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head teachers dismissed for special measures

13 March 2014

Is it right for local authorities to dismiss head teachers if their schools go into special measures? Heads are regularly held to account where they are not performing adequately but reports suggest that a local authority is dismissing heads on the basis of a poor Ofsted report.

The leaked protocol states heads who have been in place for two years or more and whose school is put into special measures will be placed on garden leave and dismissed on the basis that ‘special measures’ indicates a problem with the school’s leadership. Leadership may well be an issue for schools in special measures, but one cannot ignore other factors such as the social and economic area of the school.

Perhaps more interestingly, is this approach (or a variation of it) already being taken with schools across the country? Such an approach is surprising from an employment law perspective. It would be risky for an employer to decide to dismiss as a matter of policy without considering matters on a case by case basis.

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