In order to begin a supply teaching job in the United Kingdom, there are various checks that schools are required to carry out on prospective candidates by law. This helps to ensure the integrity of the education system in the country and also protect vulnerable members of society, including minors and those with special needs. We take a look at the four main checks that are made and required in order to be offered a contract of employment:

  • Health checks
  • Qualification checks
  • Right to work checks
  • Criminal record checks

Essential checks in teaching.

Health checks.

Health checks ensure candidates are mentally and physically prepared to teach and will require supply teachers to submit a declaration that states they are in good overall health. Employers may request that supply teachers attend a medical by an authorised GP prior to any offers of employment being made.

Qualification checks.

Similarly, qualification checks ensure that all documents being presented by supply teachers meet the needs of the Department for Education. They verify that candidates have recognised Qualified Teacher Status in the United Kingdom.

Every person wanting to work in a school will also be required to undertake a DBS check, or be in possession of a valid DBS on the update system.

Right to work checks.

Finally, there is a check that ensures candidates have the legal right to work in Britain if they are non-UK citizens. This is a document check that will require foreign nationals to submit copies of their passport, visas and any other relevant paperwork that will be checked against government requirements. This also serves as an identity check, which ensures candidates are who they say they are and that they will have accessible files held by a criminal records bureau.

Criminal records check.

Teachers work with vulnerable members of society and are excluded from the rehabilitation of offenders act 1974. This means all criminal convictions, cautions, and other actions must be declared to prospective employers whether or not they have been spent. This declaration will be checked with the Criminal Records Bureau and flag whether or not supply teachers have been registered on List 99 – a list of individuals who have been barred with working with children, often for sexual offences and other misconduct.

Further checks for supply teaching jobs.

Schools may, at their own discretion, perform their own checks according to their own administrative policies. Some of these checks include standard instances like reference checks, where previous employers are contacted to ensure supply teachers are of good character and ability, and qts checks that ensure a supply teacher's documents are valid.

When teachers have been made offers of employment and have accepted those supply teaching posts, then there are general rules that supply teachers must abide by. These often fall under common sense rules, which include cooperating with permanent staff at the school and to, sometimes, be supervised by headteachers in the event that there are instructional difficulties. However, there are other key areas that supply teachers must consider. Motivating yourself in a supply teacher role is key in abiding by all these rules.

Student discipline and rules surrounding such matters should be identified as soon as possible, which is often through the headteacher. Supply teachers must understand any reasonable steps they need to undertake in order to promote the health and safety of their students and members of staff. These matters can be found within health and safety policies of the school, which are often held within the administrative office.