Frequently Asked Questions
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Whats with the name 10k Schools?
To make a meaningful change to the way an entire sector of the economy works, we need a critical mass of support for the changes we're driving. Our initial target is to enrol 10,000 schools into our global standard and assistive technology, and this is the critical mass of adoption that will make the movement towards global adoption of the new way of work permanent not just in international schools, but in domestic education markets globally where we are making inroads at national regulatory level to become the regulatory platform for education.
We already have over 1000 schools registered for September 2024, and this is growing daily as schools realise the nature of the revolution we’re bringing to this area of school life. Register your interest now to ensure you can get involved in time.
Why do 10k Schools say that “Safer Recruitment is Dead”?
Safer recruitment is a term we believe needs to be eradicated from the lexicon of Safeguarding. It implies that checks are done only at a point pre-employment, whereas the reality is in every other industry where employee risk of criminality is concerned (eg Financial Services), ongoing monitoring and continuous re-evaluation of credentials is a fundamental part of protecting the industry. We believe it’s indefensible to have this regulation to protect our financial system, but not to protect children in our education system. 10k Schools’ KYP or ‘Know Your People’ protocols shifts the mentality away from background checks and employee validations being a one off thing, and turns it into something that continually collects new data (adverse media searches), refreshes Safeguarding statements from previous referees, and renews criminal record checks. Only by automation of these tasks, can we make them scalable and manageable for schools and employees.
Are international schools compromised by the pressures of the hiring cycle?
Before 10k Schools came along, the answer, sadly is 'almost always' - and here's how:
- Time constraints: The urgency to hire teachers within a limited timeframe can lead to shortcuts in the recruitment process, such as inadequate background checks or rushed verification. This compromises the thoroughness and effectiveness of safer recruitment practices.
- Limited candidate pool: The demand for qualified international teachers may exceed the available supply, particularly in certain subject areas or regions. In such cases, there may be a temptation to overlook or play down what would otherwise be potential red flags in order to secure teachers quickly. This compromises the rigor of the recruitment process and increases the risk of hiring individuals who may not meet the necessary requirements.
- Credential verification challenges: Validating education certificates, experience credentials, and criminal record checks from different countries can be complex and time-consuming. International recruitment adds an extra layer of difficulty due to the variations in education systems and the authenticity of documents from different jurisdictions. These challenges can potentially result in gaps or delays in verifying the qualifications and backgrounds of candidates.
- Lack of consistent regulations and standards: Best practice can vary across different countries and education systems. The absence of consistent regulation and standards globally can make it challenging for international schools to navigate the complexities of conducting comprehensive background checks and implementing consistent practices across various jurisdictions.
Addressing this conflict requires a commitment from international schools to prioritize the safety of students and staff by implementing robust safer recruitment practices. 10k Schools addresses this need by removing the administration burden from the hiring process and creating a single global standard for Safer Recruitment which surpasses all that have gone before.
Why do current safer recruitment protocols fall short?
Fantastic work has been undertaken over many years by education focused think-tanks, regulators and accreditation bodies to develop Safer Recruitment protocols. However, the bar that has been set is fundamentally too low - this is because current legislation or guidance is fatally flawed by being based on what steps are pragmatic and realistic for a school to undertake in the hiring process. The current guidance is also silent on the need to conduct ongoing checks after hiring an individual.
When we remove human constraints from the way we think about safer recruitment, we begin to realise that the standards are woefully inadequate and in themselves introduce risk and even a sense of complacency. For example, International Task Force recommends collecting 6 years’ references – even though the reporting of sexual abuse towards a student is known to occur on average 8-18 years after the event. Surely this fact alone should highlight why the standards schools follow today are not fit for purpose.
We have turned things on their head by establishing the reality of what standards SHOULD look like in the digital era - in doing so and adopting automation we've removed the pragmatic constraints on a school administrator's time meaning there's now no excuse for missing information – or if information is missing and the individual is hired under an exception to policy, we ensure that the School Principal is aware and accountable for that decision.
Candidates or employees who have made the effort to achieve high levels of career provenance should be applauded and prioritised in hiring processes and be given direct access to the best employment opportunities. 10k Schools is making that happen!
How are 10k Schools changing attitudes?
We always knew the innate common sense of our approach, will eventually shine through people's fears about change. Engagement with key industry stakeholders has been remarkably positive, but with any change, the biggest challenge will always be to change the way people think about the problem we face:
- Creating more paper legislation isn't the answer, this just makes an already complicated process even more burdensome and even more likely for people to make mistakes.
- Paper legislation creates a secondary problem, rules in schools are traditionally enforced by sample-based inspection regimes. Sample based audits / inspections are needed where live practice needs to be observed, but are categorically not the correct approach to evaluating a school’s practice around its workforce documentation and verification. If a method exists which can provide ALWAYS live visibility of everything relating to safer recruitment in a school, group or even a whole country without human involvement, sample-based inspection methodology automatically becomes redundant as a regulatory tool.
- The reality is that 10k Schools delivers the highest possible Workforce Risk Management protection to schools via ultra-low cost technology to enforce the standards and helps schools to make better decisions - everyone wins.
How much does 10k Schools platform cost?
When we started out, it was a core to our mission that we wouldn't create a solution that excluded those without the financial means to afford the protection we provide. Creating a cost barrier drives unsuitable individuals to schools not protected by the 10k Schools Platform. Whilst we know that wealth disparity impacts life opportunities of children, we can't accept that resource scarcity of schools should make a difference to the very fundamental task of keeping children safe in schools.
Our reality, as a global standard, is that many tens or even hundreds of thousands of schools will join our cause which means that a widespread solution allows us to offer our platform at an extremely low margin. The other factor is that unlike traditional technology plays, our standard and process relies on standardisation - which means no expensive customisation options - schools can use our platform out of the box and be assured of the highest level of protection possible from day 1.
The setup complexity will vary from school to school depending on system integration requirements, but globally, the average price to become a 10k School is intended to be in the region of 50% of the tuition fee of a year 6 student.
How does 10k Schools help improve academic outcomes?
Manual processing of safer recruitment protocols creates a far more widespread problem beyond safeguarding. It enables any teacher to exploit the same gaps in the system, for example one trying to conceal a sub-par performance record. One obvious and very common example of this which happens in so many hiring processes, are excuses why a prospective employee doesn't want to provide their current Principal contact details as a referee.
In some cases, their current Principal may be a horrific boss, but equally how do we know for sure that the educator isn't just trying to cover their tracks either on a safeguarding or performance issue. School leaders far too frequently make exceptions to processes without truly understanding the implications.
Let's look at the potential end game - would you be prepared to stand in front of a law enforcement, a public enquiry or your Governing Board to explain why you took someone at their word in choosing not to obtain a reference. This is just a risk we should never ever be coerced into by a candidate.
The reality is that following a consistent data gathering process actually should drive honest and open conversations with candidates at interview about WHY they perhaps didn't thrive with their previous employer. The reality is that the same conditions don't exist in your school and you believe they would be a good fit - but equally if the issue is concealed, it could be that some of the same conditions are true in your school and you owe it not just to your school but also to the candidate to identify that they really might not be the right fit for your school's situation, no matter how much the candidate may appear to be the saviour of your Physics IB department!
A consistent data gathering process and analysis also means that every candidate is judged on the facts of their application and strength of their career history. It creates an intrinsically fair process, it drives honesty and these two features by definition result in far better hiring outcomes.
Why is hiring administration so complex?
The challenges in managing and analyzing data sources and identifying potential risks in the hiring process for school employees can be summarized as follows:
- Complexity of data sources: The hiring process involves multiple types of documents such as CVs, photos, application forms, education certificates, experience certificates, criminal record checks, and references. Each of these documents has its own set of rules and requirements, requiring extensive human memory and training to understand and interpret them accurately.
- Document arrival times: The documents often arrive at different times during the hiring process, which adds to the complexity. Coordinating and organizing these documents can be challenging, especially when they are needed for timely decision-making.
- Unstructured data analysis: The data contained in these documents is often unstructured, making it difficult to extract relevant information and spot patterns. Identifying potential risks, such as undisclosed criminal records or misrepresentations, requires careful examination and attention to detail.
- Human capability limitations: Human cognition poses a significant challenge in this process. Factors such as differing training, experience, capability, concentration, and motivations can affect the ability to consistently identify patterns and potential risks. The reliance on individual diligence and subjective judgment introduces the risk of oversight or bias.
- Overestimation of human capabilities: There is a tendency to overestimate human capabilities in these tasks. While humans play a crucial role, relying solely on human judgment in analysis of unstructured data sets, and not being subject to conscious or unconscious biases, can and does lead to inconsistencies and errors.
Addressing these challenges requires leveraging technology and automation to improve the efficiency and accuracy of data management and analysis, enabling a more reliable and consistent evaluation process.
Aren't safer recruitment issues best resolved with better training?
Training is important, but we need to be realistic about the gaps that remain. Training is designed to improve capability and awareness, however training is no guarantee to bring everyone to the same standard, therefore it is only one risk mitigation factor, rather than a factor which by itself eliminates risks.
This is because training does not directly address innate traits which may make a person unsuitable to undertake the administration work. For example training cannot change the fundamental capability of an individual who lacks attention to detail, nor can training overcome a weak, flawed, or overly complex process. An additional factor is that current training focuses on delivering to current Safer Recruitment standards and best practices, but as we've already established current standards are way below where they should be because the standards themselves are compromised by being based on human's undertaking the work.
As such, whilst training is always to be part of the solution, there is a significant risk that training alone results in an unrealistic expectation that a school is on top of things.
Why has this problem not been solved before now?
We believe education policy-makers need to reflect deeply on why this issue still exists:
- Educators see safer recruitment as an education problem, which means that the only people generally in the room when solutions are discussed, are education people.
- In reality, safer recruitment is not an education problem, it's a process problem, which means you also need process and technology people in the room to devise a lasting solution.
- 10k Schools are the first to bring all 3 to the table, and is the first time this global problem has ever been looked at through the process lens, Much like you can't make fire without the 3 components of heat, fuel and oxygen, you can't solve the safer recruitment issue if you don't get the people with the right knowledge, in the right place at the right time. We've made that happen.