Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ofsted: Recruitment and the suitability of staff

1.        A feature of outstanding safeguarding is the way that senior managers ensure that stringent recruitment and vetting procedures are in place for staff and other adults: nobody commences work unless all checks have been completed, including those with the Criminal Records Bureau. The same rigour is applied when appointing volunteers. Contracts with supply agencies are specific about the checks required and schools ask for additional evidence of identification before staff are allowed to commence work at the school.

2.        Senior administrators, such as a bursar, generally take responsibility for ensuring that all checks are carried out and supported by relevant evidence, and that appropriate records are kept, including the single central register of staff and other adults. Governors are aware of their responsibilities. School inspection reports sometimes draw out the relationship between pupils’ feelings of security and safeguarding procedures in school. For example, ‘When asked, pupils are quick to state that they enjoy school and feel safe. None of this is surprising as the care, guidance and support that staff offer pupils are strong elements of provision and staff vetting and safeguarding are taken very seriously.’

3.        The schools visited liaised closely with their local authorities to ensure that their procedures were compliant with national requirements; in practice the schools usually exceeded national guidance. They also liaised with local authorities to process checks on potential candidates for posts.

4.        Many senior leaders and governors, typically the chair of governors, complete safer recruitment training. In one school, pupils were involved in the recruitment of staff; they were given training for this role and were aware of the need to protect confidentiality – they took this role seriously.

5.        Information is increasingly held on electronic systems, usually in the form of a single central register, which allows for ease of access and updating, is held centrally, and includes all the necessary information listed in current DCSF/DfE guidance. One school included additional information, such as the person’s start date and job role, so that the register was helpful to them as a more complete record. Registers are sometimes linked directly to local authority recruitment databases, which speeds up the sharing and checking of information.

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