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Staffing costs within a school can account for up to 85% of a school's budget. The Law in relation to Staff can be complex and it is difficult to summarise within a few paragraphs. Suffice to say, it is important that a school takes proper professional legal advice in areas relating to personnel before starting any process that may affect individual employment arrangements.
Although teaching and non teaching staff in community and VC Schools are technically employed by the LEA, the functions of the employer are almost entirely delegated to the school governing body (save for schools that do not have a delegated budget)
Teachers and other staff have Employment Protection
Staff within schools have the full protection of the general employment legislation thus are entitled;-
a) Not to be unfairly dismissed
b) Not to be discriminated against
c) To equal opportunities
d) To belong to a Trade Union
e) To full maternity and paternity rights
This process is generally left in the hands of the school. Different schools may adopt different formalities. It is however important to have in mind the Equalities Act 2010 and advice might now be needed to ensure that advertisements and the processes to be followed are set in accordance with these obligations.
The Head and Deputy Head
Although there are special rules in the case of the appointment of a headteacher of a Roman Catholic School (where the trustees of the foundation body are also the trustees of a Roman Catholic Religious Order), the governing body generally has the responsibility for the appointment of the Head and deputy head but must
a) Notify the LEA of the vacancy
b) Appoint (in the case of a VA and foundation schools), or recommend to the LEA a person to be appointed as an acting headteacher pending a permanent appointment.
c) To advertise the vacancy nationally
d) Convene a selection panel of at least 3 Governors to consider the applications and conduct interviews etc. The panel does not however have the power to appoint but can make a recommendation. (This power cannot be delegated)
Schools will also need to have regard to Working-time Regulations which restrict the number of hours that any employee can actually work, and also sets minimum holiday entitlement.
The Contract of Employment
It is essential that a contract of employment exists which covers all the terms of the statutory regulations. The contract is enforceable once the job is offered and accepted. It is always a good idea to seek specialist legal support if you have any concerns.
A contract will also incorporate any collective negotiating terms that apply. It is important when one is seeking to produce a contract that it is explicit as to whether the LEA negotiated terms will apply (They will apply in community schools but may not in VA or foundation schools). A word of warning however - foundation schools that the terms of a contract relating to staff who may have been previously employed directly by the LEA will remain unchanged unless agreed otherwise.
Note also the pay policy in the TPCD relating to teachers' pay, and also the Leadership Group Pay applying to headteachers and deputy as well as assistant heads. Regard must be had for Advanced Teachers' pay - the rationalise being that these high ability teachers should be given a new career path.
Discipline and Grievance Procedures and Appeals
If you are a school teacher who has been unfairly dismissed, or indeed a school responding to a claim of unfair dismissal Sinclairslaw have specialist Employment and Education Law Solicitors who can help.
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