Questions and Answers

Changes to Ofsted intervention

28 November 2018

We are expecting an Ofsted visit and preparing ourselves for a difficult judgment as our examination results are not as good as we expected or had hoped. I understand there are some changes to the way Ofsted deals with schools this year. What are the changes?

Single-sex classes

31 October 2018

Our science department has put forward a proposal for improving our students’ examination performance that involves some single-sex teaching. Is this allowed?

Writing a reference

11 September 2018

Last year, a pupil made a malicious allegation against our deputy Head, which was proved to be false and she was completely exonerated. She has told me she is applying for a new post. Will I have to disclose the allegation on her reference?

Dress codes at work

28 August 2018

The very hot weather during the summer term raised issues about appropriate work wear, with some members of staff insisting on wearing shoes and clothes that the senior team felt did not set the right example to pupils, who have to adhere to a very specific uniform code. Our staff handbook has only a very general note about “dressing appropriately”. Can we insist on a dress code that is much more specific?

Part-time staff holiday pay entitlement

16 July 2018

We have a teaching assistant who is on a term time only contract. Will we have to pay her during the holidays?

Parents who do not accept an exclusion

4 July 2018

We decided to exclude a pupil for one day and when we contacted the parent, she refused to accept the exclusion and said she would send her son to school as usual. The pupil arrived at school on the day of his exclusion and we were unable to contact the parent. We kept the pupil in internal isolation during the day but what action can we take against the parent?

Working on sick leave

29 May 2018

Our deputy Head had an operation a month ago and has a “fit note” for a further six weeks. I understood a fit note to emphasise what a member of staff might be able to do, while recovering from illness. It would be helpful if our deputy could work at home, planning for next academic year when on leave. Would it be appropriate to discuss this?

Ramadan and holiday entitlement

11 May 2018

A number of my employees are practising Muslims. They have complained that they consider themselves to be forced to take time off over Christmas (because we have a one week shut down) and yet they have to use up their holiday entitlement if they want to take time off over Ramadan, which lasts for a month. They believe this amounts to religious discrimination. What can we do?

Target setting

1 May 2018

A new member of staff has questioned our method of setting performance targets, complaining that the approach we use does not take into account individuals with a variety of challenges, such as poor attendance, etc. Is there a formula we can use?

Teacher performance and appraisal

27 March 2018

We recently observed a teacher as part of our appraisal process and raised some concerns about her marking. She returned from maternity leave last term and is struggling to keep up with the expectations we have about frequency and quality of marking. Her line manager would like to hold a formal mid-year review meeting and include her marking as part of her appraisal. She has always been an outstanding teacher and we have never had concerns previously about her marking. I don’t want to over react to this situation so could you advise how to proceed?