Teachers urged to follow social services’ example of vetting recruits. By Sally Gillen

Teachers have failed to take action to prevent unsuitable people
gaining jobs working with children, Sir Michael Bichard said last

The chair of the inquiry into how Ian Huntley obtained a job as a
school caretaker, despite a long history of allegations of
relationships with under-age girls, said potential abusers would
not always come to the attention of authorities.

Bichard told the Local Government Association’s education
conference in Gateshead: “Social services have taken positive
action to address this issue, especially in residential services.
But I do not think that is the case where education is

Rigorous recruitment processes were essential to try to pick up
problems with potential employees because they may not be known to
the police.

Online child protection training for teachers who conduct
interviews was being drawn up and would be made available soon,
said Bichard.

During his inquiry, it emerged that many teachers did not have
child protection training and Bichard’s recommendations included a
requirement that at least one person on each interview panel should
have been trained.

Howard Gilbert, head teacher of Soham Village College, has
previously admitted that he had failed to carry out background
checks on Huntley before he started work.

Bichard said it was impossible to “stop the likes of Huntley
slipping through the net” but strong recruitment processes mean
professionals could be sure they were doing their best to prevent
it happening.

Measures to strengthen vetting of overseas staff would also be
considered over Christmas, he promised.

One conference delegate told of how a North American teacher in his
authority had been vetted by Scotland’s social care council.

However, after he started work it was discovered he had committed
25 offences against children in the US.

Earlier, Angela Mukhopadhyay, of the inter-inspectorate planning
team at Ofsted, said joint inspections of social services and
education would start from June 2005.

Ratings, which will feed into the comprehensive performance
assessment, will be published in November 2005.

A series of Joint Area Reviews, which will look at all services for
children as well as provision, including housing, will also be
carried out.

Councils will be expected to provide a list of 100 names of complex
cases involving children. The inspectorate will look in depth at a

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