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Policies & Procedures

Recruitment & Selection

Policy Statement

The objective of this document is to ensure the effective recruitment, selection and retention of the right staff required to achieve the nursery schools objectives.  The nursery school is committed to recruiting a diverse work force, which reflects the society in which we operate.  This will be achieved through fair and systematic recruitment procedures, which ensure that appropriate selection decisions are made to meet the legal, business and best practice requirements in this area in line with the ‘Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education.’ (January 2007)

‘This nursery school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young children and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment’

This statement should be included in the following paper work:

Publicity materials
Recruitment web sites
Candidate information packs
Personal specifications
Job descriptions
Competency frameworks
Induction training

Job Descriptions and Person Specifications

Before a post can be filled, an up-to-date job description must exist.  A clear, precise job description makes it mush easier to work out what skills, experience, knowledge, qualifications and personal attributes are required for a job.  Current information on the nature and duties of the job should have been obtained from the previous post-holder as part of the exit interview process.

The manager responsible for the vacant post should obtain the job description and update it so that it reflects the current demands of the job.  If there is no existing job description, one must be written by the manager.

Writing and Preparing Job Descriptions

The outline of a job description must include the following headings:

the job title;
the service/department in which the job is located;
the job title(s) to whom the post-holder reports (dual accountability)
the job title(s) who report to the post holder
the main purpose(s) of the job; and
the specific responsibilities to include the degree of responsibility for safeguarding children according to the nature of the post

When writing and preparing a job description, the following points should be observed.  The job description should:

be written in plain language;
give full details of the job;
carefully describe the duties and responsibilities of the post;
refer to the work environment where the duties of the job would take place;

The job description should not include references to the competencies and attributes which the post-holder is expected to have to execute the duties of the post.  Such information should be contained in the person specification.

It should not be an exhaustive list of all the individual tasks or duties, which the post holder would be expected to carry out.  This can be covered in the induction process.

Include the following statement – at the end of each job description:  ‘This job description is not an exhaustive list of duties and the post holder will be required to undertake any other reasonable duties discussed and directed by the manager’

Person Specification

The person specification is used at both the short-listing and interviewing stages of the recruitment process and a properly prepared specification is the key to avoiding biased and poor selection practices.  A person specification should be written for all posts.

The existing person specification should be reviewed and rewritten to take into account any changes which have taken place since the document was produced.  If there is no existing person specification, one must be written by the manager.

The person specification should also state whether the post is or not exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) and therefore a criminal records check and if so the level of the check required.

Devising a Person Specification

In devising a person specification, you should:

analyse the job description to identify the key duties and responsibilities of the job;
convert each group of job duties in to the appropriate skills, experience, knowledge or abilities needed to carry out the job;
include a wide range of experiences and allow for cultural differences; and
emphasise the experience/skills required rather than the qualifications required, especially where a formal qualification is not essential for the performance of the job;

What should not be included in a person specification;

The person specification must not specify:


Unless age is a requirement for fulfilling a task in the job description and the reason is clearly                             identified in the person specification and can be objectively justified or

An age restriction has been imposed by an external statutory body.


Unless a genuine occupational qualification can be proved under the relevant section of the Sex or Race Discrimination Acts.  Prior permission from the Personnel Department is essential in these cases.

Specifications must not contain factors which could constitute indirect discrimination, e.g. requirement for an English A Level.

Rates of Pay and Allowances

Pay scales should be in place prior to advertising.


The advert should be based on the job description and person specification and contain:

the job title;
statement of employers commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children;

salary scale (pro-rata if applicable)
hours (if less than full time);
a brief summary of the main duties;
a brief summary of the essential applicant criteria;
the closing date (at lease two weeks after the date of publication);
if possible, the interview date – indication of when the interview will take place (at least 1.5 weeks after the closing date);
the contact information for further details of the position and an application form; and
the job reference number (if applicable).

Applicant’s Information Pack

Where budgetary considerations allow, an information pack should be sent to prospective candidates.  Normally the pack will consist of:

a covering letter;
job description;
application form, and explanatory notes about completing the form;
equal opportunities monitoring form;
statement of employers commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children including the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy;
explanation that the post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore all convictions, cautions and bind-overs, including those regarded as ‘spent’, must be declared;
information about the setting
any other appropriate information the manager would like included.

Equal Opportunities

Buttercup’s is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all applicants in accordance with all relevant legislation in:

Disabled Persons Act 1995
Race Relations Act 1976
Sex Discriminations Act 1976
Equal Pay Act 1970

and any subsequent amendments thereto.


The nursery school will appoint the best person for each job and will treat fairly all applicants for jobs and all those who have been appointed.

Commitment to implementing the nursery school’s Equal Opportunities Policy will form part of the job description for all workers.

Scrutinising and Short Listing Candidates

A timetable for short-listing and interviewing will be decided, allowing at least one week for candidates to be notified of their interview.

When the post application period closes, the managers will require a short-listing pack, which contain:

the application forms (the personal details section and equal opportunities forms will be omitted)

the job description/person specification.

On a short-listing form, the essential criteria should be written into the boxes along the top of the sheet, and the candidates’ reference numbers down the left-hand side.  Each application form should then be scrutinised to assess whether the candidate meets the criteria (see below) by each manager independently.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted and will be returned for completion.  Any anomalies or discrepancies or gaps in employment will be noted and used when short-listing candidates.

The managers can use the following:
The candidate meets the criteria
       X    The candidate does not meet the criteria
       ?     The candidate has not provided enough evidence either way

Where there is a need for more rigorous scoring, for example, if there is an inordinately high number of suitable candidates, then the desirable criteria should be used to shortlist.  If further reduction in the short-listing is necessary, a more sophisticated system of scoring should be used allocating a score between 1 and 5 (where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent).

Those candidates short-listed for interview should be listed on a short-listing form.

The managers should issue the short-listing packs and once completed they should be returned for letters to be issued to candidates.


When drawing up the short-list, the managers should:

agree their understanding of the key criteria in each person specification;
measure the attributes of each candidate methodically against each requirement in the person specification (but not against other candidates);
judge applicants only against the person specification used in the advertising process:  this means that no part of the original person specification should be changed at a later stage;
record reasons for rejecting an applicant in writing on the short-listing form;
ensure that all original material used in creating a shortlist is filed with the recruitment records; and
ensure that the managers have declared any personal or social relationships or contacts they may have with any of the candidates.

The managers must not:

introduce any new standards, qualifications or experience in the person specification;
casually sift through the application forms to get an impression of suitable candidates;
take into account the standard of handwriting in the application form as a means of determining the candidate’s level of skills or abilities, unless handwriting is a key criterion, and
exclude a candidate from the short-list on the grounds of his or her age, sex, sexuality, marital status, physical or mental abilities, disability or illness, religious or cultural background, political or trade union activities, ethnic background and social background.

The short-listed candidates should be notified of their interview date by telephone where possible.  Additionally, all short-listed applicants will be sent:

invitation to attend an interview letter; this must include a sentence regarding special needs requirements to ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (appendix 9);
directions to get to the venue;
evidence required to complete a CRB Disclosure (which will be required to be completed straight away) i.e  current driving licence, passport including a photograph, a full birth certificate, marriage certificate (if married) plus a document such as a utility bill or financial statement that shows the candidate’s current name and address, National Insurance Number;
original documents to support educational and professional qualifications, a copy of which will be kept in their personnel file;
any other information which will assist candidates in orienting themselves to the post applied for; and
details of any tests and/or presentations candidates may be required to take/prepare.

The manager will not contact candidates by telephone and issue the invitation to interview letter.  Non short-listed applicants should also be contacted by letter.  However, if resources do not permit, then the covering letter in the application pack should contain advice that if not contacted within a certain timeframe then applicants should assume they have not been successful.

Asylum & Immigration Act 1996 – Prevention of illegal working

It is a criminal offence to employ a person who is not entitled to live or work in the United Kingdom.  The maximum penalty for doing so is £5,000 for each employee found not to have the entitlement.

Candidates need to b ring with them to the interview, evidence to prove they have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom.

Copies of any documents seen should be taken by the manager at the interview stage and copied.  All candidates will be asked for evidence, regardless of ethnic origin.  If there is any doubt whether a document is genuine and relates to the person, then contact ACAS or Law-call for further advice.

References Prior to Interview

If the managers so wish, references can be taken up at this time, but candidates must be asked permission before doing so.  There is a section on the application form asking candidates if references may be taken prior to interview.  This must be adhered to.

Where the applicant is currently working with children, either paid or voluntary, his or her current employer will be asked about disciplinary offences relating to children, including any for which the penalty time has expired and whether the applicant has been the subject of and child protection concerns.

Job Offer

The successful applicant must be advised in writing of the offer of employment.  The following enclosures will be sent with the offer letter:

the information about the company’s pension scheme;
the equal opportunities policy statement;
the safeguarding and child protection policy;
the confidentiality policy;
the code of conduct;
the health and safety policy;
the discipline and grievances procedure;
the job description; and
the salary / grade scale (if applicable)
terms and conditions (if appropriate)
mobile phone policy (if appropriate)
dress code (if appropriate).

An offer of appointment to the successful candidate should be conditional upon:

two satisfactory references;
verification of identity (if not established at interview);
an enhanced satisfactory CRB;
completion of a satisfactory health declaration;
verification of qualifications (if not established at interview);
satisfactory completion of the probationary period;

Post Appointment: Induction

Training and information about establishment’s policies and procedures, including policies and procedures in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children e.g. child protection, anti-bullying, anti racism, physical intervention or restraint, intimate care and local child protection and safeguarding procedure.

Support candidate in appropriate way.

Confirm safe practice and the standard of conduct expected within the establishment.

Opportunity to discuss concerns;

Address any issues that arise immediately.

The induction process should also provide and support training to an appropriate level for the person’s role.


The manager should ensure that they have completed the appropriate forms to ensure that the new starter is paid and have followed any internal payroll procedures.


A standard letter requesting two references should be sent with a copy of the job description and person specification.

All references received will be approved by the managers.  
All employees will need two satisfactory references.  

New starters should not commence employment without at least one satisfactory reference from the previous employer.

If references for the successful candidate have not arrived at the time of selection, then the letter of appointment must say that the offer is subject to satisfactory references.

This procedure should be read in conjunction with the following Policies:

Induction Policy;
Contracts of Employment;
Enhanced Criminal Disclosure Checks (CRB);
Safeguarding and Child     Protection Policy;
Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment Policy;


Monitoring of both the recruitment and induction process will allow practice to be better informed.  Monitoring will cover:

staff turnover and reasons for leaving;
exit interviews;
attendance of new recruits at child protection training

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