As soon as September starts, thoughts turn to getting the kids back to school. We happily wave our kids off, trusting that the people looking after them are suitable to take care of them. From a teacher’s point of view, it’s the start of another school year, with a new intake of pupils and new members of staff. It’s a busy time of year. But does the start of a new school year mean that it’s time to renew DBS paperwork too?


Legal Requirement

It’s a legal requirement to have teaching staff and other people who are working full time in schools have disclosure checks done at the highest level of detail. In the case of teachers, this is done at an early stage of their training, before they qualify and before they go into the classroom for the first time. If something shows up on a DBS check on a student teacher, a decision will be made about whether or not they go on to qualify.

For other members of staff in a school such as cooks, office staff or caretakers, DBS checks are done at the point of a job being offered. Schools and local authorities will have their own policies about who will be offered jobs depending on what shows up on a DBS check.


Renewing DBS Checks

Although by law all teachers and other staff working in staff have to be DBS checked, the law doesn’t set out how often the checks have to be run again. This will depend on the policies set down centrally by the local authority, or Academy management. Usually, the policies say that DBS checks should be renewed every two or three years. It’s not the responsibility of the teacher to ask about the renewal or keep up to date with when two or three years roll around.



One of the areas which causes most confusion is whether or not schools need to check all volunteers. The rule of thumb comes down to the frequency of the volunteering. Someone coming into school every week to run a club or hear children do their reading will be classed as a frequent volunteer, and will need to be DBS checked. Someone who volunteers once a term to help out on a school trip or to clear up after the Christmas party won’t require a DBS check. However, schools will be required to be aware of who has a DBS check and who doesn’t, and to allocate responsibilities accordingly – for example, not allowing volunteers who haven’t been checked to be on their own with groups of children.


Paying for DBS Checks

Anyone who is being paid for their role in a school will be required to pay for their DBS check. In many cases, the school will absorb this cost and the teacher or dinner lady won’t be asked to pay, Volunteers don’t pay for DBS checks. Renewals are charged at the same rate as a new application for a DBS.