s7 – (VCA regulations)
Work history, licenses and certification
To undertake a comprehensive risk assessment as part of a safety check you need to obtain the following information;
- A chronological summary of the applicant’s work history for the preceding 5 years including the position they held in the organisation.
- Any professional organisations they are a member of if it is relevant to the role e.g. a school counsellor may belong to the NZ Association of Counsellors.
- Any licence relevant to the activity e.g. drivers or bus licence if driving is part of their role
- Any registration authority that has issued a registration or practising certificate e.g. teacher registration
- Any other information that the board or person with the delegated authority considers to be relevant in the assessment of the person, e.g. where possible qualifications should be verified. The Education Council will have checked the first qualification issued to a teacher as part of their checks e.g. an undergraduate degree but may not have a record of any subsequent qualifications e.g. Masters
You must interview any applicant who you may wish to employ or engage. NZSTA recommends that this is done face to face. During the interview you must consider;
- would the person pose a risk to children and if so, to what extent?
- what is their attitude to child safety?
You should include questions to find out about;
- the applicant and their qualifications
- their view on discipline and keeping children safe
- their attitudes and experiences when working with children
You will find a list of example interview questions on the MoE website .
NZSTA’s interview guide and matrix (link to document OR link to the Forms&Template page) is recommended.
This allows you to verify information the applicant has provided in the C.V. and interview as well as to find out if there is any information they haven’t told you that you need to know. Using NZSTA’s reference checking guide and matrix can assist.
The employer should check three work related references. One is the minimum required by the VCA, however it is strongly recommended to check three references before making a decision to appoint. Do not rush this. NZSTA advisers have been informed of instances where previous employers (the board chair or principal), were not contacted and this resulted in subsequent problems for the school.
- one of the referees should be their current employer (direct supervisor) or most recent direct supervisor (if not currently employed)
- written references shouldn’t be relied on and must be followed up by phone
- character references have limited value, work references are preferred
- preferably call a landline or work number as it is harder to verify who is on the end of a cell phone
- referees should be able to answer questions about the applicant’s suitability to work with children and their fit for the role based on the key knowledge, skills, attributes and how they demonstrated these in previous roles.
- Listen for any hesitations or pauses. If someone says that they aren’t able to provide information or comment on something, that could be a red flag.
If they are honest about an issue with a current employer, check the reference and see if that seems accurate with what the applicant had described.
Reference checks should remain confidential unless an agreement has been made with the referee to share information with the applicant. Prepare your questions ahead of time and use the same questions for each applicant. It is preferable that the same person conducts all the reference checks so there is consistency of information across all applicants.
Using the NZSTA application form fulfils many of the above requirements from the VCA and allows you to contact referees (who can attest to their suitability for the position) other than those specified. This will permit you to seek further information or clarification if any issues or concerns are raised. However, it is recommended to first let the applicant know if you will be contacting people not listed as referees. If they are reluctant to provide their current employer, ask them why. However, the current or most recent employer must always be checked before appointing.