An abuse of authority

23rd March 2001 at 00:00
Until recently I was a primary head in an authority in the North-west. I now work in China but was interested to read about the power struggle between governors, local education authorities and heads ("Heads on top in power struggle", TES, March 9).

In my authority there was, and still is, a requirement for one of its officials to sit on all headteacher interview panels as a non-voting member. This was a reasonable idea. But the system has become abused and governing bodies are now powerless to appoint a candidate unless they have the LEA representative's backing.

Governors who wish to appoint a candidate not backed by the representative are tol that, if they do, the authority will not be responsible should there be problems. Recently a board who wished to appoint an unbacked candidate had to re-advertise!

The LEA should not be interferring in this manner. Either governors should be left free to interview or the responsibility should be passed wholly to the LEA.

I also find it unbelievable that heads are unable to appoint staff because governors disagree. Heads should be free to run their schools - they are the educational experts, not governing bodies!

Martin Scott

Principal, Tianjin Rego international school, 31 Zijin Shan Road,

Hexi district, Tianjin, China

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