Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

In brief...

Blair listens to SHA

Here is proof that Tony Blair has been practising his listening skills during the election campaign.

Speaking about pupil behaviour at a campaign stop at the end of April he said: "It is important to get this issue in perspective. As the general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association said yesterday, "Schools are putting an immense amount of work into improving the behaviour of children in class and the vast majority of classrooms are orderly places."

Funding for science

In mid-April, the secretary of state for trade and industry sprung a surprise by announcing over £200 million of additional funding for secondary school science laboratories at an election campaign press conference.

The Labour party pledged guaranteed funding of £75,000 for every secondary school to pay for a new science laboratory over the next three years.

Details remain sketchy, but SHA will obtain further information and will publish this as soon as possible.

Dog tails

Leader would never accuse Chesham High School of going to the dogs in the absence of its head, SHA President Tim Andrew, but its canine associations did make the national news in April.

Chesham was one of six schools in Buckinghamshire that trialled the use of 'sniffer dogs' to support its drug education programme and deter drug use. While the pilot generated much debate on the BBC website, a survey of pupils, parents and staff at the schools showed very positive reaction to the scheme and support for it to continue.

Charity Bill

The Charities Bill was lost at the dissolution of Parliament. This has significance both for independent schools, in relation to their status as charities, and to foundation and voluntary-aided schools in relation to their status as exempt charities.

The bill included new rules as to the duty on these schools to report their financial affairs.

It is likely that the bill will be reintroduced into the new Parliament in some form. Updates will be sent in the weekly e-newsletter and posted on the SHA website.

FE review

The DfES and the LSC have jointly commissioned an independent review into the future role of colleges in the FE sector. It is being conducted by Sir Andrew Foster, former chief executive of the Audit Commission for England and Wales.

The review is looking at the contribution colleges make to the learning and skills market and what more needs to happen to transform the sector in light of the DfES' Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners.

Sir Andrew has said he will talk to a wide range of people over the next few weeks and would welcome thoughts and ideas. He is expected to report back by the autumn.

Further information and ways to get involved with the review can be found at www.dfes.gov.uk/furthereducation/fereview

Guidance - A deputy heads' place

Two cautionary notes when restructuring to a 'flat' leadership team, especially when it is decided to have no deputy head. Abolishing the post of deputy creates a redundancy situation and a fair process must be followed.

Also, take careful note of the terms and conditions of deputy and assistant heads. Only a deputy can deputise for a head.

This will probably not be an issue (except in the case of a head's illness) except in the event of exclusion. Only the head can exclude, or a deputy deputising for the head. An assistant head cannot.

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