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SOME months ago you answered a question about whether a head was entitled to participate in the appointment of hisher successor.

I remember that you said it wasn't explicitly forbidden but that there were a number of regulations that clearly implied that such participation was not intended.

Our head is now retiring early and I'm afraid he is very keen to be on the panel.

We think this could be difficult, as although he has been an excellent head we are in a new situation and may not want the same sort of person.

Could I bother you to give me "chapter and verse" that would be relevant to this case?

YES, I remember the enquiry. The "chapter and verse", such as it is, is Schedule 16 to the 1998 Standards and Framework Act, which is about staffing.

Paragraph 18 of that Schedule deals with the right of the local authority chief education officer to attend meetings and interviews leading up to the selection of teachers and headteachers and advise if requested.

Paragraph 19 extends this right to headteachers "except in relation to the appointment of a headteacher".

I thought that ws fairly clear even though it didn't actually refer directly to the head's being a member of the interviewing panel. If the law-makers didn't want the head to be present for the process leading up to the interview one can surely assume that they didn't want an out-

going head to be a member of the panel.

Now, however, there is a further indication of intent in that an amendment issued on August 4 2000 to Statutory Instrument No 2163 (the main governors' regulations of 1999). This says that no member of staff may be present at meetings concerned with the appointment of his or her successor.

I hope your colleagues and your head will be satisfied with this.

I know it is very hard to let go, and the more involved and conscientious a long-serving head has been, the more he or she is going to want to have some influence on the future of the school.

You can take it as measure of your head's commitment and respond accordingly. But it really isn't good for a school or the people who make the choice to be inhibited by outgoing staff. As you say circumstances change and schools need change.

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