Teacher Booker Vetting Policy 

Having a clear, fair and transparent vetting procedure is of the utmost importance to us. This page contains an overview of our teacher vetting process.

How have we designed our safeguarding process?
How do we put our commitment to safeguarding into practice?
How are applications and DBS certificates obtained and reviewed?
How are candidates interviewed?
How are references obtained and checked?
How are qualifications verified?
How do Teacher Booker check Identification?
What further checks do Teacher Booker conduct on candidates who have spent a significant amount of time abroad?
How do Teacher Booker ensure Teachers profiles are accurate?
What documents do candidates need to provide in order to register with Teacher Booker?
How do Teacher Booker ensure only high quality candidates can use the platform?
How do Teacher Booker ensure an audit trail for all candidates?
How do Teacher Booker ensure the validity of registration documents?
How do Teacher Booker handle safeguarding-relevant information revealed after a teacher has been vetted?

How have we designed our safeguarding process?

We designed this process in collaboration with experienced teachers, schools and external auditors. When conducting background checks on candidates we make use of the following external services and resources, amongst others:

How do we put our commitment to safeguarding into practice?

All candidates are processed through a rigorous vetting procedure that is formally documented on our database at each step, with an in-built and unalterable audit trail. Our goal is to identify teachers and support staff who we are confident will be able to provide safe, engaging and stimulating teaching services to pupils of all abilities.

The rest of this page outlines our safeguarding process.

How are applications and DBS documents obtained and reviewed?

  1. Once registered, candidates are required to submit an application detailing experience and qualifications and including a prose personal statement.
  2. We look for evidence of relevant and substantive experience and a demonstration of good written English, scoring these areas according to our guidelines.
  3. Applications we find to be lacking in either of these regards are given personalised feedback and a redraft is requested.
  4. We check full employment history, identifying any gaps or inconsistencies which will be explored at interview.
  5. A note is taken if it appears from the application that the candidate may have lived overseas for a substantial period during the last 5 years, for later questioning at interview. Further checks may be requested.

DBS Checks

At this stage of the process, evidence that the candidate holds an Enhanced DBS certificate including a Children’s Barred List Check is required. This certificate must either be on the Update Service or have been issued within the last 12 months.

  1. We always encourage candidates to register a DBS with the Update Service.
  2. Candidates who are in possession of a DBS that meets either of these criteria send a scan of it to us.
  3. In as many cases as possible we will ask to see the original certificate at interview, to verify it. Furthermore, the candidate is told to take their DBS to any school at which they are engaged so the school can check the physical certificate themselves.
  4. We check whether the DBS is registered on the Update Service and file the result of this, along with the date that both the Police Records and Children’s Barred List check were conducted, and details of the person who conducted them, in our database.
  5. Candidates who are not in possession of a DBS certificate that meets the above criteria are directed to our third party DBS Check provider. Their application is set up for them but it is up to the candidate to complete it.
  6. Once assurance has been received that the candidate is either in possession of a valid Enhanced DBS certificate or has an application for one that is in progress, an invitation to interview is sent.
  7. If a candidate has a disclosed conviction, reprimand or warning, the details of this will be discussed with them at interview. A risk assessment will also be carried out by the Teacher Success team member who interviewed the candidate and the Teacher Success manager together.
  8. A candidate’s profile will not be set live until an Enhanced DBS certificate with Children’s Barred List Check has been fully approved and stored on our system. We keep a scan of the DBS certificate for 6 months.

How are candidates interviewed?

  1. At interview we assess a candidate’s knowledge of safeguarding concepts, strategies and procedures, and best practice and motivations. We also assess for verbal communication skills and self-presentation.
  2. Interviews are conducted by members of our Teacher Success team who are themselves experienced teachers. Interviewers are trained to ask detailed questions, which are kept consistent, on each of the above topics.
  3. A dynamic scoring system is used to score each topic. Scores are then aggregated and a numeric benchmark is used to award either a Pass or a Fail.
  4. Safeguarding is the topic that can override an otherwise successful interview. If there is a significant lack of safeguarding knowledge, the candidate will fail the interview.
  5. If there is a degree of vagueness in safeguarding knowledge, but the interview was otherwise successful, the candidate will be advised as such at the end of the interview and sent the Government’s KCSIE document. A follow up interview will be scheduled to assess that the KCSIE material has been understood.
  6. Interviews are conducted both in-person (approx. 70%) and via videoconference (approx. 30%).
  7. All candidates are asked if they have lived in a country outside of the UK during the last 5 years for a substantial period of time (i.e. longer than 6 months). If the answer is ‘Yes’, details are taken and the candidate is advised that they will need to submit an Overseas Police Check or Certificate of Good Character along with the rest of their documents.
  8. All candidates are asked whether they have any hitherto undisclosed convictions or prosecutions, current or pending.

How are references obtained and checked

We conduct a detailed reference check to verify a candidate’s experience and skills. Reference checks are conducted in three formats, depending on the type of referee:

  • Educational referees: A detailed questionnaire is sent to educational referees. Except in very specific cases, for example when a candidate has not worked in education for a period of more than 5 years, a candidate must provide at least one educational referee who can answer questions on the candidate’s performance, classroom style and professional integrity. The educational reference includes a section asking for details of any safeguarding issues that were reported during the time of employment and any disciplinary actions that were taken against the candidate. An educational referee must, except in a very few specific circumstances that are discussed with the candidate, be contacted via an institutional email address. An example of when a non-institutional domain would be accepted would be certain international establishments which use a non-institutional email address as the main point of contact. These referees are verified in the same was as Open Testimonials as described below.
  • Non-educational employers: A Statement of Work is requested from non-educational employers given as referees. This includes education recruitment agencies. The SoW request includes a question asking for details of any safeguarding issues that were reported during the time of employment and any disciplinary actions that were taken against the candidate.
  • Open testimonials: In around 5% of cases, an open testimonial is provided. This is a document from a previous employer that was not directly sought by Teacher Booker, but was provided by the applicant. Our team must be satisfied that the reference is genuine and in any case it is always followed up and verified with the original referee. The open testimonial must be dated within the last 3 years.

How are qualifications verified?

Where applicable (i.e. this step is not required for support staff) a candidate’s qualifications are verified against the NCTL’s database or with the awarding body. Teachers without QTS, and who are eligible to apply for QTS, are encouraged to do so. Teachers are labelled in the app with their current qualification status (QTS/QTLS/NQT/EEA/OTT etc).

    1. Checks are made for Induction Status and Prohibition from Teaching.
    2. An EEA restrictions check is carried out at the same time via the NCTL’s database.
    3. NARIC certificates are requested where the level of the qualification is unclear.
    4. The genuineness of other qualifications is assessed by our Teacher Success team.

How do Teacher Booker check Identification?

  1. All candidates must provide a Photographic Identity Document. Most often, this is a passport or driving licence. Other acceptable documents include National Identity Cards and Biometric Residence Permits, though this list is not exhaustive.
  2. Details of the validity of the ID document are held on our database
  3. A Proof of Address is required for all candidates. This can be in the form of a variety of documents, the most common being a recent bank statement or utility bill. These need to have been issued within the relevant timeframe, details of which are available on the Government’s Proof of Identity Checklist web page.
  4. Altogether the candidate must show sufficient Proof of Identity in accordance with the Government’s ID Checking for DBS Applications guidelines.

What further checks do Teacher Booker perform on candidates who have spent a significant amount of time abroad?

  1. If it is determined that an Overseas Police Check is required, the candidate must submit one along with all other documentation. Evidence presented in an OPC is recorded in our database.
  2. Candidates must provide a current, valid, RtW document. This is most commonly provided as a UK or EU Passport, but Biometric Residence Permits and Visas are also provided by foreign nationals. Details of the validity of the RtW document are held on our database along with expiry dates where applicable.

How do Teacher Booker ensure Teachers’ Profiles are Accurate?

Once all the above background checks have been completed, a candidate’s profile is checked for consistency with the documentation they have provided and the relevant fields are locked down. This is to prevent changes being made to DBS certificate number/TRN number and all other information fields that could jeopardise the ability to identify a teacher.

What documents do candidates need to provide to register with Teacher Booker?

All of these documents are scanned/recorded and held securely on file:

  • Enhanced DBS Certificate with a Children’s Barred List Check (held for 6 months)
  • Qualification certificate/confirmation (teachers only)
  • Identification documents
  • References
  • Proof of Address
  • Proof of Right to Work
  • Any relevant Change of Name documents
  • Overseas Police Check (if applicable)

How do Teacher Booker ensure only high quality candidates are able to use the platform?

As mentioned above, we have in-house scoring systems and guidelines which we use during candidate assessment. It is of paramount importance to us that the teachers on the platform are able to provide a fantastic educational service to pupils on an ongoing basis. This includes demonstrating appropriate knowledge, skills, enthusiasm, integrity and honesty in all dealings both with Teacher Booker and with schools.

We take quality very seriously and have a complaints policy should any party feel as if these high standards are not being upheld.

How does Teacher Booker ensure an audit trail for all users of the platform?

Each candidate’s progression through the vetting process is documented in our database.  This progression is shown to the teacher in a user-friendly format so they are able to identify any gaps in or issues with the documents they have provided, and are able to provide missing documentation quickly and easily.

The database includes a full, immutable, timestamped audit trail of every document approval or rejection for every candidate. This is only visible to admins and ensures full transparency and accountability for every member of the Teacher Success team.

How do Teacher Booker ensure the validity of registration documents?

Our database holds information on the validity of all our teachers’ and support staffs’ documentation. We remind teachers and support staff to renew their documents before they become invalid, and suspend the profiles of those whose documents have expired.

How do Teacher Booker manage safeguarding-relevant information revealed after a teacher has been vetted?

If any information that could compromise the integrity of the vetting procedure comes to light after our vetting procedure has been concluded, and it is determined by the Teacher Success manager that the candidate deliberately withheld that information with the purpose of deceiving Teacher Booker, an investigation will be conducted. The teacher’s profile will be suspended whilst this investigation is carried out. After an investigation, during which every effort will be made to be transparent, even handed, a candidate’s profile may be deleted, and them permanently barred from the Teacher Booker app if it is found that deliberate deception/withholding of information has taken place, especially as regards safeguarding.