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Q As headteacher, I suspect that the procedure for electing a teacher governor has not been correctly followed. Have I the right to intervene?

A Unless you have been asked to act as returning officer to run the election, it is outside your concern and I would advise caution. You have no rights in this area at all. The staff might well resent what could appear to be interference in what is their proper domain. If any members of staff share your view, it is for them to raise the matter either within their own forum or with the chair of governors.

Q When a teacher takes maternity leave which includes a period of school holidays, is she entitled to take a holiday to replace that which she "lost"?

A The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that when an employee is absent on maternity leave she is "entitled to the benefit of the terms and conditions of employment which would have been applicable to her if she had not been absent".

However, the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions of Service Document is silent on the subject of holidays. Instead, it addresses the issue the other way round by prescribing that a teacher is required to be available for work for 195 days during the school year. As there is no reference to a specific holiday entitlement, I conclude that it cannot be regarded as a benefit under the Employment Rights Act and that, therefore, the teacher is not entitled to compensatory holiday time.

The situation might be rather different, however, in an independent school if the teacher's contract of service does specify a holiday entitlement.

Archimedes ICSEIThe telephone number given on November 28 for the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement, which takes place in Manchester in January, should have been 0161 275 3458

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