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DBS Issues

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by jason821, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. jason821

    jason821 New commenter

    Ive had a successful career since leaving university in 2007 and wanted to make the transition to a more meaningful role as a geography teacher. With so many teachers leaving the profession early I hoped since id already had a successful career I wouldn’t have the same pressures such as buying a house or starting a family which meant I could commit long term to the profession.

    However, 16 year ago in 2003 I received a conviction which I was told at the time a technical assault as I had gotten blood on a police officer. I had actually been assaulted in a nightclub and called the police myself, but when they turned up tried to arrest me as they saw me covered in my own blood and didn’t realise I was the one that made the call. The end result was that I received a £50 fine which considering a speeding ticket is £100, isn’t that big in the grand scheme of things.

    Ive been successful accepted onto a PGCE course which I started on the 5th September. In June of this year I sat a panel at the University who were satisfied I was no risk to students from a safeguarding perspective and started a short 5 day placement at a school that had no issues with the DBS. Unfortunately though I started my 2nd placement on the 3rd October and on the 15th October, 12 days later was escorted from my lesson observation to meet the headteacher. I explained to the headteacher what had happened and the process id been through with the panel at the University. I was then escorted off the site and told I would be a risk to students and the headteacher was to do her own background checks before making the decision if she is going to cancel my placement.

    Obviously from my point of view I consider this to be unfair but looking online they are lots of people who have been held back from the teaching profession due to minor incidents that occurred in their youth.

    Has anyone had any similar experiences and could anyone provide any advice? I want to be in the teaching profession long term but concerned i won't even pass my course or get a job?

  2. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Having a conviction is not necessarily a barrier to becoming a teacher. I have a former colleague who got a caution for criminal damage when he was a student (he broke a window when he was trying to get the attention of his girlfriend and one of her housemates called the police). When he applies for a job he sends in an envelope labelled "For the headteacher only" explaining the situation.

    In your case, it is a little bit more difficult as you have a conviction for assault. As such you are likely to be considered more of a risk to students. This does not mean you have no chance of getting a position but, unless you are a teacher of a shortage subject, you may find it difficult initially. Once you have a job, moving on would be easier I would have thought.
  3. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Are you in a union? If so I think you should give them and ring and seek their advice. If not just hang on and see what happens. The school has to investigate and it may be a straight forward reinstatement afterwards.
    Do join a union though if you are not already in one. Not just for this incident but it's very important for teachers to be in one.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    A single conviction of this sort 16 years ago really shouldn't debar you from teaching but because it's up to each individual school to decide who it employs and what weight it attaches to a conviction you might unfortunately come across a head or governors with a "we won't employ anyone with a conviction" mentality. What you describe would be unlikely to be a bar to appointment in my school. We too ask candidates to disclose any convictions in a sealed envelope separately from their main application form. It is only opened if the person is the chosen candidate for the job.

    If the conviction was 2003 and you left university 2007 that suggests you may only have been 18 at the time. Is that about how it was? I'd hope that any head would see that an offence by an 18 year old with a spotless record since is highly unlikely to repeated when they are 35-ish.

    Your union should be able to advise you on how best to present it at interview. You know it's on your DBS so make sure you disclose it on the application form. Explain what happened and express your regrets obviously. Explaining how you've learned your lesson (don't say it was unfair you shouldn't have been prosecuted or deny you did it!). You were young single man at the time, you've matured now, have a family (if you do), spotless record/model citizen since. Kind to small furry animals, love your mum, etc etc. You get the picture.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  5. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    If, as I assume the university you are doing your PGCE with, arranged this placement, then surely they are responsible for informing the HT of any potential issues, and should be working with and advising both you and the HT on this matter. Are you paying for this course? If so the university are receiving money to provide a service and you should not have been put in the position of being removed from the premises of your teaching placement in this way. Either you can have a career in teaching or you can't, the university should have been clear about this before allowing you to invest time and money in doing this training course. You definitely need to be in a Union, and get further advice.
    Don't waste a year or more of your life training for a job you may not be allowed to do, you need to know exactly where you stand on this.
  6. NQT08

    NQT08 Occasional commenter

    If it's not a conviction on the protected list, it won't show up on your DBS as it was more than 11 years ago.
    Mermaid7 likes this.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Good point, but I understood OP to mean in Post #1 that the conviction did appear on his DBS Disclosure and that is why the headteacher escorted him off the premises. Maybe OP can clarify?
  8. jason821

    jason821 New commenter

    Thank you all for your advice. The conviction did appear on the DBS. Whilst it doesn’t help me short term I have a solicitor who said it shouldn’t be on there and has agreed to appeal it for me. Until I made my PGCE application I didn’t even know it existed due to never being in trouble with the police before or after the original incident.
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Assault is not a filterable offence and any convictions or cautions for such a crime will always show up.

    The real question here is how the school know, if the university completed the vetting. It is my recent experience that universities are not allowed to disclose any details of DBS searches to placement schools, as doing so would represent a definite GDPR breach. The uni simply needs to confirm that they have undertaken appropriate suitability checks. Students are not employees, and the school should not request sight of a DBS certificate.

    if a school wanted to employ a student, they would have to complete their own vetting and make their own decisions about suitability.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  10. NQT08

    NQT08 Occasional commenter

    Common assault is filterable.
    More serious assaults are not so I suppose the actual wording of the conviction is important.
  11. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Just checked the list, and you are correct that only some of the many forms of assault are non filterable. However, as the OP reports the offence was 16 years ago, and the filtering period is 6 years, the post must relate to a non filterable offence.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Given it was an assault of a police officer, I doubt very much it would be filterable.
    If this was the explanation given to the school, I can see that they might feel you weren't taking it seriously. The fact you received a fine for assaulting a police officer, means something more happened than you've written here.

    You need to go back to the university and see what they are putting in place. You won't be the first trainee to be asked to leave their placement and you won't be the last. Some heads will not want to employ you, some won't mind.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    The HT was draconian to have escorted you off site like that, assuming you had supplied all the information at the time of embarking on your post there,since there is a fairly standard risk assessment checklist that HR can go through in order to pass you "despite" convictions on your DBS. The questions relate to lapse of time, and any local circumstance which is unlikely to be specifically repeated . They also assess levels of insight, remorse, honesty etc.

    Your HT will have known about this list-the DBS service supply one themselves, but local authorities have also come up with passable variations over the years. All schools HR departments will have a copy of it,and it is used as a basis for interviewing potentially employable candidates who hold convictions.

    However, your HT made a decision not to use it, so presumably judged the conviction could never be filtered through this process.

    What bugs me is that you were allowed to start there in the first place. 12 days in. Surely it cannot be that nobody looked at your documents? That would be utterly remiss. Not with the Zeitgeist of caution at all. But it must be either that, or something came to light which you had not told them. Only you know.

    The lack of ceremony in removing you could be because the HT was aware of their own failing in not perusing your papers correctly. In which case there is every chance that her "own investigations" will result in you being called back on.

    And if it was for any other reason, only you will know, and would probably not be inclined tell us here. The 12 days that you were allowed to be occupied there are mysterious to me.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think it might have been sensible if the university had raised this with the school before even allocating you to the placement, let alone starting.

    I used to be involved in placing volunteers in schools. We CRBed them and confirmed that to the school, and on the one occasion that the CRB was not clear, with the volunteer's permission, we approached the school in advance to check whether they would be prepared to take him. By doing that before allocations were made, we were not then left with a school with no volunteer and a volunteer with no placement.

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