The 5 most FAQs about DBS checks in Education Sector

15th Mar 2024

Welcome to our blog: ‘The 5 Most FAQs about DBS Checks within the Education Sector’.

DBS checks in Education Sector

In the education sector, ensuring the safety and well-being of students is a top priority. One crucial aspect of this is conducting the DBS checks for staff and volunteers. However, understanding the process and requirements of DBS checks can cause often be confusing. In this blog, we’ll address the five most frequently asked questions and answers about DBS checks in the education sector.


What level of DBS check is required for working in schools or educational settings?

In schools and educational settings, the safety and well-being of students are paramount. As such, stringent measures are in place to ensure that those working within these environments are suitable and trustworthy. One of the primary tools used for this purpose is the DBS check.

In schools or educational settings, a person is typically required to undergo an Enhanced DBS check with barred lists. This comprehensive check provides a detailed account of an individual’s criminal history. Including both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and warnings.  The individual's eligibility to work with children or vulnerable adults is verified, providing an additional protection layer for those in the educational environment.

Who needs to undergo a DBS check in the education sector?

Anyone who works with children or vulnerable adults in education typically requires a DBS check. This includes various staff members such as:

  1. Teachers and teaching assistants
  2. Administrative staff working directly with students
  3. Support staff and classroom aides
  4. School governors and trustees
  5. Volunteers involved in activities with children or vulnerable adults
  6. Contractors or service providers working on school premises during school hours or with unsupervised access to students.
  7. Any other individuals whose roles necessitate regular interaction with children or vulnerable adults within an educational setting.

Conducting DBS checks for these individuals is crucial for safeguarding the well-being of students and ensuring a safe learning environment. In addition, it helps educational institutions identify any criminal history or safeguarding concerns that could pose a risk to their students.


How often should DBS checks be renewed for education sector employees?

DBS checks are not valid indefinitely, and it is essential for education sector employees to undergo periodic renewal checks to maintain safeguarding standards. The frequency of renewal checks may vary depending on the organisation’s policies. However, it is common for checks to be renewed every three to five years or whenever there is a significant change in an individual’s role or circumstances.

There is a DBS update service which is a yearly subscription service provided directly by the DBS for applicants currently the service cost is £13 per applicant per year. If the DBS applicant subscribes to the service (this must be done within 19 days receiving your certificate) their DBS certificate will be securely stored online, allowing the applicant to check their certificate or present it to the employer at any time. The applicant can register subsequent DBS application with the service.

Applicants can carry their certificate between jobs, provided the jobs require the same level of check.

The service also updates regularly meaning that employers will only have to request a new DBS check to be undertaken if new information has arisen since the last DBS check.

This means the issue date of a DBS certificate will no longer be relevant if the applicant has subscription to the update service. Find out more here.


Can employers request a DBS check for volunteers in the education sector?

 Yes, the employers in the education sector can request DBS checks for volunteers who will be working directly with children or vulnerable adults. Volunteers, although unpaid, interact significantly with vulnerable groups in their roles. Therefore, making DBS checks essential to ensure their suitability for the position.

The level of DBS check required for volunteers in the education sector depends on the nature of their role and the extent of their contact with children or vulnerable adults. In many cases, volunteers will be subject to an Enhanced DBS check with barred lists. Which provides comprehensive information about an individual’s criminal history any relevant barring information.

Educational institutions can ensure the safety and well-being of students and vulnerable individuals by conducting DBS checks on volunteers.

How long does it take to process a DBS check for individuals in the education sector?

The processing time for a DBS check can vary depending on several factors. The level of checks, the individual's background, and the efficiency of the DBS processing system. Generally, Enhanced DBS checks with barred lists may take longer to process compared to Basic and Standard checks due to additional scrutiny involved. It is advisable for employers to plan and initiate the DBS check process well in advance of an individual starting their role in the education sector.