Our school has a very robust system of background checks which is based on a rigorous and long standing system that has existed in the UK since 1997.
As part of the Nord Anglia Education group, we require a UK Disclosure and Barring Service disclosure (previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau check) as part of our pre-employment background checks. This is a UK database of people’s records, maintained by a government agency which works very closely with the police, the social services and the Education Department itself. It not only checks the individual's criminal records but also looks at records of accusation made against individuals which may be a cause for concern.
If a new teacher has lived and worked in the UK, the teacher will be required to complete an online criminal background check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (www.gov.uk/dbs). If a teacher has lived and worked in other countries, the teacher will also be required to undertake criminal background checks for that region. For existing staff whose DBS check expires after three years, our school HR team obtain a local police check, on behalf of the teacher, from the Shanghai Notary Office.
In addition, all new teachers are required to have two references from their previous employer. We only accept referees who have worked with the individual in a professional capacity. An important and statutory requirement of the written reference is a set of questions specifically about knowledge of accusations or offences relating to the safety or well-being of students. As Principal, I also take an additional verbal reference from the principal or headteacher, which, amongst other things, ensures that the written reference is genuine and reliable.
Lastly, all of our staff complete a formal programme of Child Protection Training, recognised by the NSPCC in the UK, which helps them to monitor children in our care for signs of abuse or neglect from any source. In keeping with best practice in the UK, we have a designated Child Protection Officer on the senior staff, who has access to support services, advice and staff to help investigate and manage any concerns expressed.
We take the safety, well-being and security of the children in our care very seriously indeed. For example, we will be rebuilding the secondary gates in the summer and looking to introduce a new security card system at the beginning of next year to replace our current one.