checks may not apply to 16-19 Academies, Special Post-16 institutions and Independent Training Providers, so it’s important to check the information in the guidance carefully to ensure your organisation remains compliant and children and staff are safeguarded.


Identity Checks

You must verify the identity of your candidate and be sure that the person is who they say are. An online identity check will provide a score to indicate the degree of confidence in an individual’s identity. It will often review the individual’s name, date of birth and address from multiple sources to help confirm the person is who they claim to be. Find out more here.


Right to Work Checks

All employers in the UK are required to complete Right to Work checks to verify that their applicants are legally allowed to work in the UK before employing them. By using an online platform to complete Digital Right to Work checks, you can ensure you are correctly carrying out these checks, and that legal obligations are met as technology identifies any fraudulent documents for you. Find out more here.


DBS Checks

You must obtain an Enhanced DBS Check (including children’s barred list information for those who will be regularly engaging in regulated activity with children). Fast and accurate DBS checks can be completed through an online provider which will enable you to track the progress of your candidate applications and stay up to date until the check is completed. Find out more here.


Employment History and Reference Checks

You should gain factual information regarding a candidate’s work history to support any hiring decisions, bearing in mind that CVs can often be exaggerated or embellished. You should also ensure that any references come from a legitimate source and that any gaps in work history are covered. Using an online background checking platform can help by providing both speed and accuracy in the process. Find out more here.


In addition, there may be other checks that you wish to carry out ahead of making a formal offer to a candidate. Typically, these can involve areas such as social media checks, or a range of additional background checks that you may want to include to ensure you are making a safe and informed hiring decision for your educational institution.


VettingGateway enables you to complete all of your required background checks for education professionals within one platform, along with any additional checks you may wish to conduct. To find out more about VettingGateway, simply request a demo with one of our vetting experts below.




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