Although there's no legal requirement to have a DBS check as a private tutor, having one provides tutees with peace of mind. This guest post from Superprof looks at how to get a DBS check as a tutor.
Let’s talk psychology for a moment: generally, people with good intentions want to help others. Such people like to work with vulnerable segments of the population, often children.
Possibly, those people find their can-do attitude and irrepressible spirit mirrored in their young charges.
Now, let’s talk reality: hurtful and sad as it is, there is no guarantee that anyone who wants to work with children is honest in their intentions and tender in their ministrations.
That is why, to ensure the maximum possible level of safety for our youngest citizens, the law states that prospective school teachers must submit to a background check before having access to any students.
The law doesn’t say anything about independent tutors, who also work with children, requiring the same level of scrutiny.
Still, it only makes good sense that you, as a prospective tutor, seek that qualifier yourself.
To get you started on the right track, let’s go over what a DBS is, how to get one and how it can work for you.
What Is a DBS?
The Disclosure and Barring Service is a non-governmental body that operates in conjunction with the Home Office.
They issue certificates attesting to individuals’ suitability to work in certain sectors, especially those involving children and vulnerable adults.
This service is the result of a merging of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Before December 2012, when the merger took place, those certifications were called CRBs, or criminal records checks.
Though there have been some bumps in the road – an investigation recently conducted by the National Audit Office found the service to be lacking, the Home Office is continuously working to update the procedures for obtaining background information on individuals.
Today, employers may request one of four levels of ‘checks’ on their job applicants: Basic, Standard, Enhanced, and Enhanced with Barred List Checks.
The Barred List details those people who have been barred from working with children or vulnerable persons.
Why You May Need a DBS Check as a Private Tutor
No UK law that states that, as an independent tutor, you must have a DBS before you can engage with any students; it just makes good sense for you to have one.
Consider the purpose of such a certification: to prove there is nothing in your past that indicates you pose a danger to children.
In other words, parents can trust that, while in your company, their children will not come to harm.
You might contend that you find the idea of harming a child abhorrent and resent having to get a piece of paper to prove it.
While like-minded people would agree with you, the fact remains that enough harm has been done to children in the past that such documentation is necessary if you want to be seen for the values you embody.
Besides, there’s no shame in proving yourself as trustworthy, is there?
Steps to Securing a DBS Check as a Tutor
To vouchsafe yourself as a tutor, you only need a Basic DBS check. You may apply for your check online or through an agency specified on the UK government’s website.
To request a DBS, you must be older than 16 and provide the following documentation:
- All addresses you have lived at for the past five years (and the dates you lived there)
- Your National Insurance Number
- Your passport
- Your driving licence
Your cost for this certification is £23 and you will have to wait about two weeks to receive it.
Putting Your DBS to Work for You
As soon as you receive your certificate, you may begin advertising your services as a private tutor – maybe on Superprof?
Proving that you have a clean record gives your clients the comfort of knowing that you willingly subjected yourself to scrutiny to ensure their child’s safety.
Note: if you are a university student tutoring secondary school students, you should secure a DBS for that very reason.
Do You Need a DBS Check to Tutor Online?
Again, doing so is not required but it is recommended. Parents are forever worried about doings online; news reports about child grooming and extortion don’t ease their fears one bit.
As an independent tutor, the biggest part of your job is fostering trust – not only with your students but with their caregivers.
Your holding a current DBS certificate probably won’t do much for your students but it will certainly give their parents a good reason to hire you.
Superprof is a global private tutoring platform, dedicated to connecting tutors and students easily and efficiently. The website started operating in the UK in 2016 and is now active in 22 countries across the world.