Background checks in the education sector: Regulatory obligations and best practices

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Rachel Moore
Updated on:

In the education sector, finding the perfect match for a role is paramount. However, navigating the diverse regulatory landscape across different education sub-sectors and roles within your organisation can be challenging when determining essential background checks for new starters. 

To simplify this process, here’s our guidance on the necessary background checks you should complete in the education sector.

Right to work check

First and foremost, employers in the UK must verify that the candidate has the right to work in the UK. Failure to do so could result in significant fines and legal complications for your company.

Zinc is a UK Government approved Identity Service Provider (IDSP) which means we can securely validate identity documents remotely. Our right-to-work checks typically come back within minutes causing you no delays in the hiring process.

Criminal record check

Regulation in the education sector is complex, certain roles are eligible for an Enhanced DBS check, others require extra Childs Barred checks to be conducted but then seemingly similar roles only qualify for a Basic DBS. 

Similarly, some organisations within the education sector may be bound by more or less stringent regulations. For example, some educational institutions are not legally required to complete a basic DBS, however our research indicates that most organisations in this space choose to run at least a basic DBS owing to their internal policies. Conversely, some Further Education colleges think they are exempt from running Enhanced DBS checks on their staff because they aren’t operating as a school. This isn’t correct and could have significant legal ramifications.  

Zinc can run all of these checks, typically turning them around in a matter of days. If you’re unsure what your requirements are, get in touch and we’ll guide you through it. 

Reference check

Completing a reference check before hiring is crucial to verify a candidate's qualifications, experience, and suitability for the role. It is also a core part of the Ofsted suitability check. With Zinc, you have three options for reference checks:

Choose the reference-checking option that best suits your business. With an average turnaround time of 24 hours and automated follow-ups to referees, you won’t be left waiting weeks for a response. 

Identity check

Confirming the individual's identity through a comprehensive background check is essential. This process includes validating the candidate's full name, date of birth, and national insurance number. In a world faced with increasing identity fraud, ensuring the applicant's identity is a crucial first step and a core part of the Ofsted suitability check.

Further background checks if your candidate has lived abroad

If your employee has lived abroad in the last five years they still have to complete all of the checks above but further checks such as a local criminal record check might be required, Zinc can support international criminal checks too so get in touch if this applies to you. 

Use the right tools to amplify your hiring process 

Companies will be able to tap into a far wider talent pool with the right software. A consistent identity-checking process used by hiring teams ensures less repetition and fewer hoops to jump through (for all involved), building trust faster and attracting more candidates. 

Job seekers expect their digital identity to swiftly provide the necessary details - acting as a one stop shop for background checks. At Zinc we offer more than 12 types of background checks with turnaround times that mean background checks take a matter of days not weeks. So you can find the right candidates, in a timely manner. 

Check turnaround times at Zinc

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