Micon Metcalfe, a School Business Director, explains some of the myths surrounding HR in schools. This is one of the articles in the National Teacher Enquiry Network May Half Term Newsletter (sign up here).

All posts have to be advertised because of Equal Opportunities.

Maintained Schools are subject to the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 (as amended 2012).  The post of Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher should be advertised as the governors see fit unless it has good reason not to do so.

There is no legal requirement to advertise any other posts; however there may be local authority and or school policies which require advertisements.

Academies are not subject to these regulations and funding agreements do not require the Principal’s post to be advertised. There is a mixed approach to TUPE and Head/Principal conditions where schools convert to academy status.

Where posts are not advertised, schools would have to ensure that recruitment procedures do not lead to indirect discrimination.

Staff are entitled to paid time off for medical appointments

Entitlements to sick pay are set out in the teachers’ burgundy book and Local Government Green Book (for schools which follow these terms and conditions). However, there is no automatic right to paid time off for medical appointments. Reasonable paid time off should be granted in the following circumstances:

  • Pregnancy
  • Where the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act apply.

An employer may grant specific contractual rights or grant discretionary paid time off.

Staff are entitled to paid time off for childcare and other emergencies

Employees are entitled to reasonable unpaid time off to deal with family emergencies involving dependents. There are set conditions and the right does not extend to other emergencies or those not classed as dependents. There is also no definition of reasonable and this should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Employers can grant discretionary paid and unpaid leave of absence.

Staff are entitled to paid breaks

The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document states that

A teacher who is required to be available for work for more than one school session on any school day must be allowed one break of reasonable length either between school sessions or between the hours of 12 noon and 2.00pm. Deputy Head Teachers, Assistant Head Teachers, Advanced Skills Teachers and Excellent Teachers are entitled to a break of reasonable length as near to the middle of each school day as is reasonably practicable.

This break does not count towards the 1265 contractual hours and is therefore unpaid. It follows that the morning break is directed time and a teacher may be required to work (carry out a duty).

Other employees (over the age of 18) are entitled to an unpaid, uninterrupted, break of 20 minutes if they work more than 6 hours a day.

There is no requirement to provide smoking breaks.