Helpline

14th November 1997 at 00:00
Q

I held the post of Head of English in an acting capacity, annually renewed, for six years. When a permanent appointment was eventually made, I was not appointed and reverted to my previous position. Was I effectively dismissed and do I have a right of redress?

A

On the face of it, this was a case of very poor management and no little injustice to you. Unfortunately, however, you were not dismissed, because you retained the job to which you were originally appointed. What you lost was an increment to your salary, paid for additional responsibilities, which were assigned to you on a temporary basis, made explicit, I presume, in the renewal letters which you received. While you have a good cause for grievance against the governing body, I am afraid that you do not have a case to take to an industrial tribunal.

Q

Do supply teachers have recourse to the grievance procedure in operation at the school which engages them?

A

Unless they are employed by an agency which provides the school with cover, supply teachers are, for the period of their engagement, employees of the school, or local authority, and entitled to the protection of the conditions of service which apply to all employees.

There should be no reason, therefore, why the grievance procedure should not be invoked, although there may be some difficulty in righting the wrong, if the grievance is upheld, when the teacher concerned is no longer employed at the school.

Q

Whose responsibility is it to check the accuracy of details of qualifications and experience submitted by applicants for teaching posts?

A

The first and prime responsibility to be truthful and accurate rests with the applicant. Deliberately to provide false information should lead to immediate disqualification and, if the offence comes to light after the appointment has been made, it might well justify summary dismissal, with the facts reported to the DFEE.

The second responsibility rests with the employer, who should take reasonable steps to check that the information provided may be relied upon. Every application and CV should be carefully read, and any discrepancies raised at the interview stage. But the system is inevitably founded on trust and, as with dud cheques, some frauds are not detected until they bounce.

Q

In your answer on the appointment of someone who appeared less qualified than an unsuccessful applicant (June 20), you failed to identify what may have been a breach of the Equal Opportunities legislation.

Should the applicants not be aware of the criteria being used and should not the appointing person or panel be obliged to justify their decision against them?

A

I do not believe that I missed the point, although pressure of space did not allow a more extensive reply.

I agree entirely that the appointment should be made on the basis of agreed criteria, which may, or may not, be made available to the candidates in advance. Certainly, the appointment should be made in the light of those criteria and notes should be kept at the time.

If an unsuccessful applicant challenges the decision, the subsequent availability of the criteria and the notes are essential to both sides in determining the outcome.

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