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Parents are reassured on risks from paedophiles

EDUCATION chiefs in Dorset have spoken out to reassure parents their children are safe at school.

This Is Lancashire: SEX OFFENDER ROW: Teacher William Gibson SEX OFFENDER ROW: Teacher William Gibson

They stressed they are doing all in their power to ensure paedophiles are unable to get work as teachers and support staff.

A damning government report has claimed flaws in criminal vetting procedures mean schools and local authorities are failing to adequately protect pupils.

Inspectors from Ofsted said nine out of 10 schools were unable to prove they had carried out recommended checks during a recent survey.

But in Dorset, education bosses denied there is any risk to youngsters.

In Poole strict procedures have been tightened still further recently and John Nash, strategic director of children's services, said a great deal of work is done to ensure the safety of pupils.

He said all staff are the subject of strict Criminal Records Bureau checks, recently the subject of a successful audit.

"All schools have been provided with comprehensive advice on good recruitment," he told the Daily Echo.

Mr Nash said back-up checks are carried out and records are kept throughout any member of staff's employment and for seven years after resignation.

And he stressed all supply agencies have been asked for written assurances of their recruitment checking regimes.

In January Portchester School in Bournemouth hit the headlines when it was revealed that convicted child sex offender William Gibson was employed as a supply teacher.

Mr Gibson had secured a job at the Harewood Avenue school despite a conviction for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Ofsted inspectors said their report did not necessarily mean checks were not being carried out but it said there was no way of knowing for sure because of poor record keeping.

"Schools and local authorities must keep up-to-date and reliable records to prove that the necessary checks on staff have been carried out," said Maurice Smith, chief schools inspector.

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