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'SCHOOLS TRY TO BYPASS CHECKS ON STAFF'

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Schools are trying to bypass official checks on whether new staff have criminal records because they are so despera...
Schools are trying to bypass official checks on whether new staff have criminal records because they are so desperate to cover teacher shortages before the start of the new school year, reported The Observer (p5).

Two supply teacher agencies have raised concerns that staff could start next term without full scrutiny for any criminal past. Schools complain that the checks take too long and that the backlog at the Criminal Records Bureau means that requests are not dealt with for months.

The Professional Association of Teachers also said that it had received information about schools which had tried to get legal waivers so they can hire staff without the full checking procedures being adhered too.

'This is totally unacceptable and is against the DfE guidelinesthat have been given to agencies for implementing the CRB procedures. It is an additional worry that if this situation is not resolved, nurseries and schools may be forced to compromise their own quality standards by employing staff who are not cleared', said PAT general secretary Jean Gemmel.

The government announced last week that it was bringing in up to 100 emergency staff to the CRB to try to clear up a mounting backlog of checks that have to be undertaken before the new school term starts next month.

A DfES spokeswoman said that the government was aware of the allegations and would launch an investigation if any 'hard evidence' could be brought forward.

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