Thames Teachers is a specialist education recruitment agency which provides teachers, nursery nurses, classroom assistants, one-to-one tutors and many different categories of support workers for partners schools and nurseries across London.

The company is committed to a policy of equality of opportunity in its recruitment practices and

opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination, direct or indirect to ensure that no

registering applicant is less fairly treated in any situation because of age, sexual orientation, religious

beliefs, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marital and civil partnership status, race or any

other condition not relevant to the performance of the job; and secondly, to ensure that our clients

are offered the best candidates available in terms of skills, experience, and approach.

Company policy therefore aims:

  • To provide full confidence to both clients and candidates of our best intentions to ensure that we register and submit quality candidates to support the needs of all children
  • To confirm our commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children
  • To confirm our expectation for all staff and registering candidates to share this commitment

As a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the company adheres to their ‘Code of Professional Practice’ in line with conducting stringent safeguarding, legal compliance, and best practice.

This document provides a summary of the checks carried out during the recruitment, registration

and interview process.

Each candidate registering with Thames Teachers, regardless of origin or country of citizenship, is

subjected on the first contact to a verbal vetting process using the company standard vetting checklist to ascertain whether the individual meets the company minimum requirements for registration and interview. The face-to-face interview ascertains if the candidate has the required skills and competencies to undertake the work for which they are making an application.

During or after the interview, the candidate is subject to a series of stringent quality checks:

  • Identity and Proof of Address
  • Qualification, if applicable
  • Prohibition check through the National College of Teaching and Leadership’s (NCTL) Teacher Services portal
  • Criminal record check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • DBS Barred Lists
  • Disqualification by Association
  • References
  • Previous employment history, with gaps in employment history, explored
  • Permission to work in the United Kingdom
  • Medical fitness to work
  • Level of fluency in English

If at any time a candidate is offered to a school before all the checks are completed, the client will be

informed and written communication issued seeking agreement to the interview or placement on these terms.

Identity

Every candidate has a face to face interview/induction with a trained consultant where identity is

checked. The consultant checks identity documentation following the DBS Route 1 listing of

acceptable documents from Group 1 (Primary Identity Documents), Group 2a (Trusted Government

Documents) and Group 2b (Financial and Social History Documents); the required number and

combination of documents (3) must be produced without exception. This check includes proof of

current address. Additional documentation may be requested if the candidate is unable to produce

photo ID. All candidates are advised to take photo ID with them to assignments to allow clients to

verify their identity.

Qualifications

(1) Teachers who have been awarded QTS are checked against the National College of Teaching and

Leadership’s Teacher Services database of teachers holding QTS to verify the award, and the current

induction status. This check also ensures that teachers who have failed their statutory induction or

probation periods are not recruited for placement as teachers in maintained schools, pupil referral

units, and non-maintained special schools. The NCTL record is printed and stored on the candidate’s

electronic file. Teachers from Northern Ireland and Scotland are required to obtain QTS if this

award is not held. Newly Qualified Teachers are also checked in relation to the volume of supply

work they are able to undertake if their induction year has not been completed.

(2) EU trained teachers seeking registration with the agency are required to apply to the NCTL for

the award of QTS; Thames Teachers will proceed with the registration of these candidates as

qualified teachers on receipt of confirmation of QTS, and an appropriate NCTL Teacher Services

check.

(3) Overseas trained teachers (OTTs) who register through our overseas offices are fully checked

locally, with teaching qualifications being confirmed directly with the awarding institution. All

overseas-trained teachers must hold a teaching qualification equivalent to that of a British PGCE or

B.Ed. checked through NARIC (The National Academic Records Information Centre). OTTs are also

checked to ensure that they do not breach the ‘four-year rule’ whereby they are able to teach for 4

years as a qualified teacher in the UK, after which time they must hold QTS. OTTs from Australia,

New Zealand, Canada, and the USA may be eligible for the award of QTS; they are encouraged to confirm

this on arrival in the UK; any such awards are then verified by the NCTL’s Teacher Services portal.

(4) Instructors (unqualified teachers) are accepted in some shortage subject areas and/or with a

lower grade overseas qualification at Thames Teachers discretion and have their original

certificates witnessed and copied.

(5) Early Years Practitioners at Level 3 or above (e.g. Nursery Nurses) are required to present as a

mandatory requirement the relevant industry qualification to confirm that their early education /

childcare qualification meets the full and relevant criteria to be counted in the statutory Level 3

ratios in the early years setting. Where possible, these qualifications are verified directly with the awarding institution.

Prohibitions and Sanctions

All candidates are checked via the NCTL Teacher Services portal to ensure:

  • That they do not have a disciplinary sanction which prohibits them from working in the

teaching profession

  • That they are no longer still subject to disciplinary sanctions from the GTCE
  • That they have not been identified by the NCTL as having a current EEA member state

restriction/sanction imposed upon them

  • That they have not been barred from taking part in the management of any independent

school (including academies and free schools) under the terms of the s128 barring directions made by the Secretary of State.

Criminal Record

Thames Teachers requires all candidates to have either a current enhanced Disclosure and Barring

Service (DBS) certificate which has been issued directly through Thames Teachers, or an enhanced DBS certificate issued by a third party which can be verified as current through the DBS Update Service. Thames Teachers checks DBS certificates annually.

Thames Teachers complies with the DBS Code of Practice. All supply staff who are placed in a school environment by Thames Teachers are required to have a current Enhanced DBS certificate applicable to the Children’s Workforce. For settings where candidates are working with vulnerable adults, these candidates will require a DBS certificate applicable to the Adult Workforce.

Thames Teachers currently uses Civil & Corporate service to obtain DBS certificates for candidates. The process confirms electronically to Thames Teachers if the individual’s new disclosure certificate is clear or not clear. If a disclosure certificate obtained by Thames Teachers is not clear, that is, it

contains information, the original certificate must be sighted and the standard company risk

assessment completed to determine suitability for registration.

Thames Teachers will undertake a check using the Update Service for DBS certificates obtained by

the candidate through another employer. If the Update Service check indicates a change to the

disclosure certificate presented by a candidate, a new disclosure certificate is required.

Thames Teachers shares information noted on individuals’ disclosure certificates with clients as

required by the DfE. All candidates are advised to take their DBS/police check document with them to all assignments to allow clients to record the details in the school’s Single Central Register.

Every candidate accepted for registration as a Temporary Worker with Thames Teachers must have a current and valid enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service certificate (DBS certificate). This certificate must be valid to the Child Workforce. If the candidate is to work with vulnerable adults, the DBS certificate must be valid to both the Child and Adult Workforces. Every applicant is informed of the requirement for an enhanced disclosure certificate (DBS certificate) in the first vetting conversation, and on the application form which is completed as a mandatory requirement of the registration process.

In line with the requirements of REC standards, all DBS certificates presented to Thames Teachers are checked annually, via the Update Service, to ensure that the DBS certificate sighted by Thames Teachers is current. It is therefore strongly recommended that all candidates have a current subscription with the DBS Update Service. Thames Teachers will, therefore, accept enhanced DBS certificates valid for the child workforce (and the adult workforce, if applicable) as follows:

  • Thames Teachers has obtained the certificate for you and it was issued within the last 12 months, and on the understanding that it will be checked using the Update Service annually from the date of issue noted on the DBS certificate. If an Update Service check cannot be undertaken at the end of the 12 month period from the date of issue, a new DBS certificate will need to be obtained.
  • Another agency or employer has obtained the certificate for you, and it can be verified by an Update Service check.

If an Update Service check cannot be undertaken, a new DBS certificate will need to be obtained.

The original of the DBS certificate must be presented at the candidate’s registration interview. DBS certificates become invalid if the candidate has a gap of three months or more in education based employment (excluding the 6-week summer break for schools). In these circumstances, a new disclosure certificate must be obtained if the current certificate cannot be verified by the candidate’s subscription to the Update Service.

Thames Teachers must sight the original copy of the DBS certificate. Thames Teachers does not accept scanned or photocopied copies of DBS certificates. A company risk assessment is conducted on all DBS certificates which contain information, to ascertain whether or not the candidate is suitable for placement in an education setting. DBS certificates and the information they contain are shared only with those who need to have access to them in the course of their duties and not passed to any third party persons not authorised to receive them. Every candidate will be advised to carry the DBS certificate to each assignment to assist the record keeping of client schools and nurseries. Thames Teachers recommends that the candidate shows the school their DBS certificate; Thames Teachers also shares with clients where you are undertaking a placement the date of issue, reference number and any matters of note recorded on the certificate.

As far as possible, Thames Teachers will make sure recipients of DBS certificate information do not discriminate against an applicant on the basis of information contained on the certificate. A criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to obtaining a position and applicants can be assured that information contained on the DBS certificate will not be used unfairly. Any matters revealed on the DBS certificate will be discussed with the applicant before full acceptance of registration with Thames Teachers. The decision to decline the applicant will be made at senior level and will be handled with the utmost sensitivity.

DBS certificates are stored securely in each office in accordance with DBS storage policies. The date of issue and unique reference number for DBS certificates are recorded on the secure database. Thames Teachers will co-operate with requests from the Disclosure and Barring Service to undertake assurance checks as to the proper use and safekeeping of DBS certificate information and will report to the DBS any suspected malpractice in relation to this Code of Practice or any suspected offences in relation to the misuse of DBS certificate information.

(1) British candidates:

Anyone applying to work with children is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of

Offenders Act 1974 and the supporting regulations. This means every applicant must provide details

of all convictions, cautions, and warnings which are not subject to current filtering rules. Risk Assessments are conducted by Thames Teachers when a DBS certificate contains any

information, to determine that candidate’s suitability for registration.

Candidates are given three opportunities to declare any information which may be contained on a

DBS certificate: (1) at the verbal vetting stage; (2) on the application form; and (3) at interview. If

something comes up later that has not been declared, the candidate will be required to explain, and

a decision taken at senior level as to whether to accept that candidate for placement.

Candidates may be offered to a client once a DBS application has been lodged (and confirmed by the

DBS online tracking service) but before the disclosure certificate is returned. These candidates are

only booked at the client’s discretion, and when written confirmation has been received from the

client indicating acceptance of the candidate. Clients will be informed once the Disclosure certificate

is received.

If a candidate who has recently worked abroad for a period of time wishes to register, s/he must

provide a police check or certificate of good conduct from that country to ensure the period spent

working out of the UK is covered. A DBS certificate is also completed, as well as any overseas police

check/references that may be necessary, to ensure we have complete criminal record history of the

candidate. The police checks/references must cover all the countries worked in during the

candidate’s time abroad.

A new DBS certificate, or the relevant check through the DBS Update Service if the candidate is

registered) is required if the candidate has a break in service of three months or more in education,

or if there are concerns about the candidate’s suitability to work with children.

(2) EU and Non-EU (foreign) candidates:

All EU and foreign candidates must provide a relevant current and original police check from their

main country of residence. Written Risk Assessments are conducted on candidates with disclosures.

Further, if a candidate has worked in other countries during their recent employment history,

additional police clearances will be required. If the candidate needs a police check from Australia,

New Zealand or Canada, this can be arranged through overseas offices.

Where a local police check is not available, or cannot be validated, the consultant must rely heavily

on a thorough face to face interview and references. At least one more character reference must be

sought from a person in a position of authority and known to the candidate whilst working abroad,

to gain reassurance that the candidate had no convictions that would preclude working with children

or vulnerable adults. This additional reference must contain a written statement which confirms

that, to the referee’s knowledge, the candidate was not involved in any illegal or unlawful activity

whilst in the referee’s employ.

All overseas candidates will be asked to complete a DBS certificate application form at interview /

registration.

Barred Lists’ Checks

A nominated person (Compliance Administrator) has access to the DBS Barred Lists checking portal. Checks on all known names used are carried out at registration (prior to the candidate commencing work) and annually thereafter on all available and working candidates. Overseas arrivals are checked at induction in the United Kingdom.

Disqualification:

In accordance with the Childcare Act 2006 and the Childcare (Disqualification) regulations 2009, all

candidates must declare in writing that they have read the relevant DfE guidance regarding

disqualification and that they understand their specific responsibilities to safeguard children.

References

A minimum of two satisfactory and current references is required for registration of all candidates;

at least one reference should be from a school/childcare/ vulnerable adult care environment,

covering a minimum period of four weeks work at one establishment which can be confirmed by a

credible referee. The most recent reference should always be sourced, and any gaps evidenced. Referees are asked to provide information which relates to concerns about the candidate working with children, if the candidate has been dismissed from a childcare position, and if the referee is aware of any issues in relation to safeguarding and child protection. References for all working candidates are updated frequently through verbal and written assessment feedback forms sent to clients.

Previous Employment History

Consultants are trained to recognise a candidate’s skills, experience, and competency, as well as to

identify gaps in their employment history on the CV or application form. They ask probing questions

to satisfy themselves of the reasons for the gaps and seek evidence for the period of unemployment

(maternity leave, illness, travel etc.). Gaps in employment history and the reason for the gaps are

noted on the candidate profile.

Thames Teachers contacts candidates regularly, and work availability diaries are kept updated.

Short gaps in employment history are always explored, and additional references sourced, as

circumstances may have changed and issues may have arisen which can unexpectedly affect the

candidate’s suitability for work.

Permission to work in the United Kingdom

All candidates must prove that they have the right to work in the United Kingdom, in line with the

document requirements outlined in the Home Office directive: An employer’s guide to the right to work checks (July 2016).

Several members of staff are trained in immigration issues and act as a resource for consultants, to

ensure that any foreign candidate does not work illegally. All foreign candidates have their passports and relevant entry clearance vignettes or biometric residence permits witnessed and copied at their induction/interview. The database prevents any candidate whose visa has expired, or about to expire, from being placed in a booking.

Medical Fitness

In line with the Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003, it is a mandatory

requirement of Thames Teachers for candidates to declare themselves fit to work in an education

setting, and to advise Thames Teachers if they have any health issues or disability relevant to the

day-to-day activities associated with teaching or childcare. Any issues raised by candidates are

discussed at interview, and if necessary candidates may be asked to provide a “Fitness to Work”

certificate from a General Practitioner.

Fluency of English

Thames Teachers requires all candidates to demonstrate a level of fluency sufficient to be able to

support pupils to GCSE level. This is assessed at the verbal vetting stage and rejections may happen

here if the applicant’s English is too poor to understand on the telephone. The candidate may be

rejected after the interview on the same grounds, as the ability to cope in the classroom and support pupils is paramount. It is the consultant’s responsibility to make the judgement based on the candidate’s interview responses.

Rejections

Thames Teachers reserves the right to decline applicants at the telephone vetting stage or after

the interview if the candidate does not meet company requirements.

Continued Suitability

Thames Teachers endeavours to process regular and ongoing checks for all candidates to ensure continued suitability.

Candidate’s DBS status is checked every 12 months on the Update Service. If the work-seeker is not subscribed to the Update Service, a new DBS check will need to be taken out in line with REC policy. For any workers who have had a gap in working for Thames Teachers for a 6 month period, new updated checks for references and DBS will be required. Thames Teachers will carry out a full ‘re-registration’ after a one-year gap, that is, this will require all checks to be carried out again.

All candidates who are working with Thames Teachers will receive ongoing verbal feedback from their individual consultant on a regular basis as well as timely email, text and App communications where applicable to send company messages and updates.

If there is any change in information received regarding a safeguarding issue, unsuitability, a complaint relating to the candidate, fitness to teach, a change of information on the Update Service etc (this list is not exhaustive), this will be referred to the Senior Leadership team/Director who will ensure that appropriate steps are taken. Depending on the level of seriousness and in line with REC guidelines, where appropriate the client and/or candidate will be informed and necessary action taken to ensure that there is no potential safeguarding issue.

Thames Teachers will also endeavour to ensure that all teachers/candidates are advised at registration that they should pursue membership of their preferred relevant professional body as is required by law.

Complaints

Thames Teachers has a formal complaints policy, details of which can be found in our Customer Service policy. All concerns raised by clients about a candidate are discussed fully with both the client and candidate and appropriate action taken. This information is recorded on both the candidate and client profiles.

If necessary, candidates may be excluded from a particular school if the client requests this; our electronic booking system will prevent the candidate from being placed into that school again. Candidates are given constructive advice from trained personnel to help overcome issues which have been raised by clients and are referred to appropriate professional development courses. Candidates who receive four or more school exclusions, for whatever reason, will be formally advised that Thames Teachers will no longer be seeking placements for them.

Candidates involved in complaints of a child protection nature are immediately prevented from undertaking further placements and remain suspended until the issue has been satisfactorily resolved. Thames Teachers works closely with schools and the Local Authority LADO and will fulfil its duty of referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service. Duty of Referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service and the National College of Teaching and Leadership Thames Teacher is committed to undertaking fully our duty of referral to the DBS when a worker is dismissed or removed from working with children and/or vulnerable adults because they have harmed or intended to harm a child or vulnerable adult, as outlined in the DBS Referral Guidance.

Thames Teachers works closely with LADOs and police, if necessary, to ensure that complaints of a child protection nature are handled fairly and appropriately. Similarly, any incidence of serious professional misconduct will be reported to the Department for Education, the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA).

With regards to Agency Worker Regulations, if a worker believes that he/she has not received his/her equal treatment entitlements, they should make a written request to Thames Teachers for further information. Thames Teachers will respond within 28 days.