OnlineSCR is a straightforward yet powerful tool designed to help schools keep track of all necessary background checks, from DBS verifications to professional qualifications. By moving away from traditional spreadsheets and manual processes, OnlineSCR offers a streamlined approach to safeguarding, making it easier for schools to maintain compliance and focus on what really matters - providing a safe learning environment for students.

The Critical Role of SCR in Vetting Staff

The Single Central Record isn't just a regulatory requirement; it's an important part of school safeguarding practices, particularly when it comes to managing substitute teachers and temporary staff. These individuals play a vital role in the educational ecosystem, stepping in to ensure that learning continues uninterrupted, regardless of staff absences or shortages. However, their transient nature poses unique challenges in maintaining the same rigorous vetting standards applied to permanent staff. We addresses this challenge head-on, providing a comprehensive and accessible record of all necessary checks and qualifications for everyone working within the school.

OnlineSCR simplifies the verification process. It consolidates various educational checks—DBS checks, prohibition orders and qualifications — into a single, easily accessible platform. This streamlines the administration process but also significantly reduces the margin for error. This ensures that each staff member, whether temporary or permanent, meets the required standards becomes a more manageable task. Schools can quickly identify any gaps in compliance, allowing for swift action to rectify issues, upholding the highest safeguarding standards.

The OnlineSCR acts as a live document that can be updated in real-time as new checks are completed or as existing staff acquire new qualifications. This means that OnlineSCR provides an ongoing assurance that all staff members, irrespective of their contract length, are suitably vetted to work with children.

Enhancing Compliance and Efficiency with OnlineSCR's Technology

OnlineSCR's technology revolutionises how schools manage their safeguarding processes. By moving away from paper-based systems and cumbersome spreadsheets, it introduces a level of efficiency and reliability that was previously very difficult to achieve. Our digitised approach not only streamlines the management of the Single Central Record but also enhances the accuracy of the data it contains. With features designed to automate routine tasks, schools can now ensure that their compliance with safeguarding regulations is both thorough and up-to-date without dedicating excessive administrative resources to the task.

One of the main benefits of adopting OnlineSCR's system is the automation of verification checks. The platform directly interface with DBS services and other necessary verification databases, reducing the time it takes to confirm QTS, sanctions and clearances. This means that schools can quickly onboard new staff, confident in the knowledge that all safeguarding criteria are met. Our system's real-time updating feature ensures that any changes in staff status or new information are reflected immediately, keeping the SCR current without manual intervention.

OnlineSCR provides comprehensive reporting tools, making it easier for schools to identify any areas of non-compliance and address them promptly. This proactive approach to safeguarding compliance not only supports schools in maintaining a safe environment for students and staff but also prepares them for inspections, with clear, concise records that can be accessed and reviewed at any time. By leveraging OnlineSCR's technology, schools can achieve a higher standard of safeguarding efficiency, ensuring that compliance is seamlessly integrated into their daily operations.

Conclusion

Bringing in supply teachers and temporary staff is essential for maintaining the continuity of education.  While the introduction of temporary staff comes with its challenges, the risks associated with safeguarding compliance can be substantially reduced. With OnlineSCR, schools have a powerful tool at their disposal, one that ensures compliance is continuously maintained, safeguarding standards are upheld, and the educational journey for students remains uninterrupted and secure.

Want to find out more? Schedule a free demo today at a time that suits you.

Importance of a Single Central Record

The Single Central Record acts as a centralised repository that collates and verifies essential information about staff, ensuring that all personnel meet the necessary safeguarding requirements. This includes verifying staff identity, qualifications, references, and background checks. By having a single point of reference for this information, schools can efficiently monitor and track compliance, ensuring that everyone working with children is suitable and safe.

Benefits of a Single Central Record

Implementing a Single Central Record offers numerous benefits. Firstly, it promotes student safety by creating a comprehensive overview of all staff, allowing schools to identify any safeguarding concerns promptly. Additionally, it simplifies the recruitment process, making it easier to assess candidates and streamline employment checks. Moreover, having a centralised system reduces administrative burdens by eliminating duplicated efforts and maintaining accurate records, saving time and resources.

Maintaining Compliance and Efficiency

Regularly updating and auditing the Single Central Record is crucial to maintaining compliance with regulatory standards. Schools should establish clear processes and designate responsible individuals to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the record. This proactive approach ensures that the institution is well-prepared for inspections and demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding and regulatory compliance.

In today's ever-evolving educational landscape, a school's Single Central Record is a cornerstone of effective safeguarding and operational efficiency. By implementing and maintaining this centralised repository, schools can provide a safe environment for students, streamline recruitment procedures, and demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding, ultimately enhancing the overall well-being and success of their educational community.

Catch-up strategies may include regular, informal assessments; identifying pupils who need additional, one-one support; prioritising practical work that wasn’t possible via remote learning; and recapping the previous year’s curriculum to cover what had been missed.
Although everyone within the educational industry have been working hard to enable children to be back on track with their education, Ofsted inspections have proven that concerns in attendance still remain. School have provided reasons such as.

Schools have also reported that the majority of COVID absences have been among disadvantaged pupils, those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Due to numerous lockdowns, children newly entering schools are arriving with lower starting points compared to previous years. These children are struggling to adapt to school life and are experiencing behavioural issues towards learning, causing them to have difficulties in settling in.

Ofsted have found that early year’s pupils are struggling most with social and emotional communication between each other due to a lot of children being born within the pandemic. Child carers are focusing on developing their language and communication skills between other children to help build the bridge of social and emotional skills.

Ofsted have found that there is still disruption of education for further educational students. Interruptions of learning have been caused by COVID absences, falls in numbers of learners on courses, gaps in students’ practical skills and their English & Maths. Mental Illness is also a high concern for students and many are struggling to return to face-to-face learning.

Inspectors have found that in order to help learners catch-up. Providers are repeating elements of courses; offering individual support to develop specific skills; prioritise practical teaching. A number of providers have developed new programmes to support those who have lost their jobs or wanting to change careers due to COVID, enabling them to have the skills and knowledge for re-employment.

For more information, please visit the Ofsted website found here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-adapt-teaching-to-help-children-catch-up-but-covid-related-absence-remains-a-concern

This is exciting news for staff and pupils within the educational settings however, it is important for everyone to remain safe during COVID-19.

DfE guidance on educational visits has been updated to follow the government roadmap. As the roadmap follows data rather than dates. The set dates may be subject to change therefore, it is important to keep monitoring the government guidelines provided. The government will move one step when it is safe to do so following the Prime Ministers Announcement of Step 3. Advise will continue to update following the government roadmap. More information can be found on the DfE website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#educational-visits

The Outdoor Educational Advisers Panel (OEAP) have updated their guidance following the DfE to aid schools when planning a residential trip. https://oeapng.info/8959-residentials/

OEAP updated 4.2b Residentials guidance in order to remain safe during COVID-19. Schools and colleges planning on taking residential trips must be conducted in the line of the relevant coronavirus guidance. This includes the controls within the guidance such as keeping participants within the relevant groups and following the guidelines of the accommodated site. Appropriate links to the DfE and other guidance for specific educational settings is provided at the beginning of the document. There is more detail in annex C for the document for schools and annex B of the document of outer-school settings. The 4.2b residential guidance also provides other general guidance for schools on residential trips. https://oeapng.info/downloads/download-info/4-2b-residentials/

OEAP also updated the 4.4k Coronavirus guidance for schools planning and managing residential trips during the pandemic. Schools must check and follow the government guidelines of the place of destination as well as their own settings. Schools and colleges should monitor the guidelines for any changes in order to remain safe within the government guidelines. Parents/Guardians concerns should be taken into consideration and discussed, they should be kept informed in the runup to the visit and how you are going to mitigate any risks. More guidance is provided within the document. https://oeapng.info/downloads/download-info/4-4k-coronavirus/

The government has advised that international visits should not commence up to and including 5th September 2021 due the complexities of international travel at this stage of the pandemic. More guidance is provided no the DfE website.

Although it has been too long since children have been able to enjoy the educational visits that schools and colleges provide it is still important for pupils and staff to remain safe during off-site visits.

The review will consist of Ofsted / Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) attending schools in highlighted areas to review the support systems in place and how well the responses are working. As well as talking to staff, pupils and leaders, Ofsted / ISI will consider whether further support is needed in teaching pupils about sexual abuse and relationships. The review will also make sure that other current safeguarding guidance is understood and carried out by schools and colleges. Ofsted / ISI will also consider how well schools are working with multi-agency safeguarding partners.

The review will ensure that the right guidance is provided to colleges, state schools and independent schools on how to deal with sexual harassment and violence allegations. Current inspection regimes will also be reviewed to ensure all schools are strong enough to address the issues and promote the welfare of children.

All schools are now required to provide sex and relationship education to secondary pupils and relationship education to primary pupils. This enables children to have a better understanding and to be aware of important issues such as consent, respect and personal privacy in order to understand how to behave towards peers.

The Department for Education will not hesitate to take action towards schools that have failed to meet the safeguarding standards. Where concerns are present Ofsted / ISI will ensure improvement in the failing practices or will be forced to close. This strategy will provide a whole system response to focus on the prevention and early intervention of sexual abuse.

Ofsted will work with representatives from social care, police, victim support groups, school and college leaders and the Independent Schools Council. The review will conclude by end of May 2021 and will seek to establish where safeguarding arrangements and processes are good and have worked well and where improvements are needed.

The NSPCC have provided a new direct helpline for abuse in education on their website 0800 136 663. An email is also provided help@nspcc.org.uk. This helpline is open to children and young people who have experienced abuse in education and for worried adults and professionals that need support and guidance for recent and none recent abuse. See here.

Guidance is provided on the government website by the Department for Education. See here.

Guidance is also provided by Ofsted on the government website. See here.

 

Capita has advised all users that the current Teachers’ Pensions Online (TP Online) Service will cease to operate from 31 March 2021 and will be transferred to the Department for Education (DfE).

Employers working outside the educational settings will no longer have the legal requirements to check the children’s barred list status of individuals who are applying for the roles in schools, colleges and universities. Those outside of the educational settings include recruitment, supply and HR agencies.

The new DfE service is strictly limited to employers of staff in educational settings who are responsible for checking the suitability of applicants seeking to engage in regulated activity. If you do not fall within the legal requirements you will not be able access the replacement system. As educational settings have the facility to check the barred list status, there is no requirement to involve a third party.

Prior to 1st of April Educational settings could carry out separate barred list checks (formerly known as List 99) through third parties, these checks where commonly used in circumstances where an applicant is still waiting for their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to be disclosed but is due to commence work in the school that day, in line with the schools safeguarding policies they could carry out a separate barred list check including all other pre-appointment checks with risk assessments etc.., to enable the person to commence work.

Schools, colleges and universities have access to the teaching regulation agency portal (Secure Access) through the Department for Education (DFE), will be able to carry out the children’s barred list check directly alongside other checks such as QTS, Prohibition from Teaching and Section 128 via the Department for Education.

It is important that these changes are made aware to schools, colleges and universities to ensure they are following the correct legal requirements when recruiting staff.

If you have any further queries please contact the Department for Education.

Children are returning to schools for full time face-to-face education on the 8th March 2021. The excitement and relief that our children’s education will be back on track includes a lot of new guidance and methods of implementing safeguarding.

Safeguarding leaders should lead the revision of the school’s child protection policy due to more children returning to school. Schools should follow the KCSIE guidance as normal. Time must be allowed for safeguarding leaders and deputies to deal with referrals from social care and other agencies, alongside supporting staff and children with new safeguarding concerns. More Guidance is provided by the Department of Education on the government website under the Schools Coronavirus (COVID-19) Operational guidance (page 63). This guidance can be found here.

The Prime Minister announced that the catch-up on education will have an extra £400m funding from the government, this enables our children’s education to be supported. The ‘Extensive Programme’ will provide teachers with resources and materials including expansions of one-to-one and small group sessions to those who need it most. Under the programme funding is available for schools to support disadvantaged children and activity clubs, the funding is also available for extra classes in the holidays and language support for pre-school children. This is to enable our children to progress their education during the pandemic. More information can be found on Sky News.

It is so important to be aware of children’s vulnerability and wellbeing during the return of school as they have been deprived of education in a face-to-face environment since December 2020. Safeguarding guidance must be followed with extra care to ensure our children’s safety and wellbeing is promised while learning.

More information on the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance provided by the Department of Education can be found on the government website.

Although most of the population are working/learning from home, Key Worker’s children and vulnerable children may still have to attend school in a face-to-face environment due to the COVID pandemic. This is already unusual for children to understand therefore, protecting our children’s safety and wellbeing is crucial.

Staff members who are working in school during lockdown need to follow safeguarding procedures as normal with extra care and awareness due to the reduced amount communication and routine COVID has brought to all areas of education. This makes it harder for teachers to be aware of any problems a child is having whether that be educational or personal, then be able to provide them the correct support that is needed. It is expected for schools to have a trained DSL available on site If not able to work onsite, should be active to contact via phone or online while working from home. If a DSL is not on site a senior leader may take responsibility to ensure safeguarding on site.

Not only schools and academy trusts themselves are responsible for the safeguarding of children during the pandemic, school governors and academy trustees also have a role to play in ensuring safeguarding is carried out. Governors and academy trustees must talk through decisions with the leadership team, find out how the school is implementing safeguarding during COVID and finding out what support is needed from the school to keep children safe.

Schools and Academy trusts may already be aware of the safeguarding of children when attending school however, the extra care taken in safeguarding while children are learning in such unusual condition’s benefits safety and educational futures in many different ways.
Guidance is provided by the Department of Education advising schools, parents and guardians who should attend school during lockdown. (Page 44 of Restricting Attendance During the National Lockdown.) This guidance can be found here.

Guidance is also provided for governors and academy trustees on the NCPCC website here.

During the times of the COVID pandemic education has resulted to virtual learning. Online lessons are taking place all over the country across all ages constantly. Schools and Academy Trusts have an obligation to ensure the safety of our children when learning online. Schools still need to follow safer recruitment principles when considering new members of staff to work for their school.

There are many platforms that have been made available for people to connect online for work, education and just for fun, however when remote teaching, staff must ensure the platform used is suitable for the children’s age group, ability and stage of development. Staff must not set up personal accounts on the platform school accounts should be used only.

Parents, carers and children must understand the benefits and risks when learning online. They have to give consent for their child to be involved in online sessions. Staff members must also be comfortable planning and delivering lessons online.

Lives streaming and recording lessons are new to everyone therefore, some areas of this type of learning needs to be considered to minimise harm. Sat in front of a camera can be an unusual feeling, especially for children so it is important to be aware of how comfortable a child is when learning online. Any unusual behaviour during the online sessions should be followed by child protection procedures provided by the school. The NSPCC Learning provide an Education Self-Assessment Tool (ESAT) to ensure the correct safeguarding and child protection measures are in place. This can be found here.

Online teaching is different to a face-to-face environment, staff must remain professional and should be reminded of the code of conduct frequently. During recording or online streams teachers should not have anything personal that could be seen or heard in the background.
Keeping children safe online is a top priority, therefore following these guidelines to ensure the safety of children when learning is critical.

More information and guidance on safeguarding children when learning online can be found on the NSPCC Learning website here.

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU has created a lot of changes within safeguarding children in education. Recent changes have been made within the consultation of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) that commenced on the 18th January 2021. EEA sanction checks were usually carried out to those who lived or worked outside of the UK coming from the EU. (Paragraphs 149 & 165 (bullet. 5), removed references to checking Teacher Services for EEA sanctions) as the UK now stands as an independent country.

Schools and Colleges must follow the amended guidance (Paragraph 172 KCSIE) provided by the Department of Education when hiring staff who are not UK or Irish nationalists. The individuals who have lived or worked outside of the UK must have an enhanced DBS certificate (including barred list information, for those who will be engaging in regulated activity) even if the individual has never been to the UK. Schools and Colleges must carry out additional checks for the teaching roles, this could be about their previous work conduct or any information that was issued by overseas teaching authority where they think is appropriate. Schools and Colleges must seek alternative methods that are sufficient when information is not provided by the overseas teaching authority. Sanctions and restrictions that will not prevent the individual from teaching in the UK imposed onto individuals must be considered when evaluating the suitability of employment. This evidence should be considered all together alongside other safeguarding checks so that any relevant events that occurred outside of the UK are considered. More information can be found in the Department for Education Guidance, Recruit teachers from overseas.

It is crucial that the changes made to legalisation are made aware to Schools and Colleges and carried out accordingly to ensure our children’s safety within their learning environment. Single Central Record as a company prioritises acting upon any changes to the safeguarding of children within education to keep your schools, colleges and multi-academy trusts safe and compliant.

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