Edison Pope operates as a specialist education recruitment consultancy in the UK and currently conducts business from two office locations in Preston and Manchester. It sources and can provide educational staff such as teachers, teaching assistants, cover managers and members of senior leadership across primary, secondary and FE settings nationwide.
The company is dedicated to transparent policies and procedures and is driven to achieve equality of opportunity both internally and in its recruitment operations. The company opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination and is committed to ensure that no registering applicant is less fairly treated in any given situation because of age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disability, gender, gender re-assignment, maternity, marital and civil partnership status, race or anything else unrelated to an individual’s ability to perform in a job role. In addition to this, we wish to ensure that all of our clients have access to the best candidates available on the market, in terms of attitude, skill and experience.
This company policy is set out to achieve three basic aims:
- To recognise and demonstrate our steadfast commitment to safeguarding in education and furthermore to advocate for the welfare of all children regardless of background
- To lay foundations and cement our expectations for all internal staff and those candidates that choose to register with the company to share these values
- To demonstrate our commitment to all who use the business of our intention to ensure we provide a service that supports and protects the needs of all children.
As a member of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), the company adheres to their 'Code of Professional Practice'. The Directors of Edison Pope (Damien McNeaney & Philip Smith) are currently responsible for quality standards within the business. Further support is in place and offered by the Safeguarding Manager (Michael Swan).
This policy document provides a blue print of the checks carried out during the recruitment, registration, interview and placement process.
Every candidate looking to register with Edison Pope, regardless of nationality or origin, is subject firstly to a verbal vetting process using the company standard vetting template. This is to ascertain whether the individual meets the minimum requirements for selection. A further face to face interview then determines whether the candidate has the required competency, experience, skill & qualifications to undertake any given role.
Prior to, during and after interview, the candidate is subject to a series of thorough quality checks:
- Identity & Proof of Address.
- DfE Employer Access record for all teachers awarded QTS, to check on the current induction status and any interim prohibition or prohibition orders
- Criminal record check through the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)
- DBS barred lists
- 2 References
- Previous employment history taking care to explore gaps in employment history
- Right to work in the UK
- Medical fitness for work
- Registration with Professional Bodies (The teaching regulation agency)
- Continued Suitability
If at any time, a candidate is put forward to a school prior to all these checks being completed, the client will be informed and a written communication issued seeking agreement to interview or commencement of work on these terms. This would only ever be a pending DBS but with the application in or in some circumstances an un-verified reference but as stated previously written consent would be sought from the client prior to any engagement. Edison Pope will not allow candidates to be placed with any other missing checks.
When a candidate has a face to face interview/induction with a trained consultant their identity is checked. The consultant checks and copies original identity documentation following the guidelines set out by the DBS. This check includes but is not limited to proof of current address. Additional documentation is requested if the candidate is unable to produce photo ID. All candidates are advised to take photo ID and POA documentation with them to assignments to allow clients to conduct their own identity checks and record on the central register.
Qualifications and Prohibition Checks for Teachers holding QTS
- British trained teachers are checked against the DfE Employer Access database of teachers holding QTS, and this document is printed and stored on the candidate's electronic file. This check also includes a check on any interim prohibition or prohibition orders which may have been imposed, to ensure no teacher with such an order is recruited. Teachers from Northern Ireland and Scotland are required to obtain QTS if this award is not held. Newly Qualified Teachers are also checked in relation to the volume of supply work they are able to undertake if their induction year has not been completed.
- EU trained teachers seeking registration with the agency are required to apply to the DfE's NCTL for the award of QTS; Edison Pope will proceed with the registration of these candidates as qualified teachers on receipt of confirmation of QTS, and an appropriate DfE Employer Access check on prohibition orders.
- Overseas trained teachers (OTTs) are fully checked, with teaching qualifications being confirmed directly with the awarding institution. All overseas-trained teachers must hold a teaching qualification equivalent to that of a British PGCE or B.Ed., checked through NARIC (The National Academic Records Information Centre). OTTs are also checked to ensure that they do not breach the ‘four year rule’ whereby they are able to teach for 4 years as a qualified teacher in the UK, after which time they must hold QTS. OTTs from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA may be eligible for the award of QTS and are encouraged to confirm this.
- Instructors (unqualified teachers) are accepted in some shortage subject areas and/or with a lower grade overseas qualification at the discretion of the senior management. Likewise some private and non-maintained schools are able to recruit unqualified teachers but all have their original certificates copied. If at any time, a candidate is put forward to a school in these circumstances, the client will be informed and a written communication issued seeking agreement to interview or commencement of work on these terms.
- Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT’s) are required to complete an induction period of 3 school terms, there is no requirement that they must do this after reaching Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). If a candidate has not completed the induction period within 5 years Edison Pope will only supply such a candidate into a role that will count towards them completing their induction. Edison Pope’s Chief Compliance Officer will determine what is required in these circumstances with the aim of facilitating an NQT induction placement.
- Nursery Nurses and Support Staff: Nursery Nurses are required to present as a mandatory requirement the relevant industry qualification, e.g., CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Child Care and Education, BTEC National Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development, or NVQ Level 3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development. Support staff such as Teaching Assistants, Nursery Assistants, Learning Support Assistants are required to have relevant experience before accepted for registration.
Criminal Record / DBS
At registration stage Edison Pope requires all candidates to have a current enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate issued. Should a candidate not hold a certificate a new application will need to be made. Those candidates with a current DBS who are not registered on the Update Service will also need to make a new DBS application. Those listed on the update service can be verified as current through the DBS Update Service after approval (noted and time and date stamped on the Edison Pope CRM) from the candidate to run this check has been received. Edison Pope checks DBS certificates at registration, at the beginning of each new placement or if the placement is longer than a year, annually or at more frequent intervals indicated by a client. These additional checks are stored against the candidate’s record on Edison Pope’s CRM.
Edison Pope use Personnel Checks (a registered body and an umbrella organisation with the disclosure and barring service) and complies with the DBS Code of Practice. All supply staff who are placed into a school environment by Edison Pope are required to have a current Enhanced DBS certificate applicable to the Children's Workforce. For settings where candidates are working with vulnerable adults, these candidates will require a DBS certificate applicable to the Adult Workforce.
Edison Pope uses Personnel Checks to obtain enhanced DBS certificates for candidates. The individual will then present this certificate to Edison Pope for records and to determine whether the new disclosure certificate is clear or not clear. If a disclosure certificate obtained is not clear, that is, it contains information; a risk assessment is completed to determine suitability for selection and a copy faxed to the client.
Edison Pope will undertake a check using the Update Service for DBS certificates where possible and having sought authorisation to do so from the candidate. If the Update Service check indicates a change to the disclosure certificate presented by a candidate, a new disclosure certificate is required.
Edison Pope shares information noted on individuals’ disclosure certificates with clients as required by the DfE. All candidates are advised to take their police check document with them to all assignments to allow clients to record the details in the school's Single Central Register.
Anyone applying to work with children is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the supporting regulations. This means every applicant must provide details of all convictions, cautions, and warnings, which are not subject to current filtering rules. Edison Pope conducts risk Assessments when a DBS certificate contains any information, to determine that candidate's suitability for selection.
Candidates are given two opportunities to declare any information, which may be contained on a DBS certificate. Firstly at the verbal qualification / vetting stage and secondly at interview. If something comes up later that has not been declared, the candidate will be required to explain, and a decision taken at senior level as to whether to accept that candidate for selection.
Candidates may be offered to a client once a DBS application has been lodged and confirmed but before the disclosure certificate is returned. In this instance the Child Barred List is checked. These candidates are only booked at the client’s discretion, and when written confirmation has been received from the client, indicating acceptance of the candidate. Clients will be informed once the Disclosure certificate is received.
If a candidate who has worked abroad for a period of time wishes to register, s/he must provide a police check or certificate of good conduct from that country to ensure the period spent working out of the UK is covered. A DBS certificate is also completed, as well as any overseas police check/references that may be necessary, to ensure we have complete criminal record history of the candidate. The police checks/references must cover all the countries worked in during the candidate's time abroad.
Where information comes to light during an assignment that a candidate is not suitable this information is shared with the client and appropriate actions are taken.
EU and Non-EU (foreign) candidates:
All EU and foreign candidates or where a candidate has been abroad for more than six months in the last five years must provide a relevant current and original police check from their main country of residence. Written Risk Assessments are conducted on candidates with disclosures. Further, if a candidate has worked in other countries during their recent employment history, additional police clearances will be required
Where a local police check is not available, or cannot be validated, the consultant must rely heavily on a thorough interview and references. At least one more character reference must be sought from a person in a position of authority and known to the candidate whilst working abroad, to gain reassurance that the candidate had no convictions that would preclude working with children or vulnerable adults. This additional reference must contain a written statement which confirms that, to the referee's knowledge, the candidate was not involved in any illegal or unlawful activity whilst in the referee's employment. if a candidate has been abroad for more than six months in the last five years
All overseas candidates will be asked to complete a new DBS certificate application.
DfE Employer Access – The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA)
Schools, colleges, local authorities and teacher supply agencies in England can check with the TRA whether a teacher has been awarded QTS and whether a teacher has completed their mandatory induction period. The TRA’s Access online service also allows Edison Pope to check whether teachers and those working in teaching-related positions (such as teaching assistants and instructors) have any disciplinary issues, prohibitions, sanctions and restrictions that might prevent them from taking part in certain activities or working in specific positions. TRA checks form part of Edison Pope’s overall suitability checks on all those working in teaching related positions. A copy of the check is saved against the candidate record and new checks are carried out at the beginning of a new placement, annually or with greater frequency should a client request this.
Barred Lists' Checks
Barred list checks are carried out where necessary using Personnel Checks.
Disqualification by Association
Where supply staff are to be working in settings as illustrated in the following guide
they must declare in writing that they have read the relevant DfE guidance regarding disqualification, that they are not disqualified on any grounds as set out in the DfE guidance, that to the best of their knowledge they do not live with anyone who is disqualified on any of the grounds set out in the guidance, and that they understand their specific responsibilities to safeguard children.
Edison Pope require a minimum of two satisfactory written references for candidates to undertake supply work. These are sought out and verified by Edison Pope’s Compliance Officers after authorisation from the candidate has been granted. References are only accepted from a legitimate email address. Any postal references or open references received must be on official headed paper or with official compliments slip and these are followed up and verified by Edison Pope’s Compliance Officers by speaking with the referee. In every case, Edison Pope will attempt to obtain details of a reference from the current and previous employer from the candidate. At least one reference should be from a school/childcare/vulnerable adult care environment, covering a minimum period of four weeks work at one establishment. Where it has not been possible to obtain the most recent reference other references can be used at the discretion of the Chief Compliance Officer. In such cases the client will be informed of this and copies of references are always offered to the client. Where an agency reference is obtained, the minimum requirement is the dates the candidate has worked and a statement to confirm that to the agencies knowledge there are no safeguarding issues surrounding the candidate. All referees are asked to provide information, which relates to concerns about the candidate working with children, if the candidate has been dismissed from a childcare position, and if the referee is aware of any issues in relation to safeguarding and child protection. References for all working candidates are updated frequently through verbal and written assessment feedback forms sent to clients. Edison Pope’s vetting officers are responsible for obtaining sufficient references in order for a candidate to meet registration criteria. Where sufficient references are yet to be obtained a candidate will not be fully registered and the Edison Pope CRM will not allow for the candidates details to be passed to any client.
Previous Employment History
Consultants are trained to recognise a candidate’s skills, experience and competency, as well as to identify gaps in their employment history on the CV or any application form. They ask probing questions to satisfy themselves of the reasons for the gaps and seek evidence for the period of unemployment (maternity leave, illness, travel etc.). Gaps in employment history, and the reason for the gaps, are noted on the candidate profile (time and date stamped). Edison Pope contacts candidates regularly, short gaps in employment history are always explored, and additional references sourced, as circumstances may have changed and issues may have arisen which can unexpectedly affect the candidate's suitability for work.
Right to work in the United Kingdom
All candidates must prove that they have the right to work in the United Kingdom, in line with the document requirements outlined in the Home Office directive. Several members of staff are trained in immigration issues and act as a resource for consultants, to ensure that any foreign candidate does not work illegally. All foreign candidates have their passports and relevant entry clearance vignettes or biometric residence permits copied.
In line with the Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2004, it is a mandatory requirement of Edison Pope for candidates to declare themselves fit to work in an education setting, and to advise Edison Pope if they have any health issues or disability relevant to the day-to-day activities associated with teaching or child care.
Candidates complete a confidential Health & Disability Questionnaire. Edison Pope’s Chief Compliance Officer will check all of these forms. Should a candidate make a declaration which could affect their ability to perform a function which is intrinsic to a particular role the Chief Compliance Officer would request the work seeker speaks to their GP to seek confirmation that they are fit to undertake the role in question.
Edison Pope will inform a client of any information that comes to our attention after a placement/assignment has started that may indicate that the candidate is unsuitable for that particular position for a period of 3 months from the date of introduction of the work-seeker. Edison Pope may need to withdraw the temporary worker from the assignment in question or commence making such further enquiries as are reasonably practicable as to the suitability of the work-seeker. These checks could include but are not limited to; further update service checks, further barred list checks, further references or a full re-registration. Any information that becomes known from the additional checks and enquiries will be shared with the client before a decision is made as to whether to withdraw the temporary worker from the assignment in question.
Edison Pope has a formal complaints policy. All concerns raised by clients about a candidate are discussed fully with both the client and candidate, and appropriate action taken. This information is recorded on both the candidate and client profiles. If necessary, candidates may be excluded from a particular school if the client requests this. Candidates are given constructive advice from trained personnel to help overcome issues, which come to light, and are referred to appropriate professional development courses. Candidates who receive three or more school exclusions, for whatever reason, will be formally advised that Edison Pope will no longer be seeking placements for them. Candidates involved in complaints of a child protection nature are immediately prevented from undertaking further placements, and remain suspended until the issue has been satisfactorily resolved. Edison Pope works closely with schools and the Local Authority LADO, and will fulfil its duty of referral with the ISA if deemed appropriate.
Duty of Referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service
Edison Pope is committed to undertaking fully our duty of referral to the DBS when a worker is dismissed or removed from working with children and/or vulnerable adults because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, as outlined in the DBS Referral Guidance. Senior members of staff at Edison Pope are familiar with the process of referral. Several have undertaken and completed safer recruitment training. Edison Pope would work closely with LADOs and police, if necessary, to ensure that complaints of a child protection nature are handled fairly and appropriately.
Any further queries about our vetting processes may be forwarded to: Michael Swan (Safeguarding Manager) [email protected]