16th June 2000 at 01:00
CAN we solve a timetable problem for next year by asking non- specialists to take PE?

THIS sort of question is often best answered by posing the "what if..?", scenario. What if a serious accident occurs to a pupil during a physical activity for which the teacher concerned has no professional training or qualification? The teacher concerned may well be considered to be negligent for allowing the activity to take place when she or he was not competent to supervise it and the school may be negligent for creating the situation.

The head must be satisfied with the competence of any teacher to undertake an assigned task and, if necessary, impose limitations. So, non-specialists may certainly take PE and conduct activities which are within their competence. They must be clearly instructed, however, not to use apparatus or to allow specialised physical activities for whic they have received no training.

THE successful candidate for our deputy headship did not reveal in her application or interview that she lives with another member of our staff. Should she have? Now we know, can we reconsider our appointment?

THIS couple must be discreet indeed! In every school I have known, this situation would have been common knowledge. Some education authorities have an explicit policy not to allow close relatives or partners to work in a line-management relationship. But, unless such a policy exists and is made explicit to applicants you have no grounds for reviewing the appointment. The only reason for reconsidering an appointment would be where an applicant has deliberately lied or failed to provide information which was legitimately and explicitly required, and where such information would have made the appointment unacceptable.

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