All businesses in Spain that employ staff who work with minors must adhere to legislation issued in March 2016, which obliges all staff working with children to obtain certification to say that they are not on the sex offenders' register. El Universo del ingles, an online platform for academies to advertise on, estimates that over 90% of English academies in Spain have not adhered to this new legislation.
In December 2015, the government of Spain announced in their state official newsletter that all employees in Spain who work regularly with minors need to have a negative sex offenders' certificate. This legislation came into effect on 1st March 2016. The certificate is free to obtain, can be done online and indicates if an individual is registered on the register 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 into an English academy should ask the owner if all staff working on the premises have obtained the certificate for crimes of a sexual nature. 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, as a negative certificate in Spain doesn’t mean they haven’t carried out criminal acts of a sexual nature in their home country.”