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School Reorganisation

Volume 175: debated on Thursday 5 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what guidance he gives to local education authorities as to under what sections of and schedules to the Education (No.2) Act 1986 they should conduct the selection procedure for the headships of schools which have been part of a major schools reorganisation programme;(2) what steps he has taken to satisfy himself under the terms of section 68 of the Education Act 1944 that Leeds education authority is acting reasonably in the way it has decided to conduct the appointment of headships as part of the city's reorganisation of schools.

The Department's Circular 7/87 provides general guidance on the provisions of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 relating to the appointment of head teachers. Where a local education authority is reorganising its schools by closing two or more of them and opening new schools in their place paragraph 23 of schedule 2 to the 1986 Act allows the local education authority, in consultation with the temporary governing bodies of the new schools, to appoint one of the head teachers of the schools which are closing to be the first head teacher for the new school, provided that a substantial number of the pupils at the discontinued schools, taken together, are expected to transfer to the new school. In these circumstances the authority is empowered to make the appointment in this manner as an alternative to the procedures usually applying to the appointment of head teachers. These are set out in section 37 of the Act and provide for the local education authority to advertise the post and hold a selection panel comprising persons appointed by the authority and no less a number of governors. It is my understanding that in carrying through its reorganisation of its schools the Leeds education authority has elected to adopt the paragraph 23(2) procedures.