Language schools in Spain fail to vet staff for sexual misconductOver 90% of language academies in Spain do not carry out sex offenders background checks on staff members and teachers who work in a language academy and are in everyday contact with minors, reports the online platform for English academies, El Universo del Inglés. In December 2015, the official state government in Spain announced in the boletin oficial del estado that all employees in Spain who work regularly with minors need to have a negative sex offenders certificate. This legislation came into effect from 1st March 2016. The certificate is free to obtain, can be done online and indicates if an individual is registered on the registry for sex offenders in Spain. El Universo del Inglés, a new online platform for English academies to promote themselves and a resource for students of English, presently lists over 500 academies but reports that very few carry out criminal records or sex offenders background checks when hiring teachers. It also reports that even if a teacher from another country isn’t listed on the sex offenders register in Spain, they could still be in their home country and almost no English academies or language schools ask teachers for a criminal record or a sex offenders background certificate from their home country. Many language teachers in Spain are also hired on a freelance basis when they start teaching in the academy, so academies do not class them as employees, but this is no excuse for legal negligence when the safety of minors is put into jeopardy, reports El Universo del Inglés. Commenting on this matter, El Universo del Inglés gives the following advice to parents of language students: “All parents and those responsible for minors who enrol children at an English academy should ask the owner if all staff working on the premises have obtained el certificado de delitos de naturaleza sexual. If the owner of the academy can’t produce this, they should find another academy. Additionally, all foreign teachers should have obtained the same background check in their home countries and given it to their employer, as a negative certificate in Spain doesn’t mean they haven’t carried out criminal acts of a sexual nature in their home country”.
Rob Hamburg is a trained English teacher who has numerous years of experience teaching English to young learners, teenagers and adults in Spain. He completed his bachelor degree in 2010 at The University of Manchester and obtained CELTA certification in 2015. As well as an active teacher on Verbling, Rob has taught English online for Education First (EF) and gives classes via Skype and Google Hangouts.