Protest as job offer collapses

26th December 1997 at 00:00
Council appointment procedures are likely to come under close scrutiny following the withdrawal of a job offer to fill the long-standing vacancy for the headship of Portree High on Skye.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association is taking legal advice following Highland's decision to rescind the appointment of Richard Anderson, one of its members, to the post which has been vacant for almost a year and was advertised four times. The union would make no comment.

Mr Anderson, aged 47, who is assistant head of Woodfarm High in East Renfrewshire, disclosed to the authority a court appearance three years ago but not until after accepting the post. He was given an absolute discharge at Paisley sheriff court in September 1994 after he admitted assaulting his wife.

The absence of a conviction led the former Strathclyde Region and the General Teaching Council to take no action against him. Any checks run by Highland would therefore have drawn a blank.

The legal tussle is now likely to centre on whether the offer of the job to Mr Anderson constituted an appointment from which he could be dismissed and, if so, whether the dismissal was fair and reasonable.

Mr Anderson was selected from a short leet of six two weeks ago, the unanimous choice of the panel of three councillors and three school board members.

Confirming his deselection, a council spokesman said: "It was agreed Mr Anderson had placed the education department in an untenable position by failing to disclose certain information relating to his background."

The status of an absolute discharge, which does not appear to be covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act dealing with the expunging of actual convictions, will also have to be considered by education authorities in the light of the case.

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