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‘Uber’-style teacher recruitment apps raise child protection concerns

Your school may already be using one of the new mobile apps to recruit supply teachers, but have you considered the impact this new convenience could have on safeguarding your students?

Recent news articles have shone a light on the potential child protection concerns these new recruitment technologies, which have been likened to the taxi-service app Uber, could pose to schools.

Apps such as Teachers Register and Sick Cover are becoming increasingly popular methods of employing supply-teaching staff. They cut out the sometimes crippling fees imposed by recruitment agencies, and connect teachers with schools in need of teaching staff. A non-negotiable rate of pay is advertised by the teacher, and schools can search teachers available in the area to teach a certain subject over a specified period of time. While this is convenient and beneficial for some, concerns have been raised that the apps do not carry out enough background checks to ensure that the staff schools may be recruiting are safe.

It takes a matter of hours to get a profile set up with one of these companies. Teachers simply upload their personal details to the platform, scan in the relevant documents and upload a ‘selfie’, which the CEO of Sick Cover claims is then checked in the same way as border control, using biometric matching to ensure the person is who they say they are.

However, without performing the face-to-face interview process most recruitment agencies carry out before connecting supply-teaching staff with schools, unions have labelled the apps as being “clearly open to safeguarding risks”. The head of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers said: “Something this flaky is going to attract people who may have other intentions than teaching.”

It is a requirement for teaching staff in all schools to have been DBS (formerly CRB) checked, as well as having up-to-date safeguarding training and holding all relevant qualifications.

If you are concerned that your safeguarding training is not up to date, we offer a range of child protection online training courses that offer comprehensive, cost-effective safeguarding training for schools, written specifically to meet the needs of the education sector. For more information, browse our courses.