3rd July 1998 at 01:00
Q One of the teachers at our school has complained of receiving anonymous messages of a suggestive nature. She believes they are sent by a colleague. The alleged sender denies all knowledge. Is there anything we can do?

A If this behaviour becomes frequent and causes distress, it would probably constitute harassment and, if the victim wishes, the police could be invited to investigate.

If she is unwilling to do this and there is no firm evidence to identify the originator of the messages, it is hard to see what else anyone can do. One can but hope that the fact that the supposed offender has been challenged will be a sufficient deterrent.

Q The LEA has told us that we cannot employ a teacher on a temporary contract ending on June 30, but must extend it until the end of August. This will cost us a lot of money. Are they right?

A Yes, they are. It will not cost you quite so much more as you think, because of the way in which the rules operate. These may be found in the "Conditions of Service for Schoolteachers in England and Wales'', otherwise known as the Burgundy Book.

Put simply, these are two kinds of temporary teacher: daily supply and temporary contracts.

The former are employed on a daily or hourly basis and their pay is calculated on the basis of the 195 days which teachers are required to work under direction of the head, that is one one-hundred and ninety-fifth of the appropriate annual salary.

Those who are employed on temporary contracts have their salaries calculated on a monthly basis, that is one twelfth of the annual salary. There is a Burgundy Book provision that, where they are employed for a term, the salary period is related to the fixed dates ending on 31 December, 30 April and 31 August.

If they work for a term, they are entitled to receive at least one third of the annual salary. To seek to terminate such a teacher at the end of the pupil term is an unacceptable device to avoid this provision.

If you do the sums, you will find that the total cost of daily supply during term-time is not so very different from one third of an annual salary, which is what a teacher would receive on a termly contract.

* Archimedes regrets he is unable to enter into correspondence with readers

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