Sex offender applied for Lancashire teaching position

Last year, 278 offences were flagged up from applicants living in PR, FY and BB post codes.
Last year, 278 offences were flagged up from applicants living in PR, FY and BB post codes.
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  • Hundreds of criminals living Lancashire have applied for teaching jobs in the last three years
  • Background checks revealed offences including making an indecent image of a child, arson and drug dealing
  • Would-be teachers and teaching assistants living in the PR postal area amassed 454 offences between them
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A sex offender is among hundreds of criminals living Lancashire who have applied for teaching jobs in the last three years, the LEP can today reveal.

Background checks on candidates from the county since 2012 have revealed more than 1,000 offences - including making an indecent image of a child, arson and drug dealing.

Another important consideration for the headteacher is whether the individual has been up front and told them about the offence before the DBS form has been processed, rather than the headteacher finding out about the offence after the DBS check has been carried out.

Coun Matthew Tomlinson

A Freedom of Information request to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has revealed would-be teachers and teaching assistants living in the PR postal area amassed 454 offences between them.

The figures include convictions, cautions, warnings and reprimands flagged up by DBS checks carried out at the request of prospective employers since 2012.

It is not clear how many of those applications were for jobs in Lancashire or how many were eventually hired.

Lancashire County Council, which is responsible for education in the county, said it does not know how many people with criminal records have successfully applied for teaching jobs as the information is held by individual schools.

Coun Matthew Tomlinson, the council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said all school appointments are conditional upon DBS checks.

He added:“If the DBS check reveals an offence, its severity and when it was committed would influence whether the provisional job offer was immediately withdrawn.

“In cases where the offer is not immediately withdrawn, the headteacher could ask for an explanation from the individual concerned, and then make a decision as to the suitability of the individual to work in the school.”

The council supports headteachers in such cases, he added and several factors are taken into account including the severity of the offence, when and why it was committed, and if it was a one-off as well as the nature of the job applied for.

He said: “Another important consideration for the headteacher is whether the individual has been up front and told them about the offence before the DBS form has been processed, rather than the headteacher finding out about the offence after the DBS check has been carried out.

“After careful consideration of all the information, the headteacher would decide whether or not the individual could be given another chance and be employed at the school.”

Last year, 278 offences were flagged up from applicants living in PR, FY and BB post codes.

The figure fell from 374 the year before and 364 in 2012.

The DBS said the information may include multiple entries for one person where they have committed more than offence or applied for more than one job.

Offences committed by people living in the Preston area include scores of motoring offences as well as cruelty to a child, assaulting a police officer and wounding.

In Blackpool, which is not covered by Lancashire County Council, five people with criminal records have been offered permanent teaching positions in the last three years.As in the rest of the county, Blackpool Council said the decision to hire someone with a criminal record was “ultimately that of the school”.