9th November 2007 at 00:00
Q: A colleague has recently given in her notice for the end of this term. She addressed the letter to the chair of governors and governing body as she believed that it was they who employed her. A copy was also sent to the headteacher on the same day.

The headteacher has, in writing, reprimanded this colleague and has informed her that notice should only be sent to the head not the governing body. Is this correct?

A: Assuming that your friend works in a maintained school and not a voluntary school, an academy or in the private sector, she seems to have done the sensible thing and written to the two people who really need to know. It sounds as if the head is a bit miffed that they only received a copy of the letter and not the original.

Even if there is a school handbook that states, "resignation letters should be sent to the headteacher", for the simple reason that the chair of governors might be away, then it still doesn't seem like a serious offence to have written to the chair of governors and copied the letter to the head as it achieved the same purpose.

Rather than complaining to the chair of governors that the head has acted injudiciously by issuing a reprimand, I would regard that as an end to the matter, given your colleague is leaving at the end of term. Only if this is very out of character for the head would I bother seeking any clarification.

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University. To ask him a question, email him at

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