Around the world, thousands of schools are following the British school system. There are a few reasons why this is the case. Firstly, it’s often a throwback to the past, where many countries around the world formed part of the British empire. In other countries, learning English is thought to be so important that parents want to send their kids to international schools, staffed by British teachers. Finally, many countries have a high number of UK expat workers, who want continuity for their children by choosing to send them to an international school. However, a recent announcement by the DBS has changed the way in which schools overseas check up on teachers.


What’s Changing?

Until very recently, international schools would use the Disclosure and Barring Service to run enhanced disclosure checks on all teachers before they started work. This again helped the schools overseas to ensure that staff working with children didn’t have a long string of criminal convictions. It also helped build the image of the school brand – British teachers, checked using the British system. However, the Disclosure and Barring Service has closed the loophole which allowed the umbrella body representing overseas schools to run disclosure checks. Other British workers who move overseas to work require a different type of check, and the new guidance to schools is intended to bring them into line.


Criminal Records Check

Although prospective teachers can no longer apply for an enhanced disclosure check, international schools can still ask for a criminal records check. The body which administers this type of check is called ACRO. They issue documents known as Police Certificates, which perform the same function as a DBS check. Police Certificates are designed specifically for people who want to move overseas. Many foreign governments ask for police certificates as part of the immigration process, or they can be used when applying for jobs overseas too.

The process for getting an ACRO check is broadly similar to applying for a DBS check. Currently, a standard application costs £45, and there is also the option of paying £80 for a fast track option to get your certificate back more quickly.


International Child Protection Certificate

Some schools may also ask candidates to produce an International Child Protection Certificate, or ICPC. This certificate applies only to people who have been brought up in the UK, or who have worked here for long periods and who then want to go overseas to work with children. An ICPC can be requested for either voluntary or paid positions. Just like an enhanced disclosure, the ICPC might contain details of convictions considered spent in other circumstances, or police intelligence. ACRO charges £48 for each ICPC issued, and there is no fast track option. The ICPC doesn’t have an expiry date on it, but most establishments overseas will ask for one dated within the last six months. For students applying to work overseas each summer, that could mean applying for a new ICPC each year too.