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CAN DIOCESE APPOINT HEAD TEACHER WITHOUT GOVERNOR APPROVAL?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by Lizzo, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    In a VA Catholic school can the diocese appoint a head teacher (or interim head teacher) without the approval of the governing body? As the employers I understand it is the role of the governing body to appoint all staff; if the diocese make this appointment are they acting illegally? Do they have the authority to issue a contract or to ask the borough to do so? If my thinking is correct on this, how do I go about challenging what they have done?
     
  2. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Taken from a guide to recruiting a new HT

    • — Diocesan and other religious bodies have no automatic right to offer advice to schools with a religious character (with the exception of Roman Catholic schools set up by a religious order where there is not only a right to advise, but also to propose candidates for nomination). It is considered good practice for schools with a religious character to provide advisory rights to the relevant diocese or religious body.

      Only the Governing Body, by law can appoint a HT
     
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    @Lizzo for a LA maintained Voluntary Aided [VA] school the power to appoint the headteacher can only be exercised by the governing body. The process is set out in Part 3 of the The School Staffing Regulations. The Diocese doesn't even have the right in law to be consulted or give advice although the DFE statutory guidance recommends [page 11] that governing bodies of Faith schools should agree to give the Diocese an advisory role in RC and CofE schools and in practice they always do. The final decision is the governing body's though (although the Diocese can get its way indirectly as it appoints, and can remove, the majority of the governors).

    The exception about headteachers of schools of RC Religious Orders that @Jesmond12 mentions is in paragraph 34 of the School Staffing Regulations 2009 but is so obscure and rarely come across I'd be surprised if that's your situation.

    There are circumstances where the School Staffing Regulations wouldn't apply, for example if your school is in an Ofsted category and financial management has broken down to the extent that the LA has removed the school's delegated budget powers. But even then it would be the LA that took over the power to appoint the head, not the Diocese. I can't think of any circumstances where the Diocese could acquire the legal power to appoint the head of a VA school.

    What's your role in relation to this? How you can challenge rather depends on who you are!
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    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
    Jesmond12 likes this.
  4. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    Thanks for your replies and valuable information. I am Chair of Governors. I have written to the diocese stating that what they have done is not legal and asking them to withdraw the offers they have made. They have appointed interim HTs (shared 3days/2days) for September, ignoring the candidate that the GB were in the process of appointing. They are determined to push federation and have offered the post of executive HT to the current junior school HT. We are an infant and junior school on the same site. Not only was the post not advertised but the leadership structure of the federated schools has not been determined because the GBs have not federated - we withdrew from the process preferring to stay as a single school with a HT.
     
  5. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    They are completely out of order here and are acting illegally. You need to contact your LA and advise them of the situation.
     
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    And if it helps @Lizzo para 25 of the Federations Regulations confirms that The School Staffing Regulations also apply to appointing staff in federations. So appointing the head of a Federation is also the legal responsibility of the Federation governing body, [It says "subject to the modifications in Schedule 7" but nothing in Schedule 7 makes any changes of substance].

    Anyway it sounds as if the GBs of the two schools haven't agreed to federate so there's no Federation to appoint an Executive HT to!

    Be interested hear how it goes.

    Do bear in mind that if both schools are VA Faith schools the diocese ultimately has the power to remove the foundation governors who don't support the proposal to federate and replace them with new governors who will. Anecdotally I've heard of this happening.
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  7. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    Thanks again for your responses and information. The GB's couldn't even agree on the documents to be sent out to stakeholders, which is why we withdrew from the federation process.
    If the diocese can do that, it makes a nonsense of having a governing body at all.
     
  8. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    Things are not improving! I have a meeting next week with the diocese. Do you think the NGA would be able to provide me with guidance/advice? I'm not currently a member but if I join now would I have immediate access to their legal support?
     
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    According to the NGA membership page their advice line [Goldline] isn't available to individual members only to GBs buying Gold membership. I can tell you from recent experience that when you submit your application for Gold GB membership it takes a couple of weeks to go through.
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  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    My advice @Lizzo : Don't go to the meeting on your own, have another governor with you, to take notes if nothing else. And if they ask you to agree anything on the spot remind them that you have no authority to do that and will need to discuss it with your GB. Don't let them bounce you into agreeing anything there and then. Nothing is ever really so urgent that there isn't time for you to discuss it with your GB.
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  11. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    There has been a lot happening! We have made some progress but your prediction Rott Weiler came to pass, so my next question is - Does the governing body have to be unanimous to appoint a co opted governor or can it go on majority? Does the vice chair, in the absence of the chair, have a casting vote?
    Would really appreciate your advice.
     
  12. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    I have just been told by the LA that a governor who has been removed cannot be reinstated even as a different type of governor - is that true?
     
  13. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    Interesting times @Lizzo !

    Co-opted governors do not need to be unanimously appointed. Like all GB decisons it's by a majority of the governors present and voting (para 14 (3) of the Procedures Regulations)

    In the Chair's absence whoever is chairing the meeting has a casting vote, so if that was the Vice Chair then yes they have a casting vote (para 14 (4) of the Procedures Regulations)

    I missed the bit of the story about governors being removed! The Diocese removed Foundation Governors? Ask the LA to justify their statement by citing the specific legislation that says that. I've never heard of it. I suspect they have mis-remembered or misunderstood paragraph 9 (3) of Schedule 4 of the Constitution Regulations. That says that a governor who has been disqualified for non-attendance at meetings cannot be re-appointed in another category. But that doesn't apply to a Foundation Governor removed by a Foundation. They have been removed, not disqualified.
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  14. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    Thanks Rott Weiler, they were just the answers I was hoping for. The diocese have removed me. They haven't been specific just said it was based on 'recent correspondence' - I've written to ask for further clarification. They are miffed because the GB has stood up to them (my name on all the correspondence) and appointed our own interim HT for September not the one they appointed without even consulting us! We also voted to reject federation so my guess is they plan to push it forward again in the new term without me there to scupper their plans. Hence the questions about becoming co-opted. Your advice has been really helpful, thanks again.
     
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  15. Lizzo

    Lizzo New commenter

    We've just hit another brick wall! Our instrument of government doesn't include co opted governors!
    The vice chair, who is now acting chair received this from the LA:

    Please also be advised that any decision to appoint governors (if a Co-opted position was in place) would require full Governing Board approval and cannot be done over email. With the exception of staff, parent and LA governors all other governor positions have to be in consultation with the Diocese since yours is a Voluntary Aided School.

    What would we need to do the change the instrument? Can changes be made by majority?
    If what they're telling us is true, the diocese would stop any changes any way and they certainly wouldn't agree to me being reinstated.

    There doesn't seem to be any way round this. Any ideas? Please.
     
  16. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    I'm afraid you have run out of options @Lizzo

    There is no requirement for a governing body to have co-opted governors. When you made your Instrument of Government you had the power to include co-opted governors, but if you did not do so then the only way to have co-opted governors now would be to amend your Instrument of Government. Although that isn't necessarily a long or complicated process, and could be decided by a simple majority of governors, it would have to be approved by the Diocese, who in your circumstances I imagine will not give that approval.

    I don't agree with the advice of the LA that the governing body must consult with the Diocese on the appointment of co-opted governors (neither Regulations nor DfE Statutory Guidance say anything of the sort) but the point is academic as you don't have any co-opted positions.

    The Diocese has to approve whether VA schools can have co-opted governors, but not the individuals the governing body chooses to co-opt.

    BTW, when LA say "full Governing Board approval and cannot be done over email" they are correct, GB decisions cannot be made by email. By "full Governing Board" I don't think they mean the decision has to be unanimous, only that the decision must be made at a governing body meeting. That point is also academic of course.

    The only other possibility is that the governing body appoint you as an Associate Member. AMs are appointed to a Committee but have the right to attend full governing body meetings. They are not governors though and don't have a vote at full governing body meetings, although having a right to attend presumably also means a right to speak. Appointment of AMs is by simple majority of governors present and voting and it does not need the approval of the Diocese to create AM positions (because, as AMs aren't governors, they aren't included in the Instrument of Government).
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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
  17. Urbanfaerie

    Urbanfaerie Occasional commenter

    Could she go to the press?
     
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    Anyone can go the Press but the Diocese haven't done anything wrong, legally, so you'd have to find another angle to get the local paper interested.
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