Social Media Checks

The Department of Education have updated the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance which means that social media and online reputation screening are now recommended for prospective staff in England.

OnlineSCR has introduced social media checks for educational institutions, marking a significant step forward in improving the vetting process for school staff. This addition aligns with the Department for Education's (DfE) updates to the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance, which suggests including online searches for prospective staff, covering their social media profiles and other publicly available information sources.

Safeguarding in Education: A Changing Landscape

The revised statutory guidance represents a notable shift in the recruitment and selection process within the education sector. It emphasises the importance of conducting online searches, including social media screening, as part of the shortlisting process. This approach aims to identify any publicly available incidents or issues online that could be relevant to a candidate's suitability. By incorporating these additional online searches, schools can improve hiring efficiency and ensure that only the most suitable candidates are considered.

Social Media Policies and Screening in Schools

As most education employers adopt strict social media policies, the online conduct of staff is now under increased scrutiny. Social media checks are designed to assess whether a candidate's online activity aligns with the institution's behavioural guidelines, including interactions with students and families online. These checks are essential for identifying behaviours that could disqualify a candidate, such as extreme opinions, hate speech, or other inappropriate content.

Comprehensive Background Checks

The inclusion of social media checks in the vetting process reflects a broader trend across sectors that handle vulnerable groups. While traditional background checks are essential, they may not capture the full range of potential risks associated with a candidate's behaviour. Social media checks provide an additional layer of risk management, helping to identify issues that could compromise the safety and reputation of educational institutions.

Safeguarding the Educational Environment

Implementing social media screening helps protect not only the students but also the institution's interests. By identifying and addressing potential risks early in the hiring process, schools can avoid the consequences of a bad hire, including reputational damage and negative impacts on the school culture. Recent examples highlight the effectiveness of these checks in preventing individuals with questionable online behaviours from entering the education system.

Engaging Third-Party Specialists

Given the complexities involved in conducting thorough and unbiased social media checks, it is advisable to enlist the expertise of third-party specialists like OnlineSCR. Specialists in online reputation screening can ensure that the checks are conducted efficiently, ethically, and in compliance with data protection laws. OnlineSCR's system further allows schools to streamline the management of all safeguarding checks, ensuring a comprehensive approach to safety and compliance. Social media checks can be ordered at the click of a button.

What information does a Social Media Check report contain?

Our comprehensive social media screening reports provide a detailed overview of a candidate's online presence, helping you make informed hiring decisions. Each report includes:

  • Clear and concise presentation of relevant findings
  • Thorough analysis of all major social media platforms and niche channels
  • Identification of potential behavioural risks, such as violence, discrimination, or illegal activities
  • Context and translation for posts in over 200 languages

To see the value our social media reports can bring to your recruitment process, download a sample report by clicking here.

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