Policy: Safer Recruitment & Suitable Staff


At Hatching Dragons we aim to have a high quality staff team that act at all times in the best interests of children’s safety and welfare. To achieve this we have a range of policies to support the recruitment, development and retention of staff.

The nursery’s policies in respect of personnel are governed by the following:

  • The best interests of the children, their welfare, safety, care and development
  • The requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • The needs of the children, including maintaining continuity of care
  • Compatibility between all members of staff and the building of a good team spirit
  • Consideration of the advancement of each member of staff both by internal and external training to help them achieve their maximum potential
  • Equal pay for work of equal value
  • Compliance with the current legislation including the principles of the Equality Act 2010 and all current legislation governing discrimination.

We will ensure:

  • The provision of a person specification and job description for every member of staff prior to an interview
  • All interviews will follow our recruitment procedures to ensure safe and fair and non-discriminatory recruitment occurs
  • The provision of a statement of terms and conditions and contract for every member of staff in employment (contract to be received by new employee within two months of commencement of employment)
  • Prior to commencement of employment, the successful applicant shall be provided with an offer letter (conditional on an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance) with the induction procedure and any details of other information relevant for their first day of work
  • New members of staff will be provided with copies of all the policies and procedures and we will ensure their understanding and adherence to these over an induction period
  • Discrimination or harassment of any member of staff relating to sex, race, sexual orientation, gender, gender reassignment, age, religion or belief and disability will not be acceptable. This includes unwanted verbal or physical third party harassment by those not employed by the nursery.

Safer Recruitment

At Hatching Dragons we are vigilant in our recruitment procedures aiming to ensure all people working with children are suitable to do so. We follow this procedure each and every time we recruit a new member to join our team.

Legal requirements

  • We abide by all legal requirements relating to safe recruitment set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and accompanying regulations
  • We also follow any requirements or guidance given by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in relation to carrying out checks; and abide by the employer’s responsibilities relating to informing the DBS of any changes to the suitability of their staff, whether this member of staff has left the nursery or is still under investigation. Please refer to the child protection/safeguarding policy for further information. 


  • The Nursery manager will use the Occupancy tracker to determine recruitment needs 8-12 weeks in advance.
  • The nursery manager will ask the central management team to advertise for the specific roles.
  • We use reputable newspapers, websites to advertise for any vacancies. The vacancy will also be posted on BambooHR Hiring portal.
  • We ensure that all recruitment literature includes details of our equal opportunities policy and our safeguarding/safe recruitment procedures; including an enhanced DBS check and independent references for every new employee. We also include the requirement for an additional criminal records check (or checks if more than one country) for anyone who has lived or worked abroad as far as is practicable and possible, working within the confines and efficacy of that host country’s internal protocols. 
  • Candidates must submit a full CV during their application for review ahead of any interview and be made aware of the company's approach to safeguarding and our approach to the due diligence checks required to vet a candidates suitability .
  • The central management team will conduct a telephone screening with the candidates to discuss their application in full prior to them being scheduled for interview with the manager.

Interview stage

  • The central management team will  shortlist all suitable candidates  in line with the job description advertised. All applicants receive correspondence regardless of whether they are successful in reaching the interview stage or not
  • All shortlisted candidates will receive a job description and a request for identification and all qualifications and training certificates prior to the interview
  • Interviews will be held by the named manager and, where possible, the deputy or member of the central management team to form the interview panel
  • At the start of each interview all candidates’ identities will be checked using, for example, their passport and/or photocard driving licence. All candidates will be required to prove they are eligible to work in the UK. The interview will also cover any gaps in the candidate’s employment history
  • All candidates reaching the interview stage are questioned using the same set criteria and questions. These cover specific areas of childcare, including safeguarding the children in their care, planning suitable activities to enhance the child’s development and their understanding of the legal frameworks applied to childcare and used in the nursery. The questions will be value based and will ensure the candidate has the same values as the nursery with regards to the safety and welfare of the children in their care.The candidate will also be ask whether  they are  disqualified  from  working with children and/or vulnerable adults.
  • The nursery manager will review the candidates interview questions alongside the  supervised practical exercise.
  • The supervised practical exercise involves the candidates working on the floor with the children, the room leader/deputy manager will complete an observation on the candidates during this session and submit this as part of the evaluation.
  • The nursery manager will review the candidates interview notes and the feedback from the practical exercise , this feedback will be added to the candidates BambooHR profile and the central management team will be advised on the next steps. Where possible ,the manager and deputy will then select the most suitable person for this position based a score from 1-10, the scoring will be based on the candidates  knowledge and understanding of the early years framework , interview answers and the practical assessment.
  • The Nursery manager will then provide direct feedback to the central management team who will contact every candidate with communication stating whether they have been successful or not. Unsuccessful candidates are offered feedback .

Starting work 

(see Induction Policy & Procedure)

  • The central management team will offer the successful candidate the position using BambooHR, this will be subject to adequate references and DBS checks. The reference will be requested by the central management team and will be from previous employment or, in the case of a newly qualified student, their tutor and a personal or professional reference. These references will be taken up by the central management team BEFORE employment commences. This may be verbal initially and then followed up with a written reference which will form part of their personnel file. This will be added to their BambooHR profile.
  • The central management team will ask the successful candidate   to provide proof of their qualifications, where applicable. All qualifications will be checked and copies taken for their personnel files where applicable
  • All new starters, other than those who have registered for the continuous updating service (see below), will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • The central management team will initiate a DBS check  before the member of staff commences work in the nursery and they will not have unsupervised access to any child or their records before this check comes back clear. Further to this, the new starter will not be allowed to take photographs of any child, look at their learning and development log or change the nappy of any child without an up-to-date enhanced DBS check (whether supervised or not). The DBS checks are conducted through disclosure services and once completed will be added to the new starters BambooHr profile.
  • An additional criminals records check (or checks if more than one country) should also be made for anyone who has lived or worked abroad
  • A  health check questionnaire will be given to the employee and its results will be taken into account in making an overall decision about suitability. The nursery reserves the right to take any further advice necessary in relation to a person’s physical and mental fitness to carry out their role. Please see the absence management policy for more details about how the nursery manages health problems including access to medical records
  • The nursery will record and retain details about the individual including staff qualifications, identity checks carried out and the vetting process completed. This will include the disclosure and barring service reference number, the date the disclosure was obtained and details of who obtained it. The nursery will not retain copies of the disclosure itself once the employment decision is taken. This will be added to the candidates BambooHR profile.
  • There may be occasions when a DBS check is not clear but the individual is still suitable to work with children. This will be treated on an individual case basis and at the manager’s/owner’s discretion taking into account the following:

o   seriousness of the offence or other information

o   accuracy of the person’s self-disclosure on the application form

o   nature of the appointment including levels of supervision

o   age of the individual at the time of the offence or other information

o   the length of time that has elapsed since the offence or other information

o   relevance of the offence or information to working or being in regular contact with children.

  • If the individual has registered on the DBS system since 17 July 2013, the central management team may use the update service with the candidate’s permission instead of carrying out an enhanced DBS check
  • New starters are required to state that they have no criminal convictions, court orders or any other reasons that disqualify them from working with children or unsuitable to do so
  • The setting will  carry out an online search as part of or due diligence on shortlisted candidates. This may help identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publicly available online. These will be explored with the applicant as part of the shortlisting/offer stage.
  • Once the safer recruitment has been finalised the central management team will update the employee BambooHR Safer Recruitment profile with the relevant checks which have been conducted.
  • The central management team will issue the new staff member with an induction pack via BambooHR which includes all of the onboarding tasks which are required as part of the induction procedure.  The new staff member will also be given access to our online training portal Educare , the staff member will be provided with Training courses to complete during their probation period.
  • The new starter will also be required to sign a list of Statutory documents , this includes  a Health Declaration, code of conduct, data consent, staff declaration and Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education. 
  • All new members of staff will undergo an intensive induction period with the nursery manager during which time they will read and discuss the nursery policies and procedures and be assigned a ‘mentor/ buddy’ who will introduce them to the way in which the nursery operates.
  • All new Bank staff members/ agency staff workers will undergo an in-depth induction on their first day prior to going on the floor, this will include them completing the Induction Information Sheet in full which covers training on how to safeguarding children/in their care and follow the Safeguarding Children/Child Protection policy and procedure, emergency evacuation procedures, equality policy and health and safety issues
  • During  induction  the nursery manager will provide  training to all permanent staff member  on day 1 on how to safeguard children in their care and follow the Safeguarding Children/Child Protection policy and procedure, emergency evacuation procedures, equality policy and health and safety issues
  • The new member of staff will have regular meetings with the manager and their mentor during their induction period to discuss their progress.

Ongoing support and checks

  • All staff are responsible for notifying the manager in person if any there are any changes to their circumstances that may affect their suitability to work with children (staff suitability status will also be checked through an annual ‘staff suitability questionnaire’). This includes any incidents occurring outside the nursery.Staff will also complete a statutory declaration during supervision meetings to declare if there are any changes on their suitability to work with children. Staff will face disciplinary action should they fail to notify the manager immediately
  • All members of staff will update a health questionnaire on an annual basis to ensure management have a good knowledge of any changes that may require support or additional resources to aid them to carry out their day-to-day duties. This will also be discussed at staff supervisions/review meetings. Management may require this more regularly where health circumstances change. There are more details about how the nursery deals with any health problems in the absence management policy
  • The nursery manager*/owner* will review any significant changes to an individual’s circumstances that may suggest they are no longer suitable to work with children and take appropriate action to ensure any unsuitable or potentially unsuitable employee does not have unsupervised contact with children until the matter is resolved. Please see the Disciplinary Policy for further details
  • Every member of staff will have two meetings a year with the manager: a formal appraisal and a more informal review. This will provide an opportunity for the manager and member of staff to discuss training needs for the following six months as well as evaluate and discuss their performance in the previous six months
  • The manager, deputy and room leaders will be responsible for any support the staff team may have between these reviews. This includes mentor support, one-to-one training sessions, ongoing supervision, work-based observations and constructive feedback
  • The nursery will provide appropriate opportunities for all staff to undertake professional development and training to help improve the quality of experiences provided for children. 

Suitability of Staff

At Hatching Dragons we are committed to ensuring that all staff, including students and volunteers are suitable to work with or be in regular contact with children. We have systems in place to ensure that this includes making a decision about suitability, as part of the recruitment process and monitoring continued suitability, as part of regular staff or student supervision.

The operations  manager is responsible for ensuring that all staff and students have an enhanced check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and that the results of such a check are assessed as part of a decision on suitability. Where possible staff will have the checks completed prior to starting employment. However, if there are delays in checks coming through, as a last resort staff may work in the nursery before these checks are completed as long as they are supervised at all times by staff who already hold an enhanced check and the check has been applied for.These checks will be added to the new staff members Safer Recruitment tab in BambooHR, this will also include relevant reference checks which have been completed.

All nursery staff will be informed of any staff awaiting enhanced DBS clearance.

Staff awaiting these checks will never:

  • Be left unsupervised whilst caring for children
  • Take children for toilet visits unless supervised by staff holding an enhanced check
  • Change nappies
  • Be left alone in a room or outside with children
  • Administer medication
  • Administer first aid
  • Take photographs of any children
  • Be involved in looking at a child’s learning and development log, but can contribute to it
  • Have access to children’s personal details and records.

While adhering to the above list, we recognise that it is vital that the staff member awaiting an enhanced disclosure is made to feel part of the team and we support them in participating fully in every other aspect of the nursery day.

We recognise that the enhanced DBS disclosure is only one part of a suitability decision and nursery management will ensure every individual working with a child goes through a vigorous recruitment and induction procedure (as laid out in the safe recruitment policy). We will also ensure they receive continuous support, training and supervision from management in order to provide a safe, secure and healthy environment for all children in the nursery. We act on any information that comes to our attention that suggests someone may no longer be suitable for their role.

All students will also receive an interview to ensure they are suitable for the nursery and an induction process to ensure they fully understand and are able to implement the nursery procedures, working practices and values. All students will be fully supervised to ensure they receive the appropriate support, training and information they may require.