Teaching assistants, school governors and volunteers - who needs a DBS check?
DBS checks are a key part of safe recruitment. It’s clear that teachers need a DBS check - but what about people in other roles?
Keeping children and young people safe is one of the most important responsibilities schools have. In particular, schools must have robust recruitment procedures in place to help them identify, reject or deter anyone who isn’t suitable to work with children.
Although their role doesn’t involve as much responsibility as a teacher’s, teaching assistants should still have a DBS check.
Anyone who engages in a regulated activity must have an enhanced DBS check with a check of the children’s barred list.
In summary, a person will be engaged in a regulated activity if they do one or more of the following:
- Are responsible, on a regular basis in a school or college, for teaching, training instructing, caring for or supervising children.
- Carry out paid, or unsupervised unpaid, work regularly in a school or college where the work provides an opportunity for contact with children.
- Engage in intimate or personal care or overnight activity, even if this happens only once.
A full description of the scope of regulated activity is available here.
As a teaching assistant’s role falls within this scope, they should have an enhanced DBS with a barred list check.
Governors in maintained schools are required to hold an enhanced DBS certificate. The governing body is responsible for applying for a DBS check for any governor who doesn’t already have one.
As governance doesn’t involve regulated activity, governors aren’t eligible for a check of the barred list - unless they also engage in regulated activity in addition to their governance duties.
Governors of other schools and colleges should also have an enhanced DBS check.
Volunteers who teach or look after children regularly, or provide personal care in a school or college (even if it’s only once) will be working in regulated activity, and so should have an enhanced DBS check with a check of the barred list.
Volunteers who don’t engage in regulated activity but do have the opportunity to come into regular contact with children - for example, supervised volunteers - should have an enhanced DBS check without a barred list check.
If a volunteer is undertaking activity that would be regulated activity if it was unsupervised, then they must be supervised by a person in regulated activity at all times.
DBS checks in schools
DBS checks should be part of schools and colleges’ wider commitment to creating a culture of safety and promoting children’s welfare