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More than 400 criminals apply for teaching jobs in Kent

By Paul Francis

Drug dealers, shoplifters, benefit fraudsters, drunk drivers are among more than 400 would-be teachers who have applied for jobs in Kent and Medway schools, we can reveal.

A total of 408 applicants with 809 convictions applied for positions in schools in the last two years, according to figures provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), under the Freedom of Information Act.

The DBS is the organisation which carries out background checks on behalf of employers.

Applicants who had convictions and cautions.

Applicants who had convictions and cautions.

It means that an unknown number of applicants carried more than one conviction or applicants applied for more than one job over the period.

Among the applicants for positions as teachers and heads in 2016-17 were 12 individuals who had convictions for assault - including one with an assault on a policeman.

Another application came from someone with a conviction of willfully mis-treating or neglecting a child, while one was found to have a conviction for being drunk while looking after a child.

The most common offences were for drink-driving, with 125 counts flagged up in checks on applicants over two years, followed by shoplifting, with 75.

One conviction identified in the checks was for “false imprisonment” - although it is unclear whether this was a case of kidnapping.

There was one count of wounding causing grievous bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of five years and an unlimited fine.

There were two counts of indecent exposure, which carries a maximum sentence of two years depending on the nature of the offence.

And the checks uncovered one applicant who had a conviction for voyeurism and another with a conviction for arson.

The most common offences were for drink-driving, with 125 counts flagged up in checks on applicants over two years, followed by shoplifting, with 75.

Among the more unusual offences that were uncovered in the checks was one for failing to pay a train fare and one of using “profane and obscene language in the street.”

DBS applications are referred to police forces, who examine the records of those seeking to work in a range of sectors –  including schools, healthcare, social services and private hire transport.

If convictions are discovered, applicants are prohibited from going for jobs in these sectors and it is an offence for an employer to take on any of those who fail checks.

However, the DRB now has a process of filtering those with minor convictions and cautions which can be removed from certificates issued in a similar way to offences being regarded as “spent”.

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