How do staff register a vote of no confidence in the head? (05/01/06)

Question: As a result of a number of issues in our school, including implementation of staff restructuring, a majority of staff wish to motion a vote of no confidence in our head teacher. How do we go about this and what will be the resulting action?

Joan Sallis replies:  Staff are of course at liberty to pass a vote of no confidence in the head at any time – there is no special procedure for it. That means that nothing will automatically follow, though one hopes that if the complaint were well founded it would be taken very seriously.

The Governing Body and the LEA are the right people to address it to, the Governing Body because they appoint and dismiss heads and the LEA  because they are technically employers in community schools though the governors have all the functions of an employer.  In the case of Voluntary schools the Governing Body have full employer status. In these therefore it might be wise to copy the letter to the appropriate church authority, eg diocese for information.  And although there is no legal provision for such a vote all bodies concerned will have to take it seriously.

I cannot be optimistic about outcome – the kind of ‘sins’ you list are pretty often quoted in such documents and you do not often read in the newspapers of heads being dismissed or reprimanded. I am not being cynical, just stating fact, and in particular I know the restructuring process has led to strained and high feelings in many schools and I get the impression it is rather a no-win job for heads.

Are all staff serious about the motion? Do they intend to sign the motion individually? I say this because staffs are frequently breathing fire about heads and one wonders in how many cases the action is actually carried out.