11th September 1998 at 01:00
Q We have discovered that a teacher, hitherto regarded as reliable, has been misappropriating money paid in for school journeys. He has offered to pay it back. What action would you advise?

A I am sorry, but he has to go.This man has betrayed the trust placed in him and that cannot be restored, at least not in his current employment.

If there are extenuating circumstances which lead you to take as kind a view as possible, I can only suggest that if he undertakes to repay the money in full and to submit his resignation, you will not pursue disciplinary action against him. In that way, his career may not be permanently blighted.

Q The governors have decided to terminate the contract of a teacher who has been absent so long through illness that she is now receiving no pay. We are now told that we have to restore her to the pay roll. Is this correct?

A Yes. This is one of the lesser-known clauses in the "Conditions of Service for Teachers in England and Wales".

This provides that, when a teacher in a situation such as you describe is dismissed, he or she is entitled to their full pay during the period of notice. This begins on the date when the notice of termination is formally given.

Q Who is responsible for the behaviour of pupils on school buses?

A This question comes up more frequently than most, because there is always a temptation for pupils to relieve the tedium of a journey by indulging in unacceptable behaviour.

The control of that behaviour is the responsibility of the proprietor of the bus. It is clearly the case that many contractors do not take this responsibility seriously and do not provide any adult supervision, other than the driver. However good the driver may be, he or she has no sanction to employ other than to report identified miscreants to their headteacher.

Most heads are happy to deal with such reported cases, accepting that misconduct on the buses is potentially harmful to the school's reputation. They are entitled, as some do, to appoint senior pupils to keep an eye on the rest and to report misconduct.

Equally, they are entitled, as is the bus contractor, to draw the attention of parents to the misbehaviour of their offspring.

Archimedes regrets he cannot enter into correspondence with readers.

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