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How long do schools keep former employee (teaching staff) records on file?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by anon2799, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    It's unusual to be asked after interview. It's a standard reference question which we ask for prior to interview ( following new safer recruitment legislation). It's standard practice in my LA to send someone who hasn't worked for the LA before for a medical. If they ask at your medical, be honest. It was 8 years ago and shouldn't make any difference whatsoever.
  2. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Much depends on the individual school. The recommended length of time for personnel files is 7 years after termination of employment.
    See the Retention Schedule on http://www.irms.org.uk/resources/848
    However, I know of schools which will have mislaid personnel records after six months and schools which have carefully kept records going back to the Boer War.
    I think it would be a good strategy to contact your old HT, advise him/her that a reference may well be sought in the near future and sound enthusiastic about your new job and new life. Bring him/her up to date about how well things are going without making too many references about any previous sickness or absence.
    Technically you have made a false statement but you did move area (and can support that with evidence, I suppose). However, see how positive your old HT sounds.
    The fact that you are posting at nearly three in the morning says a great deal!
  3. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    7 years is standard for retention of records - although some schools can barely keep the records of the staff they have let alone the ones they used to have. There was a ruling last year that means potential employers cannot ask (or if using an old style form cannot expect) days of absence to be completed - not sure about being asked in interview though.
  4. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Info on what should and should not be asked now....
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    This is a tricky issue, because currently the advice is not clear.
    In fact the information about the DDA (now the Equality Act 2010) and the new regs that came in on 1st October last year is unclear in that it contradicts other legal requirements.
    A school has, in fact, a legal obligation to ensure that teachers are fit to teach. Similarly, PGCE courses require the same from student applicants.
    Fitness to Teach


    To be able to undertake teaching duties safely and effectively, it is essential that individual teachers:

    • Have the health and well-being necessary to deal with the specific types of teaching and associated duties (adjusted, as appropriate) in which they are engaged.
    • Are able to communicate effectively with children, parents and colleagues.
    • Possess sound judgement and insight.
    • Remain alert at all times.
    • Can respond to pupils' needs rapidly and effectively.
    • Are able to manage classes.
    • Do not constitute any risk to the health, safety or well-being of children in their care.
    • Can, where disabilities exist, be enabled by reasonable adjustments to meet these criteria.
    The decision on fitness, should be considered using the above criteria and should be based on an individual's ability to satisfy those criteria in relation to all duties undertaken as part of their specific post and in relation to all of the individual's health problems.

    My advice from an HR professional is that you can ask about absences, but you cannot make an employment decision based on them. You can, therefore, collect this information before interview for monitoring purposes, or to enable you to make reasonable adjustments for a candidate at interview.
    But since Fitness to Teach is a legal requirement for teaching, it could be said that unfitness specifically disqualifies you, and therefore it is legitimate to make this enquiry at application and reference stage.

    The specialist education lawyers Rickerbys say this:
    "In the case of teaching staff, the ISC is in dialogue with the DfE regarding the requirement for teachers to be medically fit to teach, as required by Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education.

    Questions at the application stage should go no further than establishing this fitness to teach or to ascertain if any reasonable adjustments are needed to the interview and selection process. It will therefore be legitimate to require candidates to confirm on the application form that they are
    medically fit to teach.

    Once the offer of employment is made, further details, for example completion of a medical questionnaire and provision of sickness record from past employers can be requested."
    Safer Recruitment in Education states that:
    3.45. An offer of appointment to the successful candidate should be conditional upon:
    <font face="MyriadMM" color="#231f20">
    • the receipt of at least two satisfactory references
    • verification of the candidate's identity
    • a check of List 99 and a satisfactory CRB Disclosure
    • verification of the candidate's medical fitness
    • verification of qualifications
    • verification of professional status where required e.g. GTC registration, QTS status, NPQH
    • verification of successful completion of statutory induction period
    The Government guidance goes on to say that it is essential that managers take steps to ensure:
    </font>&bull; That those who teach are competent and fit to do so.
    &bull; That they remain competent and fit.
    &bull; That the health, safety and well being of staff and students is safeguarded.
    &bull; That they comply with all legislative requirements including Health and Safety and Disability Discrimination legislation.
    &bull; That a consistent quality and standard of education is delivered to all those for whom they have a responsibility.
    As part of satisfying these requirements employers should seek specialist advice in relation to fitness to teach for all staff who they intend to employ.
    Managers should seek specialist advice in relation to those who have suffered significant illness or injury to ensure that they are fit to return to teaching duties.

    Basically there are two conflicting bits of legislation. The requirement to ensure, before confirming any offer of employment to a teacher, that they are fit to teach, and the legislation to protect those who are unwell against discrimination.

    4.38. Anyone appointed to a post involving regular contact with children or young people must be medically fit (see the Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003). It is the statutory responsibility of employers to satisfy themselves that individuals have the appropriate level of physical and mental fitness before an appointment offer is confirmed.

    I see a lot of money being earned by lawyers over this!
    I could go on for ever quoting from documents! But you'll all just sigh and say TLDR.
    As far as job aplications are concerned, the advice always is to be honest. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
    Best wishes!

    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars and workshops, one-to-one careers and applications advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews.
    By popular demand! In response to Tessers e-mailing in: another Job Seminar now on Saturday 14th May:
    The next Moving onto Leadship seminar is Sunday 15th May.
    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for how to book a meeting with me personally.
    Look forward to seeing you!
  6. Wow, you HTs (and others) are amazing, brilliant people! Thanks so much for all the responses to my rather desperate question.
    Having read them all, my worry and guilt has been reduced significantly[​IMG]. I think (hope) from what everyone has said, that I may have just got away with this, but will email my ex-HT for advice. She was really lovely when it was obvious that I was getting ill, right through to when I couldn't go on any more. She said that she thought something was a bit 'odd' when one of her teachers was cleaning thier cupboards and putting up displays at nearly midnight during the holidays (which was what I started doing as one of my 'escapes'), and the caretaker had told her (poor guy probably just wanted to go to bed).
    Anyway, I think I'll be sleeping a lot better now, thanks to all you kind HTs (and others) and the fantasic facts/advice you have given me. Fingers crossed, everything will be ok![​IMG]
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    It is encouraging to see that you are feeling more confident.
    I would, however, just remind you of Theo's very sound advice for the future:
    As far as job aplications are concerned, the advice always is to be honest. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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