Case study 20

You are in a new relationship, which is not common knowledge at the school, although your children know about it. Your new partner is a senior teacher at the school, and you are a member of the support staff at the school (an administrator working on premises and finance). You have been asked by the governing body to sit on the selection panel for the deputy headteacher position in the school, because you have detailed knowledge of the work the new deputy will do. Your partner has told you that he intends to apply for the deputy headteacher position. What should you do? Your initial feeling is to not say anything and be part of the appointment process.

It would not be appropriate for you to be involved in the appointment process due to your relationship with one of the applicants. This would call the whole process into question if your partner was successful and was appointed, and it then became known that you were in a relationship with him, you would therefore need to withdraw from the process. However, you must also be mindful that there may be other occasions at full governing body and committee meetings where you may have a conflict of interest, due to your relationship e.g. any discussions on staffing, pay etc.

The Governors Wales governor guide on the Appointment of Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers provides some information on declaring an interest:

The declaration of interest by teacher or staff representatives on the governing body in the context of Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher appointments may be contentious. Schools will be well aware of The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005 but it is important to remember that:

  • Teacher and staff governors do not automatically have to withdraw where their interest is no greater than the generality of teachers in the school.
  • Teacher and staff governors are not automatically restricted from taking part in the appointment process as a member of the selection panel.
  • Teacher and staff governors cannot be required to withdraw as a result of any consideration of the make-up of the selection panel;
  • Teacher and staff governors are required to withdraw only if internal candidates are being considered, whose appointment would clearly result in a vacancy for which they could be a candidate. Such a governor could still take part in the selection panel if he/she has formally agreed in writing not to apply for the vacancy or seek any other benefit arising from it.

Selection panel members must declare an interest if they have or have had a connection to an applicant that may result in a later challenge to their impartiality.

If there is a disagreement about whether a person is required to withdraw, it is for the other members of all the governing body or the selection panel to make the decision – regulation 63