What is a Single Central Record?

In the fast-paced world of education, maintaining compliance with safeguarding regulations is crucial. One key aspect of this is the Single Central Record (SCR), a vital document that ensures the safety of both students and staff. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what a Single Central Record is, why it is essential for educational institutions, and how an automated solution like OnlineSCR can streamline this crucial process.

What is a Single Central Record?

The DfE Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges, “Keeping Children Safe in Education”, states that all schools must produce and maintain a Single Central Record of Recruitment and Vetting Checks, this is a statutory requirement.

A Single Central Record is a mandatory document that educational establishments in the UK must maintain. It is a centralised record of all the pre-employment checks conducted on staff, including teachers, support staff and volunteers, to ensure they are suitable for working with children. The SCR is a legal requirement and a critical component of OFSTED/ISI inspections. During an inspection, the OFSTED/ISI Inspector will ask to view the record.

Schools can formulate their own SCR template format. However, it’s much easier to manage your Single Central Record via a dedicated, purpose-built system. More on that later! These pre-employment checks include:

Identity Verification

This information must record;

  • Full name of the individual,
  • Current home address,
  • Date of Birth.
  • Details of identity documents used as evidence for verification. You must see originals and photocopies should never be accepted.

The DFE guidance refers to the identification checking guidelines which can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Role applied for

You should record employment start date and job title, although this isn’t strictly necessary. If you do add role data, you should update it where appropriate as the checks necessary for that person may change with their new role.

Qualifications and professional registrations

Where appropriate, you should carry out a check of professional qualifications. Examples for this include; Qualified Teacher Status, Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) qualification, qualifications for School Business Managers etc.

Teaching Regulation Agency Checks

Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance describes the full range of prohibitions, directions, sanctions and orders that apply to school staff and Governors.

There is a statutory requirement that a Prohibition from Teaching check should be made for all teaching staff employed by a school. However, this does not apply to any other groups of staff but can be good safeguarding practice to carry them out.

A Prohibition from Teaching check may be required for any other individuals that carry out teaching work. Teaching work is defined as;

  • Planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils,
  • Delivering lessons to pupils,
  • Assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils,
  • Reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils.

A Section 128 Barring Direction Check

It is mandatory for all Proprietors, Governors, Trustees and members of the Senior Leadership Team, including Heads of Departments, in academies and free schools to be checked to ensure they are not barred under Section 128 of the Education & Skills Act 2008.

This requirement covers individuals “taking part in the management of an independent school” which covers;

  • Membership of an Academy’s proprietor body,
  • All teaching and non-teaching positions on a Senior Leadership Team,
  • Teaching positions which are deemed to be Heads of Department,

This check is also mandatory for all governors, new and existing, including those in LA Maintained Schools.

Vetting Checks

All staff working in Regulated Activity must undergo a Children’s Barred List check, which should be included in an Enhanced DBS Check. [1] If a staff member starts work before receiving a DBS Certificate, a separate Children’s Barred List check is required. Schools and colleges can use the TRA’s Employers Access to carry out the check using their DfE Sign-in account.

Volunteers under close supervision are not usually considered to be in Regulated Activity. Schools have the discretion to obtain an Enhanced DBS check for them, but a Children’s Barred List Check should not be included.

School governors must have an Enhanced DBS Check. A Children’s Barred List Check is only required if a governor is involved in Regulated Activity.

Employees in Special Secondary Schools providing sensitive personal care to students aged 18 and older may need an Enhanced DBS Check that includes both Children’s and Adults’ Barred List Checks.

For more information, consult the Department of Health Regulated Activity (Adults) publication.

For individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK., schools and colleges must make any further checks they think appropriate so that any relevant events that occurred outside the UK can be considered. A Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) should be obtained, if possible, from each relevant country. Details of how to obtain such a check from the relevant authorities abroad are available on GOV.UK.

If the country concerned is not listed, please contact the relevant embassy or consulate for further details. See here if a CGC is unobtainable, a self-declaration may be necessary.

Right to work in the UK

Before an employee starts work, their proof of the right to work in the UK must be verified; this is also recommended for frequent or intensive volunteers.

Keep a confidential copy of the evidence in a personnel file for at least two years after the individual leaves the school.

Third party suppliers and contractors

Schools must receive written confirmation from agencies or third-party organisations that they have conducted all the necessary checks on individuals working at the school. This is often called a “letter of assurance”. Contractors or agency staff working unsupervised and having regular contact with children must have an Enhanced DBS Check, including a Children’s Barred List Check.

Contractors without checks should never work unsupervised or engage in regulated activity. Schools are responsible for determining appropriate supervision levels. For self-employed individuals, schools should consider obtaining the DBS check, as they cannot apply directly to the DBS.

Always verify all agency, third party and contractors’ staff identities upon arrival at the school or college.

Who should be included in a Single Central Record?

A Single Central Record (SCR) should include all individuals who work or volunteer at an educational establishment in a way that brings them into regular contact with children and young people even if the work is only for one day. This typically includes:

  • Teachers: All teaching staff, including permanent, part-time, supply or temporary teachers, should be included in the SCR.
  • Support staff: This category includes teaching assistants, administrative staff, caretakers, and other non-teaching staff who have regular contact with children.
  • Volunteers: Any volunteers who have regular, unsupervised contact with children should be part of the SCR.
  • Governors or trustees: Members of the governing body or board of trustees who have regular contact with children should also be included.
  • Agency or contracted staff: Staff members hired through agencies or on a contract basis, such as catering staff or IT support, who have regular contact with children should be part of the SCR.
  • Trainee/student teachers: Trainee or student teachers on placement at the educational establishment should be included as they have regular contact with children.There is no requirement for the school or college to record details of fee-funded trainees on the single central record. However, schools and colleges may wish to record this information under non statutory information.
  • External staff: Individuals who are not employed by the establishment but have regular contact with children, such as sports coaches or music tutors, should be included in the SCR.

It’s important to note that the SCR should only include individuals who are employed or engaged by the educational establishment and have regular contact with children.

Individuals who only have occasional or supervised contact with children may not need to be included in the SCR, but the establishment should still follow appropriate safeguarding procedures for these individuals.

Why is a Single Central Record Important?

The Single Central Record is vital for educational establishments for several reasons:

  • Safeguarding: A well-maintained SCR ensures that all staff members and volunteers have undergone thorough background checks, safeguarding the welfare of children in the establishment.
  • Compliance: The SCR is a legal requirement and a crucial part of OFSTED/ISI inspections. Failing to maintain an up-to-date and accurate SCR can result in serious consequences, including unsatisfactory inspection outcomes and potential legal ramifications.
  • Reputation: A well-managed SCR demonstrates the institution’s commitment to child protection, helping to build trust and credibility with parents, staff, and regulatory bodies.

Why Choose an Automated Solution Like OnlineSCR?

While it is possible to maintain a Single Central Record using a spreadsheet, there are significant benefits to adopting an automated solution like OnlineSCR:

  • Time-saving: OnlineSCR automates the process of recording, updating, and maintaining an SCR, reducing the administrative burden on staff and freeing up valuable time for other essential tasks.
  • Accuracy: Our automated system minimises the risk of human error, ensuring that your SCR is always accurate and up-to-date. With automatic reminders for renewals and expiring documents, you’ll never miss an important update.
  • Security: OnlineSCR stores your SCR securely in the cloud, protecting your sensitive data from unauthorised access, data loss, and corruption.
  • Compliance: Our system is designed to meet the specific requirements of OFSTED/ISI inspections, ensuring that your SCR is always compliant and inspection-ready.
  • Accessibility: With cloud-based storage, your SCR is accessible from any device with an internet connection, making it easy to access and update your record whenever and wherever you need it.
  • Support: OnlineSCR provides dedicated customer support by telephone to help you navigate the complexities of SCR maintenance, ensuring you have the guidance you need to keep your institution compliant and safeguarded.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service Checks: Our systems are directly connected to the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) and other regulatory bodies. Request checks at a click of a button. We carry out the checks for you and populate the results back into your single central record automatically, saving time and erasing inputting errors.
  • Reports: Download reports for staff personnel files, safeguarding audits and inspection purposes. Users can also pull off reports highlighting gaps in their staff records
  • Multi Academy Trusts: No matter how many schools you’re responsible for, our system makes it easy to see at a glance if you’re inspectorate ready. Our Trust/Top Level Overview screen shows all of your schools and their inspectorate ready status. Trust users can easily switch between school’s SCRs, plus transfer/share records with the MAT.

Have a question about your Single Central Record? Pick up the phone and one of the team will be happy to help!


Maintaining a comprehensive, up-to-date Single Central Record is crucial for ensuring the safety and welfare of children in educational establishments.

By choosing a comprehensive solution like OnlineSCR, you can save time, improve accuracy, and achieve peace of mind in meeting your safeguarding and compliance obligations.

Trust OnlineSCR to streamline your SCR management and keep your educational institution inspection-ready at all times.

[1] Regulated activity:
In summary, a person will be engaging in regulated activity with children if, as a result of their work, they:

  • will be responsible, on a regular basis in a school or college, for teaching, training instructing, caring for or supervising children
  • will be working on a regular basis in a specified establishment, such as a school, or in connection with the purposes of the establishment, where the work gives opportunity for contact with children,
  • engage in intimate or personal care or healthcare or any overnight activity, even if this happens only once.
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