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Helpline;School management

Q. In view of the concern about the lack of male role models in schools, are we allowed to advertise for a male teacher in our infants school?

A. No. The rules governing sex discrimination allow for job advertisements to be gender specific only in those cases where the nature of the job makes it exclusively appropriate for one sex. The obvious example is PE teaching, where duties include the supervision of changing facilities.

Governing bodies must not discriminate on the grounds of sex, either in the advertisement or in the making of the appointment.

Q. Following your comments on removing a pupil's name from the roll, what happens about the pupil who disappears from the area with no known address?

A. The local authority must try to ascertain what has happened to the pupil, but the rules provide that, where such enquiries prove fruitless and the pupil has been absent continuously for at least four weeks, the LEA may authorise removal from the roll.

Q. The deputy head of this school is retiring and the governors are proposing to replace him with two "assistant heads" from within the staff. Can this be done without advertising and can either of the replacements be acting head, if the need arises?

A. The law does not require the appointment of a deputy head and so the proposal is feasible. The law specifies only that the posts of head and deputy must be advertised and so the internal appointments are also feasible. A head may designate any responsible teacher to act as head in hisher absence and so that, too, is feasible.

Whether it is wise depends upon one's view of the circumstances and of the people concerned. One should bear in mind that only heads and deputies are excluded from the conditions of service provisions which limit the working time of a teacher to 1,265 hours over 195 days. In asking someone to serve in what is effectively the role of a deputy, and certainly as an acting head, one is expecting the teacher concerned to disregard those time restraints. They may be prepared to do that, but they could change their minds.

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