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More violent criminals approved to take up teaching roles

The number of people with criminal convictions who have been allowed to take on teaching roles in Scotland has increased.

Responses to Scottish Conservative Freedom of Information requests reveal that the number of individuals with criminal convictions approved to take up posts, under the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme, rose from 215 in 2021 to 265 in 2023 – an increase of over 23%.

These figures include serious offences such as violent crimes –­­­ the number of which has increased by 50 per cent over the past two years – and sexual crimes, which have doubled in the last year.

The Scottish Conservatives are calling on the SNP Government to improve the regulation of the PVG Scheme to ensure that no dangerous criminals are permitted to work in schools with children.

Shadow education secretary, Liam Kerr has called these figures “deeply alarming” and said it’s an “absolute disgrace” that violent criminals have obtained approval.

 

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary, Liam Kerr MSP said: “Parents will be staggered to learn that their children could be exposed to someone with a violent or sexual-offending past in the classroom.

“While rehabilitation is key to the criminal justice system, and those convicted of minor offences should not be barred, no one with a violent or sexual offending past should be teaching our children.

“The current PVG Scheme doesn’t appear fit for purpose if violent offenders are slipping through the net.

“The SNP Government must act to ensure its rigorous enough to restore trust among parents that their children will be safe at school.”

Notes

 

The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme helps ensure that those seeking to do regulated work with children and protected adults are suitable for such positions. The scheme, managed by Disclosure Scotland, conducts background checks on applicants to ensure that those who aim to work with children and vulnerable adults are suitable. Members are continuously checked and remain on the scheme for life. (Scottish Government, the PVG Scheme, accessed: 25 March 2024 link).

The number of people approved for teaching roles in Scotland who have been convicted of offences has increased by almost a quarter in just three years. In 2021, there were a total of 215 PVG scheme applicants for “teacher” roles who were convicted of offences, including sexual and violent offences. By 2023, that figure had increased to 265, an increase of over 23%. There were a total of 6,655 scheme members with a criminal conviction since 2011 (FOI available on request, 1 March 2024).

The number of people approved for teaching roles convicted of sexual offences has doubled in one year. In 2021 and 2022, there were 5 PVG scheme members whose position included “teacher” who were convicted of “sexual offences” and in 2023, that figure doubled to 10. Since 2011, there were 25 PVG scheme members who were convicted of a sexual offence (FOI available on request, 1 March 2024).

The number of teachers convicted of violent offences have increased by 50 per cent in just three years. In 2021, there were 20 PVG scheme members whose position included “teacher” who were convicted of offences relating to violence. This number increased to 25 in 2022 and to 30 in 2023, representing an increase of 50%. (FOI available on request, 1 March 2024).