Tribunal rules that heads can work part-time

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The Independent Online

A head teacher told she could not return to a job-share after maternity leave was the victim of sex discrimination, a tribunal has ruled. The National Association of Head Teachers, which brought the case, said it was the first time a tribunal had ruled that heads should be allowed to work part-time.

A head teacher told she could not return to a job-share after maternity leave was the victim of sex discrimination, a tribunal has ruled. The National Association of Head Teachers, which brought the case, said it was the first time a tribunal had ruled that heads should be allowed to work part-time.

Rebekah Marshall, head of Langtree Community Primary School, Torrington, Devon, who is 44, asked the governors for a job-share to ease her return to work after maternity leave.

But they refused, on the advice of Devon local education authority. They said the school had been found by Ofsted inspectors to have "serious weaknesses", the category for schools which just escape being labelled failing.

The governors said they were "looking for clear, unambiguous leadership by a single postholder to remove the causes of serious weaknesses." The tribunal said the governors' insistence that Mrs Marshall work five days a week, was discriminatory.

It recommended that the education authority and the governors should consult Mrs Marshall within 28 days to find a solution which would enable her to return to the school.

The heads' union said there were several job-sharing or part-time heads. They worked alongside acting heads who performed their duties when they were not in school. But some local authorities were still opposed to job-sharing heads.

Kerry George, the association's assistant secretary said: "We have had a series of calls from members who have been turned down for part-time work. They then leave their schools and are lost to teaching.

"Most do not feel they are in a fit state to fight authorities."

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