Dismissing a member of staff for incompetence
Insight – Primary School
What was the issue addressed?
We had to dismiss a member of staff because they could no longer fulfil their duties. The Local Authority HR department acted as an advocate for the staff member rather than an advisor to the GB.
We had to take independent advice and then carefully work through the process to ultimately dismiss the staff member. This was a very slow and long winded process. Ultimately, the staff member was removed.
What lessons were learnt?
The key is to remain focused, follow the process exactly and remember to keep the matter confidential within the sub-committee dealing with the matter so that any potential appeal will not be tainted.
All schools must have a policy that deals with the capability of staff at the school, agreed and adopted by the governing body. It is noted that the governor felt the process took time, but staff undergoing a capability process must be offered the opportunity to improve and support must be provided.
There is usually a 3-step approach which includes an informal stage with a support programme put in place, to a more formal stage when warnings may be issued, to the final stage of dismissal. There is national guidance from Welsh Government on dealing with capability of teaching staff, and separate guidance for dealing with the capability of headteachers.
Capability procedures are confidential to those involved so it was correct that discussion did not take place at full governing body meetings. This would have tainted governors who might be involved in any further stage of the process.
There should also be support available to the staff disciplinary committee who met to dismiss the member of staff following the capability process, if not from a different officer from the Human Resource department, but possibly from Governor Support. Support and advice are also available from Governors Cymru Services.
Has your governing body ever had to address a case of a poorly performing teacher?
What would your biggest concerns be about dismissing a member of school staff?
Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?