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The Department for Education announced on Monday that it does not intend to continue the Quality Mark scheme beyond the end of the current contract on 31 March 2013. The scheme awards recruiters with a certification mark if they meet high standards when providing supply teachers to schools in the UK.
135 staffing firms currently hold the Quality Mark. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), which has widely managed the scheme since its inception in 2002, was disappointed about the decision to discontinue the programme as government budgets remain under pressure.
“This is the wrong course of action and a retrograde step and we will be making that argument to the Department very robustly,” said REC chief executive, Kevin Green.
“In light of recent headlines and the renewed focus on the vetting of all those working with children, it is vital safeguards are maintained. Recruiters who supply teachers and the schools they do business with value the Quality Mark as both a visible and government endorsed guarantee that adults entering their classrooms have been properly checked.”
He said it was short-sighted not to recognise that the programme provides a cost effective framework for enhancing safe recruitment while also cutting bureaucratic burdens.
The REC will now challenge the decision although chances of success appear slim. “We have to be realistic about the chances of Ministers having a change of heart so we have already begun to develop our own audit scheme specific to the education sector that will preserve and continue the safeguarding achievements of the Quality Mark scheme,” said Mr Green.