Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

In the news

Weapons searches

The DfES managed to get three rounds of headlines out of the new search powers for teachers: once when it was announced last year, once when it came into effect and, most recently, when the guidance was announced.

As ASCL stated in the Daily Mail:
"The new powers send a strong message that schools will not tolerate the threat of violence and that the Government will back up headteachers who take a tough stance on weapons."

However as John Dunford said in the Times, the new powers would not have much practical effect. "Most schools will continue to do what they have always done, which is to call in the police when they suspect weapons are involved."

Support staff pay enquiry

Perhaps not surprisingly, the news that the DfES has announced a review of school support staff pay and conditions did not attract nearly the same attention as weapons searches, although it is likely to have more impact on schools.

Public Finance magazine and BBC Online quoted John Dunford: "In more and more schools, senior support staff are taking on central roles in leadership and management, freeing other leaders to focus on teaching and learning."

ASCL has been calling for a senior staff pay review, most recently in the evidence to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Exclusion fines

Welsh members hit back at reports that the Welsh inspectorate Estyn was considering fines for school that it considered excluded pupils too readily. In the Western Mail, Vice President Brian Lightman said: "I don't think heads are using exclusion injudiciously. Fining schools is an absolute nonsense."

He pointed out that the increasing exclusion numbers from 2000 to 2005 were partly due to relaxing of the strict rules on suspensions following concerns from heads about being able to discipline students.

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