Who recruits the recruiters?

Steve Maguire's picture
I am concerned that the hidden few are responsible for the recruitment of teachers? We don't know their background - are they vetted? And what about nepotism? How do they rule out offering 'jobs for the boys?
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Sarah Dobbs's picture
Thu, 30/06/2011 - 13:41

Steve, this is a very valid concern. In my home county of Lincolnshire, we have our School Improvement Service provided by CfBT. They also run training sessions and advise governing bodies. Part of this advice is supporting governing bodies in appointing heads throughout the county.
And yet CfBT are also seeking to form an academies trust to run and manage the counties' primary schools.
Jobs for the boys and conflict of interest spring to mind the whole time!

Ros Coffey's picture
Thu, 30/06/2011 - 15:49

Steve - Me I recruit, although the simple answer is it depends on which level of staff this is.

For SMT (HT, DHT, AHT) it will be a panel of governors, an LA adviser, (a Diocesan adviser) and for roles excluding the Head, the HT. Although neither the LA nor the Diocesan adviser has a vote, they are merely there to offer guidance.

Each member of the panel must be available for every stage of the process:
Setting out the ad, Job Description, Job Spec, deadlines and deciding on Interview Panel - usually Full Governing Body
School Visit - HT, usually with another Panel Member
Shortlisting - Interview Panel
Tasks and Interview - Interview Panel

All documentation for this process is retained by the LA so that a fair and transparent process can be audited, in exactly the same way that HR would work for a role outside of school.

For other members of school staff and teachers not in the SMT, this is in most cases delegated to the HT, DH and AHT, sometimes with a member of the GB on the panel so that they can gain interview experience and understand the process.

Most schools will use a skills grid to ensure that all criteria which the role requires are reached - QTS, NPQH, necessary skills etc. and this document is also retained.

And of course, at least one member of any interview panel will have to have their Safer Recruitment certificate and the panel will be made up of an odd number.

I have even had one Head request members of the GB to be present on an interview panel for an NQT as one of the candidates was the niece of a previous DH as she did not want to be accused of nepotism by proxy. As it happened the niece was an outstanding candidate and got the job.

In over 20 years as a governor and interviewing rather a lot of candidates during this time I have not seen nepotism or jobs for the boys for any of the roles for which I have recruited.

Finally neither I nor, my colleagues are hidden, in our case are pictures are up in the school reception and on the website. We are either elected by stakeholders or appointed by reputable authorities.

Why don't you consider standing as a parent governor for your child's school?

Howard's picture
Thu, 30/06/2011 - 19:29

Sorry, I can't see how your point on CfBT is related to Steve's question on teacher recruitment. As Ros makes clear, it will be the school's senior management team who recruit teachers and it's highly unlikely that they'll need any external advice from people such as CfBT to do this.
Similarly, with the appointment of Heads, although CfBT will be providing advice, it is governors who decide who they'll have as their Head, and I can't see any governing body which has decided not to become an academy then appointing a Head who's gung-ho to switch status.
Which is not to say, of course, that nepotism or inappropriate appointments do not occur - there have been cases where this has happened, but the procedures described by Ros, the integrity of school staff and the oversight of governors ensure that these cases are few and far between.

Ros Coffey's picture
Fri, 01/07/2011 - 11:11

I would also add Sarah, that if they are there in an advisory capacity, the Interview Panel can throw their advice out of the window if they do not agree with it. I know of this happening on a number of occasions... at the end of the day it is the governors or their delegated party who make the appointment not the advisers.

Fiona Millar's picture
Fri, 01/07/2011 - 15:36

Sarah does raise an interesting point though as the relationship between academy chains, the governing bodies that they appoint and their schools is not at all clear. There is some evidence that senior staff appointments are made by the trusts, which are the signatories to blanket funding agreements with government, and in effect the employers, although none of this is clear since very little about their internal operations is put in the public domain.

Steve Maguire's picture
Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:46

I fear that my question was a little mis-leading. I was asking the question in the context of 'Free Schools'. Inadvertantly I have been enlightened by the process as it stands in other schools. My question is - will the process be as transparent for 'Free school teacher recruitment?

Fiona Millar's picture
Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:55

Free schools are independent schools so governed by whatever is in their funding agreement with government. I would assume that this will oblige them to follow usual equal ops procedures but you cant really be sure without seeing the FAs.
A better parallel might be with what happens in the independent sector but I really don't know much about that!!

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:14

In the case of the Michaela School, there seems to be an assumption that Ms Birbalsingh, one of the proposers of the school, will be its head. Wouldn't this be against normal employment and equal opportunities procedures? Can a proposer employ him/herself?

Steve Maguire's picture
Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:19

The Stoke-By-Nayland High School group have stated that they will guarentee an interview to the secondry trained school teachers at the existing middle school. I am not sure how this is a fair process? What if there are performance issues surrounding the candidate? Isn't this something that they should be thinking about prior to making these commitments?

Ros Coffey's picture
Sat, 02/07/2011 - 16:01

Steve - this is around redundancy and how the new academy is viewed. If it is a new employer taking over another business, then posts could be TUPE'd across or equally it might be viewed as a redeployment to a new business . As legislation exists where the new organisation takes over and rejigs the structure, each employee is entitled to interview for their role but not guaranteed to get the job.

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