Just over 4,000 offenders applied for teachers’ jobs in 2011, including paedophiles, violent thugs and drug dealers, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has revealed.

In all, the offenders had 9,493 criminal convictions, including child sex offences, prostitution, gross indecency, arson and threatening to kill, the CRB said, claiming that so far it had prevented over 130,000 unsuitable people from working with children. Applicants had also committed over 550 drugs offences and caused death by reckless driving, while 130 offences had related to assaulting police officers and nearly 300 were assaults occasioning actual bodily harm. In 2009, a rapist had applied to become a teacher and one applicant had been found guilty of infanticide.

The CRB also revealed that hundreds of violent criminals as well as sex offenders had applied for jobs in children’s nurseries in 2011.

The CRB issued this statement: “Good recruitment practices, such as thorough reference checking, are a key responsibility for all employers, especially those working with children and vulnerable groups.

“Criminal records checks are just one of a range of tools to help employers make the right recruitment decisions. Not only is it an offence to knowingly employ a person barred by the Independent Safeguarding Authority, but it is also an offence for a barred person to work or even apply to work with the vulnerable group from which they have been barred.”