Councils seek head appointment power

5th December 1997 at 00:00
Local government chiefs are to press again for powers to influence the appointment of heads after ministers declined to include the measure in their first Education Bill.

Councillors want the right to advise or even intervene if they believe school governors are likely to appoint an unsuitable candidate to run a local authority school.

The head is now acknowledged as the single most important person in raising and maintaining standards in a school. But the Local Government Association said too many governing bodies lacked the experience to pick the right person.

LGA education chairman Graham Lane said: "If we are serious about raising standards, we have to look at schools' methods of appointing headteachers.

"We have to get the appointment right in the first place and not try to unravel it when it goes wrong. There's increasing evidence that some schools think it compulsory to promote the deputy."

He and LGA chairman Sir Jeremy Beacham plan to raise the issue with Prime Minister Tony Blair. They hope an amendment will be added to the Bill as it passes through Parliament.

The issue has also sparked debate in Wales, where Anne Robertson, the chair of Governors Wales, told the annual conference of the principality's branch of the Society of Education Officers that the White Paper proposals would not help matters.

She criticised the proposal to let authorities dissatisfied with the school's choice of head call the governors in to explain.

Neil Harries, SEO chairman in Wales, described the Government's proposals as a "fudge". Legislation was needed to clarify the roles of governors and authorities in appointing heads, he said.

TES december 5 1997

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today