While an efficient recruitment process is important, safeguarding your students is always the priority when looking for a new member of staff. Whether a teacher, administrative staff, IT staff, or those in a custodial role, each team member has the potential to interact with students. It’s vital to ensure that your staff are both safe and qualified.  

Not only that, but any member of staff that works with children on a daily basis should also be skilled in identifying concerns. An understanding of safeguarding is a key quality in school staff members, and a safer recruitment process should help to spotlight these qualities in your candidates. 

Your school’s recruitment activities need to be built with safeguarding at their heart. In doing so, the recruitment journey will then naturally ensure that they are the right fit for the role, too. Start by building a structured, uniform, and safer recruitment strategy from the top down. 

Safeguarding built-in from the beginning 

It’s important to ensure that you’re considering the safety of your students from the very beginning of the recruitment journey. Clear recruitment policies ensure that every process meets the same requirements and that candidates are evaluated fairly. Form a policy that is built around both equity and safeguarding. 

On a more individual level, each advertisement needs to be clear and detailed. If you’re not certain on what you’re searching for in your candidates, then applicants cannot be sure that they meet your criteria. Searching through a large number of applications that aren’t relevant to the position is also more likely to result in good candidates being missed or errors of judgement.  

Safer recruitment in education

Consider your main goals for each appointment and build your job advertisements around those goals. Similarly, it’s important to be more targeted when listing vacancies. This way, you’re more likely to receive applications from an already trusted pool of candidates with relevant experience.  

Another way to reduce bias in the recruitment process and make your safeguarding priorities and goals clear is by providing an application pack. Gather the same information from each applicant and offer all the information they need to consider your role, including your safeguarding recruitment policies. This ensures that candidates know what to expect as they move through the process.  

Disclosure and mandatory background checks 

Certain roles require mandatory background checks as part of the recruitment process, extending beyond verification of experience. These typically come in the form of a kind of identity checks and criminal history screening. In the UK, the enhanced DBS check is a must for those working in schools. 

While these are a vital part of a safer recruitment process, you can carry out further checks according to your schools’ individual needs or preferences. For example, you might consider incorporating a self-disclosure stage or option during the application or interview process. This provides each candidate with the opportunity to highlight any areas for concern, and then address those concerns themselves. While each of these should be considered on a case-by-case basis, it adds that extra level of safety to your recruitment approach.  

It’s also important to ensure you’re gathering and thoroughly confirming references. While most recruiters will request references at some stage during the application and interview journey, you can request additional references beyond just the details of a previous employer. Character references can also be a valuable contribution when you’re considering a new hire. 

Additional screening 

While there are mandatory background checks required to work within the education or teaching industry, and these are extremely important to complete prior to employment, they don’t necessarily provide a full picture of the applicant that you’re considering.

Safer recruitment in education Many industries around the globe, particularly those that work with sensitive data or pose other kinds of security or safety risks, have begun to implement social media screening as part of the recruitment process.  

There are two major benefits to implementing a screening service for online activity. Firstly, they provide a more detailed view into an individual’s character, if there are any areas of concern.  

Secondly, they can help to protect the reputation of the school. An individual’s social media history may be more public and accessible than they realise, and they likely don’t remember posts from years prior. Dedicated online background screening software can highlight issues before any potential impact on your school.  

Tools like Social Media Check are already being implemented in a variety of industries, including education. This dedicated social media screening software highlights concerning content in an individuals social media history according to more than 10 criteria, including hate speech, nudity, swearing, violent imagery, drugs, and more.  

Reports are user friendly and can be prepared in in 30 minutes, with prior consent from your applicant, enabling them to amend or delete concerning content. You can learn more about the Social Media Check tool below: 

Onboarding and induction 

Safeguarding doesn’t stop once you’ve selected your candidate. It’s vital that the importance of school safeguarding and child protection policies is clear throughout their introduction to your school, within your onboarding and induction processes. 

Training should always be ongoing for all your school staff. Your safeguarding policies will be subject to change as regulations and expectations evolve. However, you need to set your new staff up for success by ensuring that they are up to date on what is expected of them in their role and how they can always prioritise the safety of the children within the school. 

Safer recruitment in education

Ensure that your software supports the upskilling and continued development of your staff, both new and current. The right HR and compliance software can help you to keep on top of staff training and build an onboarding process that provides your new hires with all the key information they need.  

Retaining staff 

While recruiting the right staff is important for school safeguarding, it’s just as important to retain those staff. Building a consistent environment and enabling students to create trusted relationships with your staff empowers them to perform and grow their confidence at school. 

Maintaining or boosting staff retention requires a clear strategy, much like your recruitment process. Your software should help your HR teams to keep track of employees, their sick and holiday requests, development opportunities, and more. It’s important to continually find ways to maintain staff engagement and demonstrate that you recognise their value to your school. 

Maintaining an effective body of school staff ultimately reduces the risk to your students, while also building a truly positive school environment.  

iSAMS solutions for HR and recruitment 

Build a comprehensive and effective recruitment process for your school, supported by powerful software. iSAMS HR software for schools offers a range of functionality to support your HR teams and your school’s recruitment process, including Applicant Tracking Software and intuitive dashboards for employee management.  

The same software can help to maintain your school’s relationship with its employees by boosting communication, with a self-service dashboard and effective leave and sickness management. The integrated compliance module also ensures that your staff are always up to date on mandatory training.  

Interested in learning more? Request a demonstration below: