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Supply Desk Safeguarding Policy

Supply Desk and its subsidiaries are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, we expect all our candidates to share this same commitment.

At Supply Desk we attach great importance to the quality of our registration procedure and are guided by the DfE Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education guidance, Children’s Workforce Development Council Safer Recruitment and other relevant legislation, guidance and best practice.

Supply Desk was one of the first education recruitment companies to receive the coveted Quality Mark for our industry. To obtain this we had to regularly demonstrate that we met stringent standards of good practice in managing and providing supply teachers to schools. Although the DfE Quality Mark standard was withdrawn in 2013 Supply Desk continues to recruit to these high standards valuing the peace of mind those recruitment standards bring to schools.

To ensure we maintain our high standards we have a dedicated team of compliance specialists throughout our business. Our specialists are knowledgeable in the practical, legal and commercial aspects of safeguarding.

All candidates are initially screened on the telephone and, if successful, are invited to attend a competency based interview, including Warner questions, conducted by a fully trained Supply Desk professional. The interview process lasts for approximately one hour and covers, in great detail the candidate’s work history, core competencies, flexibility and Supply Desk expectations.

For our client’s peace of mind, we issue a letter (known as the confirmation of checks) confirming all the checks we have carried out which confirm the candidate is suitable to work with children. The confirmation of checks fully satisfies the DfE regulations for single central records. Should a candidate’s Enhanced DBS Disclosure have information contained within it, we inform our clients of the matter to assist them in making a risk assessment decision.

Supply Desk has clear and concise policies in place regarding child protection and physical Intervention, these policies are issued to our candidates at interview and are readily available upon request.

Our candidates are required to undertake our bespoke online safeguarding training session before we complete the clearance process. We also offer additional courses to our candidates to ensure they full understand their requirements in a school e.g. behavioural management, equality and diversity to name a few.

We advise each candidate to be fully aware of the need to adhere to the policies and procedures in each school they attend.

Supply Desk strictly follows the Data Protection Act 1998 and prides itself in being an Equal opportunities Recruitment Business and the holder of the Investors in People Silver Award.

Screening Process

The initial stage of the Recruitment procedure at Supply Desk is the pre-screening telephone interview.  At this stage we discuss the candidate’s qualifications, educational work experience to date, subject and specialisms they are qualified to teach, and any other relevant work history.

If satisfactory, the following areas are covered:

  • Name             

Ensuring we have the candidate’s full name and correct spelling for various checks we conduct.

  • Maiden / Alternative Name

Again,  this is vital as must be undertaken for all surnames the candidate may have used.

  • Date of Birth 
  • Does the candidate hold QTS?
  • Name of Qualification/Date of Qualification/Specialism
  • Does the candidate hold an Enhanced DBS?
  • National College for Teaching and Leadership Check?

This must be determined for all teachers as they are unable to teach in state schools without QTS, the register is held by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.  Candidates who have gone via the FE route will have their QTLS status verified via the Institute for Learning.

  • Address
  • Home/Mobile Telephone Number
  • Reference details
  • Transport / travel arrangements
  • Source           

If the candidate meets all above criteria they are invited to attend interview

Interview Process

Upon successful pre-screening, candidates attend a competency based interview with a trained Supply Desk professional. The candidate completes a Supply Desk Registration pack which requires answers to the following:

  • Personal Details.
  • Whether the candidate wants Day to Day, Long Term or Permanent work.
  • Education and Qualifications including F.E. or Teacher Reference Number.
  • Educational work experience and preferred areas of work
  • Referee details; a minimum of two years references are required and must include the last employer (if applicable) or final teaching practice if a NQT
  • And/or if the candidate holds a current, third party portable Enhanced DBS (if allowed by contract)
  • If the candidate is at present or has ever been subject to disciplinary action.
  • If the candidate has ever had a complaint made against them or been subject to an investigation which may be relevant to their professional competence, standing or conduct.
  • If the candidate has ever been convicted or cautioned in relation to any criminal offences.
  • Declaration regarding Associative Discrimination – in accordance with the additional guidance issued in October 2014. The candidate is declaring whether or not to the best of their knowledge they are associated with anyone who is barred who has restrictions relating to working with Children.
  • Medical questionnaire and declaration
  • UK Bank and National Insurance Details

The candidate must sign to say they agree to;

  • Supply Desk’s  Equal Opportunities Declaration.
  • Supply Desk’s Child Protection Policy.
  • Supply Desk’s Physical Intervention Policy.
  • Supply Desk’s “No touch” policy
  • The Data Protection Act.
  • Consent for information to be passed to any school, academy or LEA for their Single Central Records.

All candidates must bring the following original documents to interview:

  • UK Passport, EEA Identity Card, full UK Birth Certificate and Right to Work documentation – this will include current visa and entry clearance for all non UK citizens.
  • Original Qualification Certificates.
  • Original DfEE/DES/DfES confirmation or status letter (where applicable).
  • Confirmation of QTS / QTLS (or other) status.
  • Third party/portable Enhanced DBS Disclosure Certificate (where applicable).
  • If any candidate has been out of the UK for a period of three months or more in the last five years, they must produce an original Police Clearance Certificate or Letter of Good Conduct.
  • Two forms of documentation confirming their current address.
  • Doctors name, address and telephone number.
  • Curriculum Vitae (including details of any gaps in employment)
  • Provide a photograph or have a photo taken in branch which is included in the confirmation of checks.

All the above original documents are sighted, checked, photocopied and signed.

The Interview

The interview is held within the branch and takes approximately one hour.

During the interview the following areas are discussed at length with the candidate:

  • Communication Skills.
  • Organisation/Management within the School environment.
  • Adaptability/flexibility.
  • Attitude and Philosophy.
  • Schools the candidate has worked in so far and how they may have differed.
  • The candidates reason for leaving their last position.
  • Ascertain a candidate’s main strengths.
  • Gain an understanding of the candidate’s self-assessed teaching style.
  • Explore candidate’s classroom management skills.
  • Gain an understanding of the candidate’s ethos and approach to teaching.
  • If the candidate has any experience in working with children with special educational needs.
  • What the candidate think makes a good supply teacher.
  • Distance and time willing to travel.
  • What type of working the candidate is looking for?
  • Any schools in particular the candidate would like to work.
  • What does the candidate want out of their experience with Supply Desk?
  • Are there any areas of development Supply Desk could assist the candidate with?

Notes are taken throughout the interview and retained on file.

Candidates are also asked Warner Interview Questions to determine unsuitability to work with children.  These arose from Choosing with Care, the 1992 Warner report which focused on staff selection, development and management in children’s homes and highlighted particular areas of concern related to recruitment and made a number of recommendations. One of these was that employers should use preliminary interviews as a standard part of establishing a fuller picture of the character and attitudes of short-listed candidates for all posts working with children.

The key message that emerges from the Warner Report and other literature on the subject of recruitment is the importance of a multi-layered recruitment process, extending beyond skills-focused interviews and DBS checks.  Warner questions are part of what should be an agency’s rigorous selection procedures when selecting people to work with children.  They do not replace a robust recruitment process but they are additional tools in the recruiter’s toolbox.  Supply Desk takes a whole process, whole company approach to recruitment.

Compliance Process – post interview

Following an interview in branch the branch compliance specialist comprehensively makes all the background checks before deeming the candidate fully suitable to work with children.

For each candidate, the following checks are made and retained on file:

  • Complete registration form (incorporating medical history declaration, child protection declaration, equal opportunity statement etc.)
  • Enhanced Disclosure clearance.
  • Current CV – checked for any gaps
  • Right to Work, identity, and NI documentation
  • Qualification certificates
  • Photograph for confirmation of checks
  • QTS / QTLS etc. status confirmation (where appropriate)
  • 2 forms of official documentation from different sources, confirming the candidate’s address
  • Original DfE confirmation or status letter (where appropriate)
  • Overseas police check if the candidate has been in the UK for less than 3 months
  • References covering the last two years (including current employer if there is one)
  • Check against ISA Barred List (previously L99)

Post Incident Procedure

Should we receive any information which is a concern to us, we will address the situation immediately.

We will fully cooperate with the school in question and be as involved as the school wish us to be.  Where permissible (depending on the nature of the complaint and other statutory agency involvement) we will take a report from the candidate involved in the incident, where practical this will be a face to face meeting involving an independent note taker.

We will record all information on our internal Issue Logger and make a note of the time frame agreed with the school / authority in question.  Where appropriate and required, a Synarbor representative will attend the meeting on the school premises or at a Local Authority building in order to fully resolve the issue.

Initially, such events would be handled via the local Branch Manager escalating to a more senior member of the team if necessary. In the most serious of cases, these issues will be handled by our in-house HR and legal team.

Upon conclusion of the incident it would be agreed by all parties whether to continue to deploy the candidate or whether to remove from the register.  We would report to the DBS where it is deemed appropriate.

If appropriate, the candidate would be offered further training from a Synarbor professional or advised to undertake additional refresher training sessions.

Equal Opportunities Declaration

Supply Desk is an Equal Opportunities Recruitment Business. In addition to the regulations under the Quality Act 2010, we take a positive approach to equal opportunities for all.

Equal Opportunity policies vary across schools and local education authorities. Supply Desk supports and complies with the equal opportunities policies of individual schools and authorities.

Supply Desk affirms its determination to uphold education programmes that ensure:

  • Equal opportunity for all in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.
  • That racial and cultural differences are respected.
  • The right of all groups are protected.
  • The elimination of all practice which discriminates unfairly against any section of society.

Supply Desk is also concerned for the rights of pupils with special needs and takes full cognisance of the 1993 Education Act, which established the Special Needs Code of Practice. Supply Desk therefore wishes to ensure that pupils with special needs receive their full education entitlement.

Child Protection Policy

Supply Desk’s policies and procedures adhere to the law as defined in the Children Act 1989 and the guidance given by the Department of Health, the Department for Education and the Home Office in the document “Working Together Under the Children Act 1989”.

Supply Desk aim to positively promote the well being of children.

Definition:      There are 4 categories of abuse recognised by the 1989 Children Act: Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 states that a local authority has a duty to investigate when there is “reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area as suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm”. It must make such enquiries as it considers necessary in order to decide whether any action is needed to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.

Section 47(9) says that “Where a local authority are conducting enquiries under this section, it shall be the duty of any person….to assist them with these enquiries…..if called upon by the local authority to do so”.

In view of their daily contact with children, teachers working through Supply Desk are well placed to observe abuse or neglect. It is their responsibility to report suspected or alleged abuse.

  • If a teacher is working within a school it is his/her duty to take note not only of major incidents, but also of signals which give cause for suspicion or concern. When this occurs the teacher must report any concerns to the school’s designated member of staff with particular responsibility for child protection work and liaison with youth services. It is also the teacher’s responsibility to adhere to the specific guidelines set out in each school’s Child Protection Policy. (This is usually the procedure outlined above.)
  • If a teacher is working outside of the school environment (for example home tuition) it is his/her duty to report any concerns to the Social Services Department. Teachers have a responsibility of explaining on first contact that they cannot keep information confidential. If abuse is suspected the concern should be recorded, discussed with the Supply Desk Director and reported to Social Services. If a teacher has reason to believe that a young person is being abused, then the safety and welfare of that child has to be the paramount consideration in deciding what action needs to be taken. If there is an allegation of abuse made against a teacher it should be immediately reported to the Supply Desk Director. Action will be taken in accordance with Supply Desk’s disciplinary procedures and the local child care procedures.

 Under no circumstances should a teacher ever intervene on his/her own.

Supply Desk require all of the staff on our register to be fully aware of the procedures for child protection. Should you be unsure of any aspect of the above please ask your consultant to explain them to you in more detail.

Data Protection Act

 The processing of personal data is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998, under which Supply Desk Limited is registered as a Data Controller – Registration Number: Z6353885.  Any personal data you provide will be held securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Physical Intervention Policy

Physical touch is an essential part of human relationships. In schools, adults may use touch to prompt, give reassurance or to provide support in PE. However, in recent years, the subject of physical touch has become a focus of immense concern in mainstream schools. As a result, all schools are required to develop a behaviour policy for staff to abide by.

Supply Desk requires all supply teachers to follow the appropriate school policy. As a general guide physical touch should not be used as a form of behaviour management and in general the use of physical intervention to control, discipline or restrain pupils by supply teachers should be avoided unless they have been specifically trained to do so with specific pupils. Touching of any form should be avoided as a form of behaviour management and can never be considered a substitute for good classroom management techniques and modern teaching methodologies.

Supply Desk supply teachers are responsible for familiarising themselves with school behaviour policies and the local LEA policies, particularly regarding physical intervention and any specific training re: the behaviour policy that schools may offer. In addition, supply teachers are encouraged to be aware of the specific ethos within the school as well as cultural variation amongst the pupils regarding the use of touch.

If contact is used in the classroom situation supply teachers need to adhere to the following principles. The contact must:

  • Be in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy;
  • Be non-abusive, with no intention to cause pain or injury;
  • Be in the best interests of the child and others;
  • Have a clear educational purpose (e.g. to access the curriculum or to improve social relationships);
  • Take account of gender issues.

Criminal Records Disclosure

As Supply Desk meets the requirements in respect of exempted questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, all applicants who register will be subject to an enhanced criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service before the appointment is confirmed. This will include details of cautions, reprimands or final warnings as well as convictions. Overseas teachers will be required to provide a current Criminal Record Clearance from their home country.

A criminal conviction will not necessarily be a bar to obtaining a position.

Applying for a position exempted under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act requires the disclosure of all criminal record information, including details and dates of ‘spent’ convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. As you are registering for a position which will involve working with young people under the age of 18, you will also be required to provide details of all other relevant non-conviction information, such as police enquiries and pending prosecutions.

All information will be handled sensitively and in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Associative Discrimination

In October 2014 the Keeping Children Safe Legislation was updated to include the requirement for all individuals working with under 8’s to sign a declaration regarding their association with any individual who is barred or has restrictions regarding working with Children.

Candidates working with Supply Desk complete both a statement and full declaration form regarding Associative Discrimination. Candidates are given guidance on the requirements, the regulations and if appropriate the application to be exempt. Candidates working via Supply Desk who are working with under 8’s who refuse to be complete the declaration will not be placed into assignments.

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