Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Headteacher Appointment Process - A Summary

Please remember that when appointing a headteacher, the serving headteacher should take no part, even if they are still in post. There must be a full governing body meeting that starts the process. This enables all governors to have a say on the type of person, specific requirements, characteristics, experience etc. that they believe their school needs. This is their statutory right. The LA representative will be present in an advisory capacity at this meeting and must be invited to attend. This officer is representing the Local Authority who similarly has a right to be present at all parts of the process, in order to advise. The officer does not have decision making powers but is there in an advisory capacity.

There must be a properly called (at least 7 days notice) and clerked full Governing Body meeting to ratify the panel's selection. This is usually on the evening of the interviews. If the meeting is not quorate, the selection cannot be ratified. The candidate must not be offered the post if the selection is not properly ratified. The purpose of the meeting is for the full Governing Body to formally approve the recommendation of the selection panel. This is usually a short affair but allows those governors not on the selection panel to ask questions about the process, to ensure it has not been flawed. For example, to ensure that equality and diversity requirements have been adhered to or that no candidate has been advantaged or disadvantaged and so on. This is particularly important when there is an internal candidate.

The Governing Body must ensure that at least one member of the selection panel has successfully completed the NCSL's (now CWDC's) on-line safer recruitment training or has attended the accredited LA face-to-face training. This is mandatory and failure to have done so would alone be sufficient to declare the process invalid and flawed. It is the one appointment where the Headteacher having done the training is not applicable, so it is crucial that at least one governor has achieved this. The DfE has a log of schools that have a governor trained through the on-line training, as does the LA for the face- to-face training.

It is understandable that Governing Bodies sometimes find themselves in a very tight timescale because of resignation deadlines, however, please remember that this appointment is probably the most important thing you will ever do as a governor for your school. Taking short cuts often leads to problems later. Our advice regarding timescales is as follows:

From advert to closing date - allow 2 weeks. This is usually a TES advert on-line and in the paper on the Friday, closing 2 weeks later (but allowing for Monday's morning post).

• There should be 10 working days between short listing and the
interview dates to allow for Letters of Representation to be sent to other LAs and the replies to be received. This activity is a statutory duty placed on all LAs and must not be undervalued.

At the same time references can be collected. Under the new Bichard requirements we should not consider appointing any candidate without signed, dated references on headed note paper.

• Allow two clear days from closing to allow the administration (photocopying of applications and packaging) to take place. Therefore, the earliest that applications can be collected for distribution to the selection panel is late afternoon on the Tuesday.

• In order that every member of the selection panel has an opportunity to read and evaluate each application, short listing cannot take place any earlier than the Thursday after a Friday closing.

• After the ratification has taken place, the CoG is able to make a verbal offer to the selected candidate. This should only ever be made "subject to satisfactory checks being undertaken". If letters of representation or the required number of references have not been received, this should also be "subject to.."

Advice Written by Pam Reynolds School Link Officer, Governor Support Calderdale and featured in their 2010 Summer Newsletter

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