The Criminal Records Bureau has informed schools that sex offenders, drug dealers and violent offenders were among 4,000 criminals who tried to get teaching jobs last year.
The bureau said many of the 4,098 applicants would have been automatically barred.
It revealed that more that 50 of the offenders were sex criminals, four of whom had carried out indecent assaults on children. Eight of the convictions were for gross indecency, whilst 12 were for indecent exposure, with 19 involving prostitution.
There were 830 violent offences, and 550 drug convictions, of which 14 were for supplying class A drugs like heroin and cocaine. The Bureau's list also included 11 arson offences and two threats to kill.
More than 263,000 people applied to become teachers last year and underwent Criminal Records Bureau checks. Of that number, just over 1.5% were turned down because of their past behaviour.
The Association of School and College Leaders said it was "extremely encouraging" that the CRB was so vigilant.
The bureau said that its checks helped to stop at least 130,000 unsuitable people from working or volunteering with children or vulnerable people.
The figures were released to the Press Association after a request to the Criminal Records Bureau.
Scary figures! But do you think CRB checks go far enough?