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Addressing concerns caused by recurrent teacher absences

Commentary

School Human Resource issues can be very complex, so it is important that governing bodies review their policies and are familiar with the correct processes to follow. Your Local Authority may also provide a range of training for you to attend, particularly if you are a member of any of the relevant statutory committees, in addition to the provision of specific guidance to assist you.

Your governing body will have the following policies in place, which are usually produced by the Local Authority.

School Staff sickness absence policy

School Workforce attendance – https://gov.wales/school-workforce-attendance-guidance

Staff capability policy – https://gov.wales/capability-school-teaching-staff-guidance

Staff disciplinary policy – https://gov.wales/disciplinary-and-dismissal-procedures-school-staff

The school will have a Managing Sickness Absence policy as well, and this must be followed when staff are off sick. If there are prolonged periods of absence, then the capability procedure could be invoked, in certain circumstances. This happened in this school.

It is so important to ensure that the relevant policy at school is followed, as any errors could call the whole procedure into question.

The process for staff undergoing a capability process does take some time, as the staff member 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. 

The governing body were lucky to have members with experience in Human Resources, however, getting advice from the Local Authority is crucial in cases such as this.

Please seek advice from the Local Authority or Diocesan Authority as appropriate, right from the beginning or contact Governors Cymru Services on support@governors.cymru

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