Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

DBS guidance from UCET & NASBTT (updated July 2023)


The latest version of the guidance from UCET and NASBTT for DBS. Please note that there are a handful of revisions to the original document that was uploaded in March 2023.

DBS and child protection issues relating to initial teacher education (ITE) trainees: Updated guidance from UCET


This leaflet updates ITE providers, local authorities, schools, colleges and others in England on the requirements in respect of various suitability checks[1] and disqualification from childcare as they impact on student and trainee teachers (other regions of the UK should have regard to legislation within their own jurisdictions although a lot of this information may still apply). It supersedes previous guidance issued by UCET. It does not represent a comprehensive explanation of the DBS, prohibition and criminal records check requirements and should be read alongside relevant statutory guidance and advice.

This document provides general advice only. It does not purport to be an authoritative or comprehensive account of all legal and regulatory requirements.

Key points:

· ITE providers are responsible for ensuring that appropriate suitability (see section C.1.3 of ITT Criteria) checks (including checks of the barred list) have been completed for fee paying trainees, and to inform partner schools and colleges that they have been completed. ITE providers should store this information; schools and colleges can record this fact in their central record, although they are not obliged to do so.

· ITE providers are, with the permission of the trainee, able to share information relating to the level, date, and number of DBS checks.

· Certificates of good conduct should be obtained, where possible, from countries in which applicants have lived as adults. There is no firm rule about how far back these checks should go. These certificates or letters should confirm that they have not imposed any sanctions or restrictions on the individuals concerned and that, as far as they are aware, ‘there is no reason why they should not work with children’. It is recognised that it is not always possible to secure certificates of good conduct from some countries and jurisdictions. In such cases ITE providers are advised to document what measures they have taken to obtain them and any other measures they have taken in respect of time spent overseas. Minimum guidance can be found on the government website:

· Registered bodies such as ITE providers should not under any circumstances share details of the content of DBS certificates with third parties such as schools or colleges. Schools or colleges may request to see DBS certificates from trainees who will be on placement with them, it is up to the trainee whether they want to share the information. Schools can however refuse to accept someone on placement if they have not had sight of their DBS certificate.

· Providers should reach agreement with partner schools and colleges about the kind of offences that might, depending on when they were committed, be an issue in regard to school or college placement or agree other procedures to reassure schools that appropriate safeguarding measures are in place (for example, referring individual cases to an independent panel or local authority safeguarding teams).

· ITE providers should bring to the attention of students working or training in relevant settings (childcare for under 8 years old and including education for 5 year olds and under) that they must disclose if they are disqualified under the terms of the 2018 Childcare Disqualification requirements.

· Visiting ITE tutors will not generally be engaged in regulated activity and so should not be subject to enhanced DBS with barred list checks. It might however be appropriate for them to be able to provide a DBS certificate without a barred list check. ITE providers should discuss whether such checks are appropriate with partner schools and colleges.

· It is considered good practice for ITE providers to ensure that at least one member of interview panels has been trained in safer recruitment practice. [2]

· ITE providers should ensure that trainees understand the importance of safeguarding and are aware of the impact that their online presence may have. In this regard, trainees should read and understand Keeping Children Safe in Education, and their placement schools’ staff codes of conduct and safeguarding / child protection policies.


ITE providers are responsible for ensuring that they do not admit applicants to training who are unsuited to work with children. Barred list, criminal record checks and prohibition checks are some ways of doing this. However, providers should also consider evidence from application forms, personal statements, interviews, entry tasks and/or portfolios.

ITE partnerships should establish a common understanding of convictions that might pose a barrier to joining a programme of ITE. This should give sufficient reassurance to schools and colleges that no-one who might, in terms of criminal convictions, be a cause for concern will have been recruited. Agreement should also be reached about the type of offence that should lead to a trainee being removed from a course, or the kind of behaviour that might lead to a trainee being referred to the police. Other measures might include establishing a panel, to include a school leader, to consider cases on an individual basis or to refer cases to local authority child protection teams. Applicants might, of course, still be unsuitable even if they do not have any formal convictions or cautions.

Responsibilities in respect of all ITE students

All entrants to ITE programmes must by law be checked against the DBS barred list, the list of people prohibited from teaching and be subject to criminal record checks. DBS certificates will be issued to individual applicants and not to providers. ITE providers have a responsibility to ensure that entrants on fee-paying routes have been subject to DBS checks.

The responsibilities, which are set out in full in Keeping Children Safe in Education, include:

· For trainees on routes other than salaried, the accredited provider, such as an HEI or a SCITT, is responsible for ensuring that checks have been completed by requesting sight of the original DBS certificate and keeping a record of the fact that it has been seen. Providers should confirm to schools that checks have been made. Schools may ask to see these certificates and record this fact in their central record, although they are not required to do so.

· For trainees on salaried programmes, the employer is responsible for ensuring that checks have been completed by requesting sight of the original certificate and keeping a record. Schools should confirm to accredited providers that checks have been made and providers should make a note of this. Accredited providers working on Teach First programmes will need to carry out checks as well as the employing schools.

· For those training to teach in FE colleges, the ITE provider is responsible for ensuring that checks have been completed in respect of pre-service trainees, while employers are responsible for those on in-service programmes. In each case the responsible organisation should confirm to the other that checks have been made.

Further checks need not be made by providers, schools or colleges if they have received notification from the responsible organisation that a satisfactory enhanced check has been obtained.

Trainees in England must also undergo a prohibition from teaching check, including against lists of teachers and others prohibited from the profession, teachers who have failed induction or probation, and teachers who have been sanctioned by the General Teaching Council for England. This is separate to the DBS check, as people can be prohibited from teaching for actions or behaviours that would not necessarily lead to them being included on the DBS barred list. People such as unqualified teachers can be included on the prohibited list, not only those who hold QTS. Fee-paying trainees should therefore be checked, and partner schools notified in a similar way to DBS and barred list clearance. Responsibility in respect of salaried trainees rests with employers. To undertake prohibition order checks, providers will need to be registered with the Employer Access Service. Further information about how to do this can be obtained from

Teachers from overseas and those who have lived or worked overseas

Trainees from overseas who teach in schools in England must be subject to criminal record checks, including a check of the children’s barred list. The Home Office has published guidance on criminal record checks for overseas applicants

Providers and employers must check that candidates are not subject to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State, as described above. The lists of prohibited teachers can be found via the Teacher Services Syst