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Dear Stephen... Appointment of Head Teacher

Discussion in 'Governors' started by ProfHarry, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. My school which is a 365 pupil Primary is appointing a new Head Teacher for Autumn 2012. Can I as a Teacher-Governor be a member of the Selection Panel? Furthermore, what role does the Teacher-Governor have in the appointment of a new Headteacher?
     
  2. YES.

     
  3. There is nothing in legislation to stop a Staff Governor (teacher or non-teacher) from being appointed to be on the panel. Whether it is a good idea is another matter. Clearly, a member of staff will bring to the panel a knowledge of the school and its history, and some understanding of the qualities sought in a headteacher. For this reason, it has sometimes been expressed that having a Staff Governor on the panel would be a good idea, "representing the views of those who will be working alongside the new headteacher", perhaps*, or bringing specialist experience.
    However, you would hope that other Governors would also have a good knowledge of the school, or would make it their business to gain this knowledge, and an understanding of the qualities being sought, so the Staff Governor's role in the recruitment process is not really one of educational adviser. In fact, the Staff Governor's role is the same as any other member of the panel - to conduct a recruitment process which is fair, well thought out, and which appoints the best candidate for your school. In the olden days, an LA adviser might support the recruitment process - not sure whether that still applies ....
    I think that many people would advise against having a Staff Governor on the panel, not least because if you appoint someone who turns out to be a duffer or a bully, you will feel horribly accountable to your colleagues, who will naturally share their disappointment with you on a regular basis ..... Ultimately, though, it is a choice for the whole GB who they put on their panel.
    * Representing the views of staff / pupils / parents - this information can be gathered when the person spec is being drawn up
     
  4. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    As Stephen states absolutely yes. I have been involved on panels and for me it is a must that staff are on the panel. However some local authorities incorrectly advise that you don't.
     
  5. Hi,
    I've followed the above link because our school appointed a new head this week and we are very concerned as a staff ,that the decision of only 3 members of the governing body on the panel has gone against the wishes of the majority of the governing body and the feedback of 100% of the staff.
    We have been told that anything which happened as a result of the candidates interacting with staff, parents and children were not to be considered in the due process of making a decision.
    We were informed that the candidate appointed ticked all the boxes and although our 100% feedabck which showed that nobody wanted this applicant, for very valid and well supported reasons, they were reassured that this was the right person for the job.
    The interviewing panel did not interacyt with the candidates on any level other than in an interview situation, however, the rest of the governing body spent some considerable time with them, the staff and the children and were not in favour of this appointment.
    Whilst we were waiting for the formal result, we were told by the now successful candidate that she had been offered the job, before the entire governing body had ratified the offer. The insuccessful candidates were also informed prior to this ratifying meeting.
    There is a majority feeling amongst staff and governores that despite being key stake holders our views have not been considered, despite the 100% vote against the successful candidate.
    So...my question are;
    • should the main governing body have had the right to overturn the decision of the panel of 3
    • Should the unsuccessful candidates have been told they were not being offered the job before it was offered to the successful one and
    • should she have been offered the job at all at that point, whether it was subject to ratification or not?
    I hope someone picks up this post and can help us out with the legalities of this process.
    Our staff governor who is an inexperienced TA has been told to tell us that any information about how the candidates interacted anywhere other than in the interview, was not part of the due process planned by the governors. At the ratification meeting they were also informed that they were not there to ratify theappointment but to ratify that the process had been duly followed, allowing the panel of 3 to appont the candidate of their choice.
    Many thanks


     
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Yes, but as the ratification meeting has taken place it's too late now for the GB to reject the proposed candidate. The statement that they weren't there to ratify the appointment is nonsense, what else were they there for! The full GB couldn't ratify just the process as they weren't there to observe the panel's processes. The full GB could have declined to appoint the recommended candidate and then the process would have had to start all over again (readvertisement etc). The full GB couldn't have decided to appoint one of the other candidates instead.
    That's not what your post says, you say unsuccessful candidate was told before appointment was ratified. That's usual practice. Successful candidate needs to be offered the job before the full GB ratification meeting to make sure they still want it - the candidate may have decided since leaving the interview that don't want the job!
    Not sure I understand the question. Are you asking if the panel's recommendation should have been ratified by full GB before candidate was offered the job? That wouldn't be usual. Candidate is usally phoned up and offered the job (and told the proposed salary) and told offer is subject to confirmation by full GB. It needs to be done that way because you can't take it to full GB for ratification unless the candidate has accepted the offer.

    The law for all this is in The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 para 15.
    It isn't up to the staff to decide who is appointed as head, nor for you to "vote" against it as you imply. It clearly isn't true that governors voted 100% against the appointment as they've ratified the recommendation of their own selection panel. Governors often appoint the candidate that isn't the one staff wanted, that doesn't mean governors are wrong and staff right. You haven't seen either their applications forms (I hope) or their interview performance or their references or any of the other selection procedures so I don't know how you can be so sure that they've appointed the wrong candidate.
     
  7. Thanks for that information, much clarification. We weren't expecting to vote, but we are a very small school indeed and out of all our candidates the staff 100% fedback to governors that there was definitely one candidate who did not interact positively with the very small staff, who insulted us and our school on several occasions and we do know that the majority of the governing body were not in favour of this appointment but were told they could not overturn the decision.
     
  8. .....so perhaps due to emotions running high amongst the entire staff, I didn't make myself clear. we know that the governing body were told that they were not there to r<u>atify the appointment</u> but to <u>ratify that the due process </u>had been followed. Therefore there was not a vote about the appointment but about whether or not the process ahd been followed. We have some very angry governors who were not given the chance to vote against the panel's decisions.
     
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Who told the governors that? I find it hard to sympathise with the angry governors. They're responsible for the decisions they take and for understanding the law so why did they decide to do something that made them angry? Why didn't they read the statutory staffing guidance then they'd have known their responsibilities.
     
  10. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    The six million dollar question ...
     
  11. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    Hmmmm
     
  12. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    Did you not have anyone from the LA to advise you on the suitability of candidates?
     
  13. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Ap1952 I would agree with HBF, surely you had an LA adviser with the panel of 3. Sometimes these LA advisers have inside information on candidates and advise panels to steer clear of certain candidates whom panels may be favouring even though the ultimate decision is the GB's panel. It is not helpful to go against the LA. A panel of 3 is the smallest you could have, why did you not have more? It seems to me that at your initial HT recruitment panel meetings you clearly did not sort the rules of 'engagement out and now many of you feel dissatisfied.

    However unhappy you are the decision has been made and RW is correct you all had ample opportunity at the ratification meeting to turn this one over and start again. Too many governors not only do not know the regulations and legislation they frankly never bother to find them out. However, as a caveat to that point you should have had a clerk at the ratification meeting to advise you of options. Lastly I do find it very strange that a panel of three would make such a decision in the face of the apparent stakeholder opposition and perhaps should have gone to a second round.
     
  14. Second round was what we were hoping for...the governors were bullied basically by a team of 3 and at least 4 of them had put themselves foreward for the panel, but were not included...surely this kind of nepotism is not new to you...I'm not a governor.
    Enough now really...the school will never be the quiet, friendly and outstanding school again in the near future, basically the school will probably go the way of a very near local school, where 50% of staff left through illness or stress or went on long term sick leave, because the same situation occurred. 100% of staff did not weant the candidate chosen by the governors.
    Finally a vote of no confidence was taken and the governing body resigned. The head was removed after a failed ofsted inspection...

    We're all exhausted with it now and all looking for a way out. WE SPENT 2 DAYS WITH THIS UNPLEASANT WOMAN, WHO WAS APPALING WHEN INTERACTIONG WITH STAFF AND CHILDREN, but was obviously very good at interviews.
     
  15. ......as good as...a fish and chip van seller, a painter and decorator's wife and a parent.Not quite off the street, but certainly not in education and yes....there was an LEA advisor present...the same person who insisted on the appointment at the local school mentioned above !

    Sorry, appalling (sp)
     
  16. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    This post has certainly got some edge to it. The correct procedure for the selection of a head teacher panel is for the whole governing body to meet without the current head who is leaving. What many chairs forget is that all governors have equal parity and an equal voice. Too many governors do not challenge the premise of the autocratic chair. A good chair will never operate in this way. It is for the whole governing body to decide upon the composition of the head teacher recruitment panel. That means that you will all meet and you will have a blank sheet of paper for all of you to devise and decide the members. In chatting with a head last week he was actually interviewed by the whole of that school's governing body, daunting but perhaps the most democratic governance solution.
     
  17. It's academic now, but the correct procedure is in School Staffing Reg Section 2 para 15. The selection panel take their recommendation to the full GB for ratification. It follows that the offer should only be made after this meeting has approved the panel's choice. It also follows that the unsuccessful candidates should not be spoken to until the successful candidate has accepted. It is unlikely, but possible that if the first choice declines there may be an acceptable second choice. I know of a case where this did happen.
    The views of staff however strong are hardly relevant as the duty of making the selection belongs to the governors, unless they have made provision for taking such views into account during the selection process. I have seen this done where all staff were given an opportunity to make written comments about candidiates and give them a score out of 10. There were then fed back to the whole governing body at the ratification meeting.
     
  18. Thank you Tom Clancy for those words.You have understood our misery. We all know all the rules and regs, but to no avail.
    We all thought we were part of the 2 day process as we were invited to a presentation by the candidates and asked to give written feedback.
    Our deputy also had 20 minutes with each candidate to ask her set of questions ( with a governor present).
    The school council had been coached into how to interview a head teacer and came up with their own set of questions.
    There was a strict timetable for the candidates to visit each classroom and once again we were asked to feedback. So we genuinely believed all this feedback would count for somethng.
    I know that our shock value came from the strength of opinion that the candidate everybody (100%) said 'no' to, was subsequently appointed.
    Thanks for your kind words.
     
  19. ..also thank you Montiagh
     

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