Teacher criminal checks still incomplete

STRINGENT criminal background checks on some new teachers and support staff starting work in Suffolk schools today have not been completed, the EADT can reveal.

STRINGENT criminal background checks on some new teachers and support staff starting work in Suffolk schools today have not been completed, the EADT can reveal.

Suffolk County Council has confirmed that an undisclosed number of new school employees have not been cleared to work with children by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

But a council spokesman said last night while he could give no indication of how many people were involved, under Department of Education guidelines all new staff were deemed safe to work with children "under supervision" until the checks had been completed.

Furthermore, the spokesman said the identities of all new staff had been confirmed and none of them were on a list of known child sex offenders.


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He told the EADT: "There are teachers with CRB checks still waiting to be returned, but the Department of Education has said that if ID checks have been carried out then they can work under supervision.

"They will be turning up and they will be working. There was a communication with headteachers, but it was about general personnel issues."

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According to the spokesman the county council had fulfilled its obligations regarding character checks, but he said he understood that because of the large number of staff starting new jobs across the country, there was a backlog at the CRB, but it was a national rather than local situation.

He said the fact that new staff were working under supervision would not put a strain on resources and there would be no effect on the quality of education at Suffolk schools.

The CRB system came to national prominence after it transpired that Soham murderer Ian Huntley had slipped through the net when taking on a job as a school caretaker and mistakes had been made with his background check.

Since then the system has come in for repeated criticism over delays in returning checks and inaccuracy.

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