In 2014, the Council of International Schools (CIS) formed the International Task Force for Child Protection (ITFCP). This task force offered schools recommendations for child protection oriented pre-employment screening of teachers; and provides guidance on what to look for once teachers are working in a school. Whilst this advice is extensively researched, well supported and responsible for vast improvements in process; it does have failures.
For example, the ITFCP’s own Recommended Screening and Assessment Practices for International School Recruitment states that “the schools conduct checks of available sex offender registries as a precondition of employment.” The recommended process for implementing this is “to review sex offender websites for each of the countries where the candidate has previously lived.” On face value, this may seem like an acceptable way forward. In practice this is complicated, confusing and lacks the rigour to legally protect schools should the worst-case scenario arise. To top it off, many countries simply don’t publish sex offender registers for legal reasons.
Similarly, the criminal background checking procedure document published by CIS is 179 pages long and dedicates a page to almost every country on the globe. It certainly expansive and no doubt it is accurate, however, this country by country viewpoint is simply impractical when dealing with international teachers. What’s more, it overlooks global databases such as those provided by Interpol – the only centralised database of child sex offender data on the planet. A database which is simply not accessible to school HR departments.
The common thread with both these processes is that they take a country specific viewpoint on background screening (much like the DBS) and they put the onus on the schools to carry out the complicated checking process which they are simply not qualified or sufficiently resourced to do. At best, this approach is naive. In a legal context it runs the risk of being considered negligent.
According to Interpol, all of this is happening against the backdrop of an increase in the numbers of travelling sex offenders. In 2017 there were more than 5,600 offenders arrested by Interpol alone. 12,000 victims identified. CIS themselves acknowledge that international schools are a weak target for these evil miscreants.
In this ‘perfect storm’ of globalised teacher recruitment and travelling sex offenders, a checking solution with a global viewpoint is required. These ‘global sanctions’ checks can support the good work already done by CIS and ITFCP. It does however require schools to look to professional background screening organisations who have access to global databases.
Schrole delivers innovative, technology-based solutions for the education sector. The company has four business units:
- Schrole Connect: an online software-as-service (SaaS) platform that enables international schools to streamline teacher recruitment and candidate management activities
- Schrole Verify: a new global standard for background screening in the international schools sector.
- Schrole Cover: a cloud-based software platform that engages your preferred relief staff at the touch of a button; and
- Schrole ETAS: Schrole Education and Training Advisory Service provides accredited training solutions customised to the contexts in which our clients operate.