13th December 2002 at 00:00
MANY of our pupils travel to school on the train. Following complaints about their conduct, we want to send staff to supervise at the nearby railway station. Is this reasonable?

If your teachers consult their unions, I would expect them to be strongly advised not to do it.

While it is acceptable for the school to discipline pupils who misbehave out of school when they can be identified as pupils, it is very difficult to supervise properly when they are not in an organised school party and they are in contact with the general public.

By supervising in such situations, teachers accept responsibility for them when they do not have control and where there is the potential for conflict with the public. I support the union view that staff supervision of pupils should normally stop at the school gate.

We plan to use photographs of pupils on our school website to illustrate our uniform and PE equipment requirements. Are there pitfalls to doing so?

Assuming that the material which you are publishing could not be construed as pornographic, there is no more risk attached to this than to publishing the photographs in your prospectus. You would be wise, however, to secure the consent of individual parents.

One of our assistant heads was given a performance target to increase the size of our sixth-form entry. She made substantial progress, but, unfortunately, the local education authority decided to close the sixth form. Does this mean that she cannot receive a pay increment, because the target has become irrelevant?

That would be grossly unfair. The annual performance review is certainly based on targets set in the preceding year and an increment cannot be paid unless the review has taken place. This will not have been the sole target for the year and, in any case, the achievement of the target is a fact. The students were clearly persuaded that they should continue their education.

It is important to add that the decision of the governing body to award an increment is not conditional upon the achievement of all, or any, targets. The teacher's performance as a whole should be reviewed, having particular regard to the targets and to all other relevant circumstances.

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