April 2017

The know zone

  • On your marks...
    A race around the park provides Dennis Richards with some gentle exercise and a golden opportunity to catch up on the latest thinking on pupil attainment… More
  • Halfway there
    Last December, the government finally released the second stage of the consultation on the national funding formula (NFF). So was it worth the wait? Julia Harnden says more funding must be invested in education for the formula to be a success. More
  • Minds matter
    Every week there is a new report or story in the media about the worsening mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Here, Anna Cole highlights how leaders can develop a whole-school approach to deal with mental health and wellbeing. More
  • Mental health and wellbeing
    The government wants to offer schools in England mental health first-aid training and is looking at how to strengthen links between schools and the NHS. Have you seen a rise in mental health issues in young people in your school or college? Have you had any experience of accessing local specialist NHS services to help pupils? Here ASCL members share their views. More
  • Real-world opportunities to inspire students
    Focus on… Youth Grand Challenges More
  • Adding value
    Embracing new ways to communicate More
  • Stay in control
    Julie McCulloch highlights new guidance for schools considering joining or forming a multi-academy trust (MAT) and explains how you can stay in control of your school’s destiny. More
  • Leaders’ surgery
    Hotline advice expressed here, and in calls to us, is made in good faith to our members. Schools and colleges should always take formal HR or legal advice from their indemnified provider before acting. More
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Hotline advice expressed here, and in calls to us, is made in good faith to our members. Schools and colleges should always take formal HR or legal advice from their indemnified provider before acting.

Leaders' surgery

Ofsted sets new boundaries

Q: I am a headteacher of an 11–18 school and we have today had a section 8 safeguarding inspection, which is being turned into a section 5 inspection. The safeguarding issue was a bullying incident apparently reported by a parent. The inspectors have found no issue with this, but they have raised safeguarding concerns to do with the perimeter of the school. We are a rural school, with large playing fields and it would be completely impractical to fence off the whole of the school site.

A: It is some time since Ofsted caused controversy by insisting that all secondary schools should have a completely sealed perimeter. The most important thing here is the risk assessment and that could include the location of the school, the type of site, the size of the grounds and the age of the children and/or young people involved. Schools are expected to demonstrate that all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the site and the students have been made. Where difficulties like this arise during an inspection, it is worth contacting the ASCL hotline as soon as possible, as we may also be able to advise you further.

For more information, see the Guidance for Ofsted Inspectors to Use When Inspecting Safeguarding under the Common Inspection Framework online https://tinyurl.com/nllr74a

Contractual queries

Q: I am an assistant head in an academy and my role and responsibilities have been changed without warning. Can the headteacher do this? A: This will depend on your contract. If the contract specifically states your responsibility as an assistant head, then your contract would need to be varied if your role of assistant head were to disappear or another role were to be given instead. There would, of course, be an assumption that some generic tasks would be carried out by all members of a senior leadership team, and these may well vary according to the needs of the school. If the assistant head role is subject to the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), and this applies to many such roles in academies as well as in maintained schools, then there is some clarity about what can be asked of your role.The STPCD 2016 (https://tinyurl.com/zmr8tno), Para 49.1 states: “A person appointed as a deputy or assistant headteacher in a school, in addition to carrying out the professional duties of a teacher other than a headteacher including those duties particularly assigned by the headteacher, must play a major role under the overall direction of the headteacher in:

  • a: formulating the aims and objectives of the school
  • b; establishing the policies through which they are to be achieved
  • c: managing staff and resources to that end
  • d: monitoring progress towards their achievement and,

undertake any professional duties of the headteacher reasonably delegated by the headteacher.” The last sentence is particularly important as it means that the headteacher is able to direct the assistant head to take on different roles. The word ‘reasonably’ has a significant implication, however, and if any assistant head feels that the direction is not reasonable, s/he should contact the ASCL hotline for advice.If, as assistant head, your contract is not subject to the STPCD, then you should check your contract carefully and contact the ASCL hotline if the variations seem to fall outside the contract or could be deemed unreasonable.

Contact the hotline

ASCL members concerned about leadership issues should call the Hotline on 0116 299 1122 or email hotline@ascl.org.uk

Did you know…?

ASCL offers a contract checking service, so if you are about to accept a new post and would like one of our solicitors to check and comment on your contract before you sign it, please contact the ASCL hotline on 0116 299 1122 and the duty officer will arrange this.