Identity crisis drives home some key points on safeguarding

18th June 2010 at 01:00

A member of my teaching staff was recently called for interview for a senior post in a neighbouring local authority. References had been requested and sent. Part of the selection involved teaching a lesson while being observed by members of a panel.

Shortly before the lesson was due to begin, the school's "safeguarding governor" expressed concern that, being someone who had been in post for a while, the teacher did not have a current Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance. There followed lengthy discussions about whether she should be allowed to teach, despite her protestations that she had been teaching at her present school for many years, that references had been received and that there would be other adults in the room at all times.

She was asked how she could prove who she was, and replied by asking who they thought she might be, given that they had invited her to be there, and how, if she were an impostor she could get away with turning up for an interview in the place of the correct candidate, who presumably might also have turned up. Matters were eventually resolved by her being asked to produce a driving licence, which was photocopied.

Quite how this solved the CRB issue is confusing, but it seemed to satisfy them.

She was unsuccessful in her application, but part of the feedback included the comment that the governors were really looking for someone with an up-to-date CRB certificate.

Dr Richard Greenfield, Headteacher, St Edmund's School, London.

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