In trouble with law

12th May 2000 at 01:00
HEADTEACHERS are insufficiently prepared to deal with the legal aspects of their job, according to researchers.

A survey of 1,400 English heads by the International Educational Leadership Centre at the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside revealed that, even before the introduction of the NPQH, most heads believed themselves well-prepared for most of their tasks - usually by experience rather than training

But questionnaires showed that only about one in five felt confident about applying the law to situations arising in schools.

Fewer than one in three felt confident about working with underperforming teachrs, using information technology in management or using student performance for curriculum planning.

But the researchers, Trevor Male and Marianne Hvizdak, are most surprised by the finding that many heads are not able to understand and apply the law.

This has always been a requirement of headship whereas some of the other skills heads felt less confident about are the result of recent changes in school management.

This perceived lack of skill may be due to the inexperience of aspiring heads, they say. The importance of understanding legal issues may only become apparent when they are appointed heads.

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