Most of us are used to the idea of going through a process of checking when applying for a certain type of job or when volunteering to go into our child’s school and help out with reading or crafts. But what is less known is that some people enrolling on a University course might have to go through the process too, and that offers won’t be confirmed until a satisfactory check has been carried out. In the worst case scenario, this could mean someone passing all of their exams with top grades, flying through an interview, yet still being turned down because of something on their Police record.

Not All Courses Require DBS Checks

Don’t be alarmed though, as not every student enrolling on a course at a Higher Education establishment in the UK needs to undergo DBS checking, Disclosure checking in Scotland or an Access NI check in Northern Ireland. Only students who are starting courses which involve contact with vulnerable groups or children are included in the DBS checking scheme. Each university will have information on their website about the courses which they offer requiring students to be DBS checked. These typically include courses at all levels which cover Primary or Secondary Teaching, Counselling, Social Work, Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery, Sports Coaching or Dentistry.

Process for Checking

Each University or College will have its own process for checking students who are enrolling on their courses so don’t assume that you know the process and always check. Most Universities will ask students to fill in an online form with their basic details, print it off and then attend University at a specified time for staff to check the form, verify the identification such as passport or driving licence which the student brings with them and then sign the form to submit it. If you live considerable distance from the University where you are studying it might be possible to do everything by post, but this might take longer. Applicants for a DBS check will have to pay for it themselves – the University and college will not cover the cost for you.

Foreign Applicants

Many students come to study at UK universities from overseas and their process for enrolling on one of the courses which requires DBS checking is even more complex. Overseas students who are not resident in the UK or even UK students who have been out of the country for over five years must supply a Certificate of Good Conduct from their home country. The timescales and costs associated with doing this will depend on the country involved. If you are already in the UK, your embassy will be able to help.

What if Something Shows Up?

Many people have had minor brushes with the law, and an old conviction for shoplifting may not bar you from training as a nurse or social worker. Civil matters – like fines for speeding – don’t count either. DBS information is assessed on a case by case basis, so the decision about whether to let you enrol on the course will depend on the nature of the offences, and how long ago it happened.