Following on from the Empowering Schools agreement, the SNCT has added a new Appendix to the SNCT Handbook (this contains the “National Scheme of Salaries and Conditions of Service for Teachers and Associated Professionals”) about staff recruitment…and the role of HTs.
Normally, a new or amended Appendix to the SNCT Handbook would not merit an article in Head to Head. Indeed, the handbook (and even this Appendix) can be quite a dull read! However, this is important on two levels. Firstly, it is symbolic in the sense that it is the first change to Teachers Terms and Conditions which relates specifically to the Empowering Schools Agenda. Secondly, it is important as it heralds real change in some areas for how you go about recruitment and selection.
The Appendix starts by quoting the Headteachers’ Charter which forms part of the Empowered System draft guidance.
“The Charter states that headteachers will: • Play an active role in designing and reviewing recruitment and staffing approaches, for their own school/s, for the wider Authority.
• Be empowered to design a staffing structure which best supports the school’s curriculum and leadership requirements, working within their delegated staffing budget and supported by their Local Authority and SNCT/LNCT agreements, and guidance. • Be integral to the appointment of staff in accordance with the best interests of children and young people and work in partnership with the Local Authority to ensure good practice in recruitment and appointment, in line with SNCT/LNCT agreements and guidance.”
This introduces concepts which will be new in some areas. The first being an opportunity for HTs to be involved in the design of local authority recruitment processes.
Second, it references the opportunity for heads to design their own staffing structure – within bounds. This means that HTs should be able to engage in discussion about changes to the make up of staffing in their school/s. This becomes particularly important if a member of your team leaves – now there should be an opportunity to consider how best to use the resource that opens up, rather than automatically replacing like for like.
Thirdly, it ensures that HTs should have a voice in the recruitment of their teams. This, alongside the opportunity to be involved in the design of recruitment processes, is a direct response to messages from AHDS and others that HTs wanted to be able to pick their own teams – something that is was not always the case at present.
All of this comes with some requirements and qualifications. There is a long list of things that HTs need to be aware of as well as the support that you can expect from your local authority. The biggest qualification comes in relation to HT control over three groups of staff. It will still be the case that you will not have the ability to select students or probationers. It is also the case that you will have to accept staff transfers. The last of these is understandable but is helpfully described in the following terms:
“The Local Authority may…require to transfer staff into establishments out with an agreed recruitment process, following consultation and discussion with Headteachers. Such transfers may be required due to a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: health issues, staff identified as surplus, conduct, competence or the Local Authority seeking to deliver its statutory duty in accordance with the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.”
So, AHDS local groups need to make their voice heard in discussion about how local recruitment procedures work and about how the opportunity for ‘consultation and discussion’ about staff transfer will work in your area. Also, you need to be alive to the opportunities this might create for you to reimagine staffing in your school/s to better support learning.
Here is a Bitly link to the appendix https://bit.ly/2vo1JbC If that doesn’t work for you, you can visit www.snct.org.uk and look for Part 2, Appendix 2.20.