THE BRITISH SCHOOL OF AMSTERDAM
SAFER RECRUITMENT POLICY
The British School of Amsterdam is committed to providing the best possible care and education to its pupils and to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. The School is also committed to providing a supportive and flexible working environment for all its members of staff. The School recognises that, in order to achieve these aims, it is of fundamental importance to attract, recruit and retain staff of the highest calibre who share this commitment.
The aims of the School's Recruitment Policy are:
- to ensure that the best possible staff are recruited on the basis of their merits, abilities and suitability for the position, which includes their attitudes towards safeguarding and their ability to work with children in a way which promotes the health, safety and welfare of children
- to ensure that all job applicants are considered equally and consistently
- to ensure that no job applicant is treated unfairly on any grounds, including race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or religious belief, sex or sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, disability or age
- to ensure compliance with all relevant Dutch legislation, recommendations and guidance including the statutory guidance published by the UK Government’s Department for Education (DfE), Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2022), Disqualification Under the Childcare Act 2006 (DUCA) and any guidance or code of practice published by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
- to ensure that the School meets its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks and by conducting the recruitment process in a way which deters, identifies and rejects as far as possible, the recruitment of individuals who are unsuitable to work with children.
All checks will be made in advance of the appointment or as soon as practicable after the appointment.
Staff involved in the recruitment and selection of staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with and complying with the provisions of this policy.
2. Recruitment and selection procedure
All applicants for employment are required to complete an application form containing questions about their academic and employment history and their suitability for the role. The School will only consider candidates who have completed the application form in full.
All advertisements for all posts will clearly stipulate the stance adopted by The British School of Amsterdam by the inclusion of the following statement: “The British School of Amsterdam is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff and volunteers to share in this commitment. Any role offered at The British School will be subject to various background checks that include receipt of satisfactory references, proof of relevant qualifications, identification checks and police checks (including overseas).”.
For teaching and teaching support roles, the TES Recruitment Portal is used. In the case of support staff, jobs are also advertised on LinkedIn, Indeed and candidates submit their CV. For the interview stage shortlisted candidates are asked to complete an Application Form.
Incomplete application forms will be returned to the applicant if the deadline for completed application forms has not passed. Should there be any gaps in academic or employment history, a satisfactory explanation must be provided. Applicants will receive a job description and person specification for the role for which they have applied.
The School will make candidates aware that all posts in the School involve some degree of responsibility for safeguarding children, although the extent of that responsibility will vary according to the nature of the post. Candidates for employed posts will receive a Job Description and Person Specification for the role applied for.
Checks will be made of previous employment history to ascertain satisfactory reasons for any gaps in employment. These checks will then be checked against references and any discrepancies discussed with the candidate.
As the position for which candidates are applying involves the substantial opportunity for access to children, it is important that applicants provide the School with legally accurate answers. Upfront disclosure of a criminal record may not debar a candidate from appointment as the School shall consider the nature of the offence, how long ago and at what age it was committed and any other relevant factors. Information should be submitted in confidence enclosing details in a separate sealed envelope or sent by email which will be seen and then destroyed/deleted by the Principal and HR Manager. If candidates would like to discuss this beforehand, they are asked to please telephone in confidence for advice. Any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings must be disclosed to the School.
Applicants will also be asked to provide information regarding any periods of overseas residence so that a decision can be made as to whether an overseas police check or additional references are required.
The applicant may then be invited to attend a formal interview at which his/her relevant skills and experience will be discussed in more detail. At interview, candidates will be asked questions relating to Child Protection, in order to ascertain the level of their knowledge and the suitability of their answers. It is recognised that not all interviewees will have Child Protection experience within schools. In such cases, questions will be adapted to test applicants’ responses to hypothetical safeguarding scenarios. At least one member of every appointment panel will have received safer recruitment training (completed within the last three years).
If it is decided to make an offer of employment following the formal interview, any such offer will be conditional on the following:
- the agreement of a mutually acceptable start date and the signing of a contract incorporating the School's standard terms and conditions of employment
- verification of the applicant's identity (where this has not previously been verified)
- the receipt of two references (one of which must be from the applicant's most recent employer) which the School considers to be satisfactory
positions which involves Regulated Activity (see paragraph 4.3 below)
Information about whether the applicant is, or has ever been, the subject of a sanction, restriction or prohibition issued by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), or any predecessor or successor body, or by a regulator of the teaching profession in any other European Economic Area country which prevents them from working at the School or which, in the School's opinion, renders them unsuitable to work at the School**
Information about whether the applicant is, or has ever been, the subject of any proceedings before a professional conduct panel in the UK or an equivalent body in any other country for any reason which prevents them from working at the School or which, in the School's opinion, renders them unsuitable to work at the School.
Where the position amounts to "regulated activity" (see paragraph 4.3 below) confirmation that the applicant is not named on the Children's Barred List*;
Information about whether the applicant is, or has ever been, the subject of a direction under section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 which prohibits, disqualifies or restricts them from being involved in the management of an independent school or which otherwise, in the School's opinion, renders them unsuitable to work at the School.
Information about whether the applicant is, or has ever been, the subject of a referral to, or proceedings before, the Department for Education or other appropriate authority where consideration was given to imposing a direction under section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 which, in the School's opinion, renders them unsuitable to work at the School.
- confirmation that the applicant is not disqualified from working in connection with Early Years provision (currently only applicable to certain sections of the School)
- verification of the applicant's right to work in the Netherlands
- any further checks that the School deems appropriate as a result of the applicant having lived or worked outside of the Netherlands (see 4.7 below)
- verification of professional qualifications which the School deems a requirement for the post, or which the applicant otherwise cites in support of their application (where they have not been previously verified)
3. Pre-employment Checks
The School is required to carry out a number of pre-employment checks in respect of all prospective employees. These include the following:
3.1 Verification of identity and address
All candidates coming for an interview will be asked to show proof of identification, this can be Dutch National ID Card or a passport. When a candidate is offered a position, they are required to send a pdf copy of evidence of their current address (for example, a utility bill, bank statement or similar). Prior to the start date the candidate will show the original documents to the HR Department.
For teaching and teaching support roles, references are usually taken up on short-listed candidates prior to interview (this is normally activated through the TES Recruitment Portal). All offers of employment will be subject to the receipt of a minimum of two references which are considered satisfactory by the School. One of the references must be from the applicant's current or most recent employer. If the current/most recent employment does/did not involve work with children, then the second referee should be from the employer with whom the applicant most recently worked with children. Neither referee should be a relative or someone known to the applicant solely as a friend.
References should be from a senior person with appropriate authority (in a position to be aware of issues), not usually just a colleague. For anyone who has worked in a school the referee should be the headteacher/principal. References sent by email will be verified that they originated from a legitimate source.
All referees will be asked whether they believe the applicant is suitable for the job for which they have applied and whether they have any reason to believe that the applicant is unsuitable to work with children.
All referees will be sent a copy of the job description and person specification for the role for which the applicant has applied.
If the referee is a current or previous employer, they will also be asked to confirm the following:
- the applicant's dates of employment, job title/duties, reason for leaving, performance, attendance record and disciplinary record;
- whether the applicant has ever been the subject of disciplinary procedures involving issues related to the safety and welfare of children (including any in which the disciplinary sanction has expired), except where the issues were deemed to have resulted from allegations which were found to be false, unsubstantiated or malicious; and
- whether any allegations or concerns have been raised about the applicant that relate to the safety and welfare of children or young people or behaviour towards children or young people, except where the allegation or concerns were found to be false, unsubstantiated or malicious.
The School will only accept references obtained directly from the referee and it will not rely on references or testimonials provided by the applicant or on open references or testimonials. The HR Department will compare all references with any information given on the application form.
Any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the information (e.g. delays in receipt, specific questions not answered satisfactorily, any expression of concern about the suitability of the candidate, any doubt about the validity of the reference) will be followed up appropriately by the HR department.
The School can make telephone contact with referees to verify the authenticity of all references. When verifying references the School will make contact with referees via the referee’s work telephone number and not private mobile numbers.
Any applicants or referees who are found to have submitted false references to the School will be treated under the School’s Staff Discipline Procedure.
3.3 Criminal record checks
Evidence of criminal record checks must be obtained from relevant countries to the extent possible.
The HR Department will initiate the application process for candidates to obtain a VOG certificate for every person who is resident in the Netherlands at the time of application. This can be done digitally via DigID or by paper form. Proof of identity must be seen before this check takes place. The School will cover the cost of the VOG application and, once the certificate is received, a signed and dated copy must be kept on the individual’s file. If a criminal offence is recorded in a VOG certificate, the School will follow the procedure as outlined below in section 3.6.
For applications who are British or have lived or worked in the UK then an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) is required. The ICPC is issued following a check of relevant information held by the police and other law enforcement agencies in the UK.
In the email offering the post the HR Department outline how to apply for the criminal records check and references are made to the UK Government's criminal records for overseas applicants.
The HR Department will require criminal record checks for anyone who has lived or worked overseas for more than six months in the last ten years. However, the HR Department will use its discretion and other checks for other countries may be asked for.
The School will not unfairly discriminate against any candidate for employment based on conviction or other details revealed. The School makes appointment decisions based on merit and ability. If an individual has a criminal record this will not automatically bar him/her from employment within the School. Instead, each case will be decided on its merits in accordance with the objective assessment criteria set out below.
All candidates should be aware that the provision of false information is an offence and could result in the application being rejected or summary dismissal if they have been appointed, and a possible referral to the police.
3.4 Receiving VOG / ICPC and other police checks
If there is a delay in receiving a VOG / ICPC disclosure or overseas police background checks the Principal has discretion to allow an individual to begin work pending receipt of the disclosure. This will only be allowed if all other checks, including a clear check of the Children's Barred List (where the position amounts to regulated activity and the individual in question has resided in the UK), have been completed and once appropriate supervision has been put in place. The School will complete a risk assessment and a supervision plan as a temporary measure.
3.5 VOG / ICPC other checks that identify a criminal record
If a VOG or ICPC check identifies a criminal record, the HR Department will notify the Principal immediately. The Principal will make a judgement about the candidate’s suitability, taking into account only those offences which may be relevant to the particular job or situation in question, the nature of the offence, the nature of the appointment, the age of the candidate when the offence was committed, the frequency of the offence, and subsequent good behaviour and career. The Principal will confirm in writing whether the person can be employed and, if so, any mitigating actions and controls to be put in place. (Further details on the School’s policy on recruitment of ex-offenders is detailed in paragraph 8).
3.6 Prohibition from teaching
The School is required to check whether staff who carry out teaching work are prohibited from doing so. The School uses the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) to check whether successful applicants are the subject of a prohibition, or interim prohibition, order issued by a professional conduct panel in the UK.
In addition we ask all applicants for roles which involve teaching work to declare in the application form whether they:
- have ever been the subject of a sanction, restriction or prohibition issued by the NCTL, or any predecessor or successor body or comparable professional body in the UK
- have ever been the subject of any proceedings before a professional conduct panel of the NCTL, or equivalent body in the UK. The School recognises that a prohibition from teaching order may not last indefinitely. The School also notes that professional conduct panels do not always impose sanctions on the subject of the hearing. However, in order to fully assess the suitability of an applicant the School considers it important that all such information is made available during the recruitment process. The School will keep a record of the date of a disclosure, the name of the subject, the type of disclosure, the position in question and the recruitment decision taken.
The School must:
- ensure that any disclosure information is destroyed by suitably secure means such as shredding
- prohibit the photocopying or scanning of any disclosure information without the express permission of the individual to whom the disclosure relates.
4. Contractors and Supply Staff
Contractors engaged by the School must complete the same checks for their employees that the School is required to complete for its staff. The School requires confirmation (in writing) that these checks have been completed before employees of the Contractor can commence work at the School.
This policy applies to staff directly recruited and employed by the School. In the case of agency or contract workers, the School shall obtain written confirmation from the agency or company that it has carried out the appropriate checks. The School conducts identity checks on agency and contract workers on arrival in School.
In respect of contractors, unchecked contractors will under no circumstances be allowed to work unsupervised in School. The School will determine the appropriate level of supervision depending on the circumstances.
Under no circumstances will a volunteer, in respect of whom no safeguarding checks have been undertaken, be left unsupervised with children or allowed to engage in regulated activity. Prior to engaging a volunteer to carry out any activities for or on behalf of the School, the member of staff with responsibility for the volunteer appointment will discuss the proposed activities to be undertaken by the volunteer with the Head of School so that a decision can be made as to what vetting checks are required, or whether it is appropriate to carry out a risk assessment.
6. Members of the Supervisory Board
The Supervisory Board engaging in regulated activity are required to obtain an ICPC check with barred list if they have resided in the UK, or a VOG if in the Netherlands.
7. Visiting speakers
The Prevent statutory guidance in the UK requires the School to ensure that any visiting speakers who might fall within the scope of the Prevent Duty, whether invited by staff or pupils, are suitable and appropriately supervised. Staff arranging a visiting speaker must discuss the arrangement with the relevant Head of School. This must be done irrespective of the topic the visitor will be speaking on. This must also be done for parents who are coming to talk to pupils as a visiting speaker. A list of all visiting speakers will be maintained by the relevant Head of School.
If a visitor is invited to speak in the area of religion, philosophy or politics then the member of staff arranging the visit must complete a risk assessment. Staff should have regard for their Prevent Duty when making assessments of risk, in any situation where the profile of the speaker or the topic he/she has been invited to speak on indicates he/she may (intentionally or unwittingly) pose a risk of endorsing, condoning or inciting extremist political or religious views when interacting with pupils. If such a risk is identified then the speaker’s visit will not be permitted.
In carrying out risk assessments the School will always have regard to the Prevent Duty Guidance and the definition of “extremism” as set out in the Department for Education's document, Keeping Children Safe In Education (KCSIE) which states that:
"Extremism" is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British or Dutch values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas. Terrorist groups very often draw on extremist ideas developed by extremist organisations.
In fulfilling its Prevent Duty obligations, the School does not discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or religious belief, sex or sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, disability or age.
8. Policy on Recruitment of Ex-offenders
As an organisation using the police checks to assess applicants’ suitability for all positions at the School, the School undertakes to treat all applicants for positions fairly. The School shall not unfairly discriminate against any subject of a disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information disclosed, and appointments shall be made on the basis of merit and ability. The School welcomes applications from a wide range of candidates and actively promotes equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential. If an applicant has a criminal record, this will not automatically bar them from employment with the School. Each case will be decided on its merits in accordance with the objective assessment criteria set out in paragraph 8.2 below.
When applying for a position at the School, all applicants must declare all previous convictions, including those which would normally be considered spent. A failure to disclose a previous conviction may lead to an application being rejected or, if the failure to disclose is discovered after employment has started, may lead to summary dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. A failure to disclose a previous conviction may also amount to a criminal offence.
It is unlawful for the School to employ anyone who is barred from working with children. The School may report to either the Dutch or UK police if:
- it receives an application from a barred person
- it has serious concerns about an applicant's suitability to work with children.
We ensure that all those in the School who are involved in the recruitment process have been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences.
At interview, or in a separate discussion, we ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment.
8.2 Assessment Criteria
In the event that relevant information (whether in relation to previous convictions or otherwise) is volunteered by an applicant during the recruitment process or obtained through a disclosure check, the School will consider the following factors before reaching a recruitment decision:
- whether the conviction or other matter revealed is relevant to the position in question;
- the seriousness of any offence or other matter revealed;
- the age of the applicant when the offence was committed and the length of time since the offence or other matter occurred;
- whether the applicant has a pattern of offending behaviour or other relevant matters;
- the applicant's subsequent career and good behaviour;
- whether the applicant's circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour or other relevant matters; and
- the circumstances surrounding the offence and the explanation(s) offered by the applicant.
It is the School's normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted at any time of any of the following offences:
- murder, manslaughter, rape, other sexual offences, grievous bodily harm or other serious acts of violence; or
- serious drug related offences, robbery, burglary, theft, deception or fraud.
If the post involves some driving responsibilities, it is the School's normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted of drink driving within the last ten years.
8.3 Assessment Procedure
In the event that relevant information (whether in relation to previous convictions or otherwise) is volunteered by an applicant during the recruitment process or obtained through a disclosure check, the Principal and, where relevant, the Head of School or Bursar, will carry out a risk assessment by reference to the criteria set out above.
If an applicant wishes to dispute any information contained in a disclosure, they may do so by contacting the relevant issuing body. In cases where the applicant would otherwise be offered a position were it not for the disputed information, the School may, where practicable and at its discretion, defer a final decision about the appointment until the applicant has had a reasonable opportunity to challenge the disclosure information.
9. Retention and security of disclosure information
The checks undertaken are recorded on the Single Central Register (SCR) which is kept securely in the Human Resources Office. The HR Manager, together with the Principal and Vice Principal will oversee the running of the SCR. The SB will, through their nominated member, regularly carry out sampling of the SCR to ensure it is kept up to date.
The School's policy is to observe the guidance issued or supported by the DBS on the use of disclosure information.
In particular, the School will:
- store disclosure information and other confidential documents issued locked, non-portable storage containers, access to which will be restricted to members of the School's management team and the Human Resources Department;
- not retain disclosure information or any associated correspondence for longer than is necessary, which is generally for a period of up to six months. The School will keep a record of the date of a disclosure, the name of the subject, the type of disclosure, the position in question, the unique number of the police check and the recruitment decision taken;
- ensure that any disclosure information is destroyed by suitably secure means such as shredding;
- prohibit the photocopying or scanning of any disclosure information without the express permission of the individual to whom the disclosure relates.
10. Retention of records
The School is legally required to undertake the pre-employment checks listed above. Therefore, if an applicant is successful in their application, the School will retain on their personnel file any relevant information provided as part of the application process. This will include copies of documents used to verify identity, right to work in the Netherlands and qualifications. In the Netherlands it is not lawful to ask candidates or employees about medical circumstances, but medical information may be used only to help the School to discharge its obligations as an employer e.g. so that the School may consider reasonable adjustments if an employee suffers from a disability, or to assist with any other workplace issue.
This documentation will be retained by the School for the duration of the successful applicant's employment with the School. It will be then retained for a further period of six months after employment terminates before it is securely destroyed. If the application is unsuccessful, all documentation relating to it will normally be confidentially destroyed after six months.
If an applicant has any queries on how to complete the application form or any other matter he/she should contact the Human Resources Department.
12. Monitoring of this Policy:
The School will review this policy at least annually, and the Senior Leadership Team will review the ongoing systems in conjunction with the HR Department.
The Supervisory Board has appointed Annette Roodhart as appointed member for Child Protection and Safeguarding and, as such, she will regularly undertake spot checks of the SCR to ensure the School’s compliance with this policy.
This conforms to Part 4 of the UK Government’s British Overseas School Standards on Suitability of staff, supply staff and proprietors.
Appendix 1 Prohibition Orders
COBIS Prohibition Orders
In addition to ICPC and other overseas checks, COBIS strongly recommends that all teachers undergo a Prohibition Order check. These checks are mandatory for schools in England and it is considered best practice for international schools as well, particularly those preparing for inspection.
Prohibition Order checks should be carried out as a part of the pre-employment checking process, and a record must be kept on the School’s single central record.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) maintains the database of all teachers eligible to teach in England. The database is called Teacher Services (formerly known as Employer Access Online). Unfortunately, schools overseas cannot access the online database to carry out the Probation Checks.
The checks carried out are as follows:
- Teachers who have failed induction or probation
Teachers who are still subject to disciplinary sanctions from the GTCE. Any person on this list can only teach in maintained schools, pupil referral units and non-maintained special schools, subject to the conditions of the sanction
- Teachers and others prohibited from the profession
This list contains all people who have a disciplinary sanction prohibiting them from working in the teaching profession. Any person included on this list with a prohibition order that starts prior to 1st April 2012 is ineligible to teach in any maintained school, pupil referral unit or non-maintained special school. Any person included on this list with a prohibition order that starts on or after 1st April 2012 is ineligible to teach in any school, including independent schools (including academies, 16-19 academies and free schools), local authority maintained schools and non-maintained special schools as well as sixth form colleges, relevant youth accommodation and children's homes in England.
- Showing section 128 barring directions
This list contains the names of individuals who have been barred from taking part in the management of any independent school (including academies and free schools), under the terms of a direction made by the Secretary of State for Education.
In order for COBIS to carry out the checks, schools will need to provide the teacher’s full name, teacher reference number (TRN) and date of birth. COBIS will provide schools with a spreadsheet that they can populate with this information.
Should we find a match to your prospective employee you will need to consider how this might affect your decision to employ or engage the person.
This list contains the details of all teachers who have failed their statutory induction or probation periods. Entry on this list does not mean that a teacher has had a prohibition order applied to them. As a result of failing an induction or probation period, any person on this list is ineligible to teach in all maintained schools, pupil referral units and non-maintained special schools in England. However, they are free to work as a teacher in any other school, establishment or capacity where successful completion of an induction period is not an entry requirement.
- General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) sanctions