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Simple point of law explained

Graham Clayton, senior solicitor for National Union of Teachers comments that "education legislation has made it impossible to determine whether school governing bodies or local education authorities are teachers' employers"(TES, November 3). I am astonished by his comment that "the two employer problem makes for very complex law". May I suggest that he reads DES Circular 1389. This makes the position crystal clear:

* In a school with financial delegation, when exercising its staffing powers the governing body is the employer, that is hiring and firing. Therefore, it is the first respondents in industrial tribunal cases.

* The LEA is the contract holder who must dismiss or appoint as the case may be once the governing body has made the appropriate determination pursuant to S44 Schedule 3 of 1988 Act. The LEA usually pays the compensation so the LEA is the second respondent in industrial tribunal cases.

However, Mr Clayton is not the only solicitor to have failed to grasp the essence of this very simple point; but in my experience those solicitors work for LEAs not teacher unions.


Adel Leeds

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