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Why has the Dept for Education (England) insisted that schools use an application form as part of their recruitment process?

10k Schools

Author: 10k Schools

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From a teacher’s perspective, you have seen your dream job – location, role and salary all tick the right boxes. What next? Do I submit my CV or is it an application form?

What is a CV or a resumé?

A CV is constructed by an individual or a professional CV writer that details the candidate’s personal details, career history, highlights their skill set and strengths in a succinct two pages (ideally)! It is created in such a way as to showcase the strengths of an individual. Some hiring managers even use it to assess creativity and IT proficiency.

What is an application form?

Designed by the employer, an application form focuses on the areas of a particular role that are most important to that organisation. It collects information in a standardized way that enables the recruiting team to make judgements based on the data in front of them.

Since 2020, the Department for Education for England has stressed that

 “Schools and colleges should only accept copies of a curriculum vitae alongside an application form. A curriculum vitae on its own will not provide adequate information.”

Yet, many schools in the UK and Internationally who are inspected against DfE criteria still accept a CV as the only application method.

So, why does the DfE want schools to do this?

It is at the foundation of a school Know Your People. Using an application form in the hiring process for schools can contribute significantly to ensuring a safe and secure environment. Here’s how:

  • Standardisation
    They allow for the systematic collection of essential information, including details related to the candidate’s identity, qualifications, and employment history. This approach ensures that crucial details are consistently gathered from all applications.

  •  Compliance
    They can be designed to include specific questions related to safeguarding, such as inquiries about a candidate’s willingness to undergo background checks, provide references, and disclose any previous disciplinary actions. This helps schools adhere to safeguarding policies and regulations.

  • Safeguarding Training
    By including compulsory questions on safeguarding, candidates must indicate their completion of safeguarding training and provide details about the courses undertaken.

  • Verification of qualifications and certifications
    Typically, a space is provided for the candidate to list their academic and professional qualifications and certifications. This information is crucial for verifying the legitimacy of a candidate’s credentials, ensuring that they possess the qualifications for the position.

  • Consistency
    Standardised application forms contribute to a consistent and thorough screening process for all candidates. This uniformity is essential for identifying any ‘red flags’ or discrepancies in the information provided by the candidate.

  • Reference Checks
    The ability to ask a candidate to list previous employers and professional contacts is vital for conducting thorough reference checks which are essential for verifying a candidate’s suitability and history in previous roles.

  • Criminal background checks
    It becomes mandatory for a candidate to provide consent for criminal background checks. This is crucial for schools to ensure the safety of students by identifying any potential risks associated with any criminal history.

  • Declarations
    Candidates are required to disclose any relevant information that may impact their suitability for the role, such as past allegations, investigations or legal issues. This self-disclosure ensures transparency and accountability.

  • Audit Trail
    Application forms create an audit trail that demonstrates a school’s commitment to following safer recruitment practices. This documentation is valuable in case of audits or inquiries related to the school’s hiring process.

Did any of you pick up my point with ‘Or a professional CV writer‘ ? If you are making judgements on a person’s personality and creativity from a CV, whose personality and creativity are you actually judging?

At 10K, we see that incorporating a well-designed application form into the recruitment process is key to collecting and organising the candidate’s data in such a way that it enhances the school’s ability to implement and document safer recruitment practices, contributing to the overall safety and well-being of students and the school community.


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