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Sacking a HT

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by cornflake, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Assuming there are no safeguarding concerns, disciplinary issues, on what grounds could a Headteacher be forced to leave their post? (LA School).
     
  2. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Oh no Cornflake, this can't be happening!

    The grounds could be anything and all based on lies! If the relationships have irretrievably broken down, there is no going back they will say 'capability'.

    I have sent you a PM.

    Take care.
     
  3. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    not happening yet - just trying to be prepared!
     
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'm very sorry if this is means you... :(

    The answer essentially is for all the same reasons that you as head could sack a staff member for. Although it's typically harder for governors to "prove it".

    If it's not safeguarding or disciplinary or redundancy (eg schools being merged/federated) or sickness-absence-and-unlikely-to-return it's likely to be capability or that catch all SOSR - "some other substantial reason", usually that involves an irretrievable breakdown in relationships with your employer, the governing body.

    Consult your union asap. Both capability and SOSR are complex when applied to headteachers. Which is probably why heads are rarely dismissed by GBs for those reasons. There's usually a Settlement Agreement.

    One advantage of being an LA school is that there is still a role for the LA. Ultimately the governors decide but they have a statutory duty to take into account advice given to them the LA DCS. And before it gets to that formal stage the LA can be influential in heading off ill considered actions by governors. Or if not facilitate a Settlement Agreement.

    That's what's happened in my LA anyway.

    Is your LA aware and if so are they broadly supportive of you?
     
  5. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    I know this sounds obvious but read your school's capability policy (Or equivalent) and staff handbook. Also look at the teacher standards and the Headteacher standards.
    Get your job description from your file and have a look at that because it can't just be "we don't want you anymore".

    I hope you're ok.
     
  6. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    All advice - obvious or not - is warmly welcomed.
    Up until the most recent HMI visit, the LA were explicitly supportive and I have evidence of that.
    Since then there has been a change in tone (i.e. they are trying to cover their own backs) and a complete change in governance. New Chair has told me my job is on the line...
     
  7. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Have you had a successful appraisal this term? They shouldn’t suddenly change their tune if they have said you have achieved your performance management. Does the chair know what they are talking about? Should that comment be challenged in the New Year?
     
  8. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Successful as in no issues around capability were highlighted.
    I didn't met all of my targets but the written review notes that much of the reasons for that were due to factors beyond my control...
     
  9. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Governors - including the Chairman/woman - do not necessarily have a clue about schools and education. Some do, some don’t. If you feel that the new Chair of governors lacks your respect and their opinions are invalid, I guess you will endeavour to fight your corner. If you feel that doing your job effectively will be impossible without the support and goodwill of the Chair, the governors and the LA, you will look for the best exit strategy and move to a school which does want you and value you.
     
  10. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    I once had to remove a HT for what would have been gross misconduct, in order to do it as quickly as possible we were advised to go down the whistle blowing route. She resigned once the investigator had been appointed.

    However, this is obviously not the case with you and I would definitely think about making discreet inquiries to ensure this was not the case for you.

    I hope that you will be upfront when looking for a new role, and explain that you were not getting the support you needed to turn your school around as you believe it is a team effort, and you have concluded that there is somewhere else where your abilities could make a difference.

    As a Chair I would view that very sympathetically... it is not just teachers who know when things are up with LAs and Academy chains, believe me.
     
    cornflake, JohnJCazorla and nomad like this.
  11. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Thanks everyone.
    I am starting to apply for other posts, as I feel that the current governing body want to pursue a path I am ethically uncomfortable with and opposed to (they think all that matters is results, that it is possible for every year to be better than the year before etc etc, regardless of individual circumstances or the small steps some of our most vulnerable children take...).
    Thanks for the suggestion about how to phrase things Lattelady... it is hard, when there is a horrible HMI letter, to know how to play it... even though there are also a significant number of other reports from OFTSED/HMI that are very complementary about my leadership, even if the school hasn't quite "got there"... It is heartening to know that not all would view this as a negative.
    I feel very guilty about looking, as I have such an amazing team to work for, and the children are fabulous. Even parents, which have been tricky at times, are now so supportive. I don't want to abandon them - they don't deserve what is coming - but I can't protect them anymore. I don't have enough energy for them and me...the "fight" with governors/LA is taking it out of me - and they deserve better than that.
     
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  12. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I would make sure that the compliments are quoted in any covering letter that you write.
     
    JohnJCazorla and digoryvenn like this.
  13. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Cornflake, it sounds as though the best thing for you is to start seeking another post despite how you feel. The system is pushing good people like this and sometimes using your experience ‘to seek a fresh challenge’ is the only sensible course of action. Good luck with your search.
     
    digoryvenn likes this.
  14. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I am so sorry to hear this Cornflake.
    There is no real support anymore and headteacher should not be forced to 'seek new challenges'!
    Although Sundaytrekker, I think your wording is very good and I shall use it!
     
    Marshall likes this.
  15. FerrisB

    FerrisB New commenter

    Sorry to hear this . In our authority there is no one who has had the experience of being a head teacher ! All heads are 1 phone call away from a major stress situation. Last year I nearly took the 'long walk ' for my sanity , this year everything looks better. Remember a job is for xmas not for life . Take care :)
     
    Marshall likes this.
  16. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    no experienced HTs??? Mad! I have benefited so much from having other HTs I can just call and say.. I know this might be a stupid question, but....
    Thanks FerrisB. I'm on a real rollercoaster right now and really don't know which way to turn sometimes. I'm hoping that things will become clearer in the next few months (before April resignation deadline!!)
     
  17. Brokentree

    Brokentree New commenter

    If a chair of governors is telling you that your job is on the line this is potential for you to raise concerns with your union about constructive dismissal. If your performance management is mostly fine but with areas of development then they need to be supporting you to address these areas within an agreed timeframe. Neither Ofsted nor HMI will tell you your job is at risk but they do put inexperienced govs into the position of believing this. Unions don't generally want to push it but you could take independent legal advice from a lawyer who is experienced in employment law. If the governors ever want to hold a meeting to discuss your position make sure you ask for a copy of the minutes. By holding the meeting they are potentially in breach of law and you will have a case for constructive dismissal. It's a complex area but do not be tempted to put any of your frustration in writing to anyone... LA... Govs... other staff as this can be drawn in and used in any legal dispute or dismissal process. Do on the other hand encourage others to put their thoughts in writing for the same reason!!
    I'm sorry you are being put in this position and it's happening a lot I find. Make sure you don't sit back and wait for it to go away. Be proactive in seeking professional support. Check your pension situation too remember as your pension will be determined on best three years salary from previous ten years. Hang on in there and be crafty. Don't go easy if you do go unless you have already secured a headship elsewhere then go with an enigmatic smile on your face! Good luck.
     
    digoryvenn likes this.
  18. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    sorry for bumping this - especially after so long... but I have cause for concern again.

    "If the governors ever want to hold a meeting to discuss your position make sure you ask for a copy of the minutes. By holding the meeting they are potentially in breach of law and you will have a case for constructive dismissal."

    What if it isn't governors holding the meeting, but two other parties - one of which is the LA?
     
  19. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Sorry to hear things haven't got better. Who is the quote from? I don't believe it is an accurate statement of the law. Why would an employer not be entitled to discuss internally an employee's position? If just to discuss it could be constructive dismissal no employer would ever be able to dismiss anybody! You would not be entitled a copy of the minutes of any such discussion, at least not until much later if disclosure were sought for an ET claim.
     
    digoryvenn and harsh-but-fair like this.
  20. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Thanks Rott Weiler. They got better, and have now got much worse....I can't say more. Yet.
    The quote was from the poster above me - sorry, I should have used the quote facility! I don't believe it is accurate either... for indeed, how would you even know such a meeting had taken place? Unless someone let the cat out of bag of course... and should not have done so.
     

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