New guidance to ensure schools do not employ anyone likely to be a threat to children has been published.
Schools will have to show that checks have been carried out
From January 2007, schools and colleges will have to check the criminal records of all new staff and ensure a note is made of any checks on existing staff.
They must also verify checks made on agency staff and ensure these form part of the school's central, single record.
Education Secretary Alan Johnson had said he would tighten procedures after record-keeping was found to be weak.
Ofsted inspectors found that hardly any of the 58 schools it looked at took "even the simplest of measures in terms of record keeping".
The inspectors found that most schools believed local authorities had been carrying out criminal records checks.
Most had not checked whether staff were who they claimed to be, had the qualifications they said they had or even if they had a criminal record.
Under the new guidance, schools and colleges will have to keep a record of all the checks they make, including ID checks, qualification requirements and Criminal Record Bureau checks.
This could mean that where there is no record of the checks made, the checking process may have to be undertaken again.
Education inspectors had been asked by previous education secretary Ruth Kelly to look at the issue after it emerged that dozens of sex offenders had been cleared by ministers to work with children.
It is hoped the new guidance, issued on Tuesday, will make clear to teachers and college leaders what their responsibilities are.
It also clarifies procedures for checking volunteer staff, including school governors.
A letter signed by education ministers Beverley Hughes and Jim Knight is being sent to all schools in England.
It says: "There are few more important responsibilities carried by the staff and governors or proprietors of schools, and principals of FE colleges than ensuring children and young people are safeguarded from harm, especially from those in positions of trust, care or authority."
However, a new raft of measures are to be introduced in 2008.
These include having a single list of those barred from working with children and ensuring that those known to present a risk to children are barred from entering the school and college workforce.
Meanwhile decisions on who should be barred from school jobs will be taken by an independent barring board.