Myths and Misconceptions about DBS checks in Education

31st May 2024

Myths vs Reality of DBS checks in Education.

DBS checks in Education

In this blog, we will unravel these myths and provide clear, accurate information to help educators better understand the complications of DBS checks. From clarifying who needs a DBS check to debunking common misunderstandings about what a DBS check reveals.

Let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction in the world of DBS checks in education.

Myth 1: A clean DBS check guarantees safety

Reality: While a clean DBS check is an important safeguard, it is not an absolute guarantee of safety. DBS checks reveal past criminal records, but they cannot predict future behaviour. Schools should combine DBS checks with other safeguarding measures. For example, thorough reference checks, ongoing supervision, and creating a culture of vigilance.


Myth 2: All convictions appear on a DBS check

Reality: Not all convictions will appear on a DBS check. The level of check (basic, standard, or enhanced) determines what information is disclosed. Some minor or old convictions might be filtered out under certain criteria, particularly in enhanced checks. Understanding these levels helps set realistic expectations for what a DBS check will reveal.


Myth 3: Only teachers need DBS checks

Reality: DBS checks are not just for teachers. All school staff, including administrator’s personnel, support staff, volunteers, and even certain contractors who have regular contact with students, may require DBS checks. The goal is to ensure that anyone who has access to children is vetted appropriately.


Myth 4: A DBS check is a one-time requirement

Reality: DBS checks should be part of an ongoing safeguarding strategy. While there is no legal requirement for the frequency of re-checks, best practice suggest that schools periodically update DBS checks to ensure continued safety. Some schools choose to re-check staff every three years, while others may opt for a different schedule.


Myth 5: Applicants Can Start Working Before a DBS Check is Complete

Reality: While it is sometimes possible for new hires to start work strict supervision while waiting for their DBS check to be completed, this practice should be approached with caution. Schools must ensure that such staff are never left unsupervised with children and that all other safeguarding measures are in place.


Myth 6: A delay in receiving a DBS check means there’s a problem

Reality: Delays in processing DBS checks do not necessarily indicate an issue with the applicant’s background. Delays can occur due to a variety of administrative reasons, such as high demand, backlogs at local police forces, or incomplete application forms. It’s important to follow up on delays but not assume the worst.

Understanding the realities of DBS checks helps school implement more effective and comprehensive safeguarding practices. By debunking these common myths and misconceptions, educators and administrators can better protect their students and create a safer educational environment.