The Single Central Record Guide

Specific and detailed information on each statutory check

Any offer of appointment made to a successful candidate must be conditional on satisfactory completion of the relevant and necessary pre-employment checks. 

What is “regulated activity”?

A person is considered to be engaging in regulated activity if, as a result of their duties, they:

  • Are, or will be, responsible for teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children on a regular basis in a school or college;
  • Will carry out paid, or unsupervised work regularly in a school or college where this provides an opportunity for contact with children; or
  • Will engage in intimate or personal care – or overnight activity, even if this happens only once.

Identity check

To carry out the statutory duty of an identity check, you must follow GOV.UK’s guidance to:

  • Follow the three route ID checking process as outlined here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-identity-checking-guidelines
  • Check and validate the information provided by the applicant on the application form/continuation sheet
  • Establish the true identity of the applicant through the examination of a range of documents as set out in the above guidance
  • Make sure the applicant provides details of all names by which they have been known
  • Make sure the applicant provides details of all addresses where they have lived in the last five years
  • Check that the application form is fully completed and the information it contains is accurate. Failing to do this can result in delays

The above check should prove and confirm the persons identity, which should match all other documentation.

Right to work in the UK check

It is your statutory duty to conduct a check before you employ an individual, to confirm that they are legally allowed to do the work in question for you. 

If an individual’s right to work is time-limited, you should conduct a follow-up check shortly before it is due to come to an end.

There are two ways to perform a right to work check: manually, or online. Both will be briefly outlined below, but we strongly urge you to follow the GOV.UK guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide

How to perform a manual right to work check:

(1)  Obtain original versions of one or more acceptable documents.
(2)  Check the document’s validity in the presence of the holder.
(3)  Make and retain a clear copy, and record the date the check was made.

Online right to work check: https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work

Please refer to the full guidance on the GOV.UK website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide

The above check should prove and confirm the persons eligibility to work in the UK.

DBS checks and certificates, including barred list information

What types of DBS check are there?

The below is directly sourced from the GOV.UK guidance on checks processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service, or DBS (link https://www.gov.uk/dbs-check-applicant-criminal-record):

Types of DBS check that you can request:

  • a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions
  • a standard check, which shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings
  • an enhanced check, which shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role
  • an enhanced check with barred lists, which shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the list of people barred from doing the role

source: https://www.gov.uk/dbs-check-applicant-criminal-record 

It is up to you to choose which third party supplier you use for your DBS checks, where each third party charges a certain feedepending on the level of check.

When you choose to apply for an enhanced DBS certificate, you have the option of searching for barred list information. This is typically known as “a barred list check”.

A barred list check searches the children and vulnerable adults ‘barred lists’ to see whether the applicant is barred from working with either group in regulated activity. It is illegal for you to knowingly employ a barred person in the sector from which they are barred.

An example of something you might find on an enhanced DBS check but not a basic DBS check might be that the individual is being investigated for a crime but has yet to be charged.

Once the checks are complete, the DBS will send the certificate to the applicant. The applicant must show the original DBS certificate to their potential employer before they take up post or as soon as is practicable afterwards. 

If your school or college chooses to allow an individual to start work in regulated activity before the DBS certificate is available, you must ensure the individual is appropriately supervised and that all other checks (including a separate barred list check) have been completed.

The DBS cannot provide barred list information on any person (including volunteers) who are not in, or seeking to enter in, regulated activity. 

Past terminology to note:

The DBS check is formerly known as the “CRB check” (Criminal Records Bureau), and the barred list check is formerly known as the “list 99 check”. 

Do I need to keep copies of DBS certificates?

No, schools and colleges do not need to keep copies of DBS certificates in order to fulfil the duty of maintaining the single central record.

To ensure that you comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018, a copy should not be kept for longer than six months (if a school or college chooses to retain one).

Previously lived or worked outside the UK check

For these individuals, it is your statutory duty to carry out the same checks as all other staff. In addition to undertaking a DBS check for staff that have lived overseas, it is also necessary for you to undertake further checks with the country where they lived. 

These checks may include certificates from local police forces or embassies, and you must ensure that you follow up on any information provided to you.

It is your statutory duty to undertake further checks that you feel are appropriate to surface relevant events that have occurred outside the UK. 

For criminal records checks for overseas applicants, see the guidance here (link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants).

For candidates who have lived or worked in the EEA, it is your statutory duty to carry out an EEA Sanctions and Restrictions check. 

  • This checks for information about any teacher sanction or restriction that an EEA professional regulating authority has imposed on or after 18th January 2016, and which have been notified to the TRA. To carry out this check, use the TRA Teacher Services’ system.
  • Whilst finding such restrictions does not prevent you from employing this candidate, it is your statutory duty to consider the circumstances that led to this restriction or sanction, and whether the candidate is suitable for employment.

New to using the TRA?

The Secure Access / DfE Sign-in portal via the Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Teacher Services is a free service available to all schools and colleges. Registration is required for first time users and can be requested from Teacher Services.

Section 128 check

This check confirms whether or not an individual has been barred from taking up a management role (at an independent school, academy and/or free school), under the terms of a direction made by the Secretary of State for Education.

In order to carry out these checks, use the free Employer Secure Access sign-in portal via the Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Teacher Services’ web page (link: https://teacherservices.education.gov.uk/).

Here, you can check if a person you are proposing to recruit is barred as a result of being subject to a section 128 direction.

Roles in ‘management’ include but are not limited to:

  • Headteacher
  • Any teaching positions on the senior leadership team
  • Any teaching positions which carry a department headship
  • Members of proprietor bodies
  • Governors if the governing body is the proprietor body for the school
  • And whichever other role you deem with reason as ‘taking part in management’

Alternatively, you can also request a section 128 direction to be disclosed during an enhanced DBS check when you request barred list information. To do this, you must specify that ‘children’s workforce independent schools’ is in the parameters for the barred list check.

New to using the TRA?

The Secure Access / DfE Sign-in portal via the Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Teacher Services is a free service available to all schools and colleges. Registration is required for first time users and can be requested from Teacher Services.

Prohibition from teaching check

This is a required check for new starters to check prior to appointment that a teacher is not prohibited from teaching.

In order to carry out these checks, use the free Employer Secure Access sign-in portal via the Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Teacher Services’ web page (link: https://teacherservices.education.gov.uk/).

A person who is prohibited must not be appointed to a role that involves teaching work in schools, sixth form colleges, 16-19 academies, relevant youth accommodation and children’s homes in England.

This check used to only apply to teachers who had qualified teacher status (QTS), but this is no longer the case.

For any teachers appointed after the 1st of April 2012 who have not been checked, you should carry out this check retrospectively. 

Although there is no requirement to retrospectively check teachers who commenced their current employment prior to that date it would still be prudent to do so.

New to using the TRA?

The Secure Access / DfE Sign-in portal via the Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Teacher Services is a free service available to all schools and colleges. Registration is required for first time users and can be requested from Teacher Services.

Professional qualification check

Where a qualification is a requirement for the role, you must check and confirm evidence of such professional qualifications as part of your record.

This includes QTS, QTLS, NPQH and registration as a teacher with the DfE.

In order to carry out these checks, use the free Employer Secure Access sign-in portal via the Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Teacher Services’ web page (link: https://teacherservices.education.gov.uk/).

If you know the teacher’s reference number (TRN), and date of birth, you can use the teacher search facility in Teacher Services to view the record for any individual you are considering, including any trainee, newly qualified, or fully qualified teacher.

Amongst other details, you’ll be able to:

  • view a teacher’s initial teacher training qualifications
  • confirm if they have been awarded QTS
  • check whether they have successfully completed their teacher induction period
  • view any additional qualifications, including relevant mandatory qualifications and national professional qualifications

If you do not know the individual’s TRN, you will still have access to alphabetical lists of teachers and others with current prohibitions, restrictions, sanctions, or who have failed induction/probation.

If you want to confirm if an individual is eligible for employment in a role which requires QTS as a result of receiving Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status, you will need to contact the Society for Education and Training (link: https://set.et-foundation.co.uk/).

For more information, see the full GOV.UK guidance here (link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teacher-status-checks-information-for-employers). 

What is QTS?

QTS, or qualified teacher status, must be attained in order to take up a teaching post in England in a:

  • maintained primary school
  • maintained secondary school
  • maintained special school
  • non-maintained special school

It is required in England and Wales to work as a teacher of children in state schools under local authority control, and in special education schools. A similar status exists under a different name in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

For more information please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/qualified-teacher-status-qts

New to using the TRA?

The Secure Access / DfE Sign-in portal via the Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Teacher Services is a free service available to all schools and colleges. Registration is required for first time users and can be requested from Teacher Services.

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