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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
University raises vetting fears
Edinburgh University
Edinburgh University students have been affected
Problems in checking the background of student teachers have been reported by Edinburgh University.

Applications from about 25 of the university's 450 students have still not been completed by the vetting body, Disclosure Scotland.

Students need to go through the process before they are allowed to take part in school placements.

The concerns were raised as the latest official guidance on vetting staff was sent out to schools south of the border.


Placement is a basic requirement on all teacher education programmes

Frank Adams
Edinburgh University
The UK Government was forced into a U-turn by the delays in background checks, which left thousands of children unable to start the new term earlier this week.

The rules were eased after a backlog of checks built up at the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

North of the border it is Disclosure Scotland which checks people through the Scottish Criminal Record Office.

All new Scottish teachers went through background checks earlier than usual in February, before Disclosure Scotland was set up.

However, there have been warnings that things might not go so smoothly next year unless the systems are sorted out.

Still waiting

Problems have been highlighted among those studying at Edinburgh University to become teachers.

They must undergo checks before being allowed to go into schools on placement.

However, there are 25 students who are still waiting for that process to be completed.

Classroom
Student teachers must go through checks
The university's Frank Adams told BBC Scotland: "Placement is a basic requirement on all teacher education programmes.

"It is a requirement set out by the Scottish Executive and the General Teaching Council, so if they are not cleared and they cannot go into schools they won't have the requisite number of days of placement.

"We would then have to make alternative arrangements for the students."

The Scottish Executive said students across Scotland were facing similar problems.

It is now working with teacher training centres and local councils to find a solution which would not compromise pupil safety.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland said it had experienced problems with a complicated application process and missing forms.

Teacher forms

Myra Pearson said: "We have had some instances where we have had Disclosure Scotland forms returned to us that actually weren't sent by the council, and in fact do not relate to teachers at all.

"Our concern is if that is happening to other professions then some of our teacher forms could be ending up with someone else and not with us."

Disclosure Scotland has not commented on the problems with the vetting process.

However, it did stress that 90% of all applications were processed within 10 days.


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