To inform governors of the revised model Attendance Management Policy & Procedures and
          changes to the Guide to Adoption Leave in order that they may be considered for acceptance
          in each school.


          i)     Governors consider the Attendance Management Policy & Procedures and
                 amendments to the Guide to Adoption Leave and decide whether to adopt for their
                 own school.

          ii)    A decision to adopt the policy and amendments or otherwise should be taken during
                 the spring term 2011.

3.        DETAIL

3.1       The Human Resources Advisory Service has reviewed the Attendance Management Policy &
          Procedures, particularly in light of the Council‟s procedures and recent developments in
          legislation. The main aim of the policy is to reflect a proactive approach in maintaining a
          healthy workforce and a commitment to managing attendance and reducing sickness levels.
          The overriding principles of the policy changes are designed to ensure absences are dealt
          with fairly and consistently.

3.2       Also attached is a document listing the changes from the current policy.

3.3       The policy has been subject to consultation with representatives of the teaching a nd support
          staff unions.

3.4       The Guide to Adoption Leave (April 2008) has been reviewed in the light of the Councils
          decision to approve a new Adoption Policy taking into account recent equality legislation. The
          new policy therefore replaces the previous Guide to Adoption Leave and improves the
          arrangements for employees by bringing the arrangement into line with employees taking
          maternity leave. The key change is to improve the half pay element in respect of the 12
          weeks occupational adoption pay and to allow for Adoption Support Leave. In addition paid
          leave towards fostering training is also included as detailed below.
         Increased half pay element for 12 weeks for adoption in line with maternity
         2.5 days paid leave (pro rata) towards the training for adoption
         5 days paid leave (pro rata) towards pre and post approval training for fostering

3.5       The policies can be added to the loose leaf-folder (Human Resources Policies and
          Procedures Handbook for Schools), a copy of which has been distributed to every school. The
          handbook is also available on the School‟s Extranet.

          3.6    Some Voluntary Aided schools will have similar policies prepared by either the
                 Catholic Education Service or the Church of England. In these cases the Governing
                 Body may choose not to adopt the model Local Authority policies or continue with the
                 existing arrangements.
4.       ACTION

         4.1       Governing Bodies should decide whether to adopt the revised documents during the
                   course of the spring term, or

         4.2       To delegate this function to a committee of the Governing Body for consideration.


         Paul Hiser              HR Advisory Services Manager (CESC)
         Telephone:              01642 526780

         Susan Watson            HR Business Manager (CESC)
         Telephone:              01642 526951

         Further information is also available via the following website:-

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                                          Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011


                                FOR STAFF IN SCHOOLS

                                     JANUARY 2011

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                                   Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
5.1      Attendance Management Policy and Procedures for Staff in Schools                       January 2011

Additions/amendments to current policy and procedures:

      1. Policy name change

      2. Para 1 Roles and Responsibilities
         1.2 Role of *Head Teacher
         Added: Managing Pressure in the Workplace

      3. Para 3
         Added: Equality Act 2010 which replaces (page 11) Disability Discrimination Act (1995)

      4. Para 7.
         Healthy Workplace Initiatives changed to Management Interventions

         Para‟s 7.3 & 7.4 Counselling and Occupational Health Services: New Provider details

         Para 7.5 Early Phased Returns
         Arrangements for payment on phased return:
         Employees not to receive less pay than they would have if they had remained absent from
         work due to sickness.
         e.g. if an employee is on half pay and absent due to sickness and they return to work on a
         phased return they will be paid the half pay as a minimum but will also receive pay for the
         additional hours they work. If an employee is on nil pay and absent due to sickness and they
         return to work on a phased return they will be paid for the actual hours worked.

      5. Para 8
         8.1 Short-Term, Intermittent Absences
                Proposed Trigger Points
                Triggers for absence brought in line with SBC‟s policy as follows:

             2 absences of any duration in any rolling 3 month period
             7 working days in a rolling year
             Long Term Absence of 4 weeks or more
             Patterns of absence that cause concern

                   Emphasis on return to work interviews after every absence
                   Formal attendance review meetings
                   Flow chart – Appendix 4

         8.2 Long Term Absences
                Stages 1 – 3
                Emphasis on *Head Teacher to keep regular contact
                Written records of all meetings
                Flow chart - Appendix 5

      6. Para 9
                   Health Issues Which Do Not Lead To an Absence from Work

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                                          Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
    7. Para 10 Return to Work Meetings
              Guidance for return to work interviews with flow chart at Appendix 3

     8. Para 11
                   Case Review Hearings

     9. Para 14
               Conduct Cases


     10. Appendix 1

         Medical certificate change to Statement of Fitness for Work

         Information to be gathered by *Head Teacher when employee rings in sick
         Guidance on stress related illness
         Required certification guide

         Taking a Holiday Whilst on Sick Leave
         Accrual of Annual Leave During Periods of Absence (whole time support staff)
         Maintaining contact during Absence

         Appendix 2             Return to Work/self certification form replaced with the SBC form
         Appendix 3             Added - The Return to Work Interview – check list
         Appendix 4             Added - Short Term Absence – flow chart
         Appendix 5             Added - Long Term Absence – flow chart

         Appendix 3             Referral to Occupational Health

* or delegated member of staff

*or delegated member of staff                                                                                   5
                                                Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011

                                FOR STAFF IN SCHOOLS

                                PRODUCED BY HUMAN RESOURCES

                                           January 2011

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                                       Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
CONTENTS                                                                                          PAGE
INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………….                                                                      3

      1.1 The Role of the Employee       ……………………………………………                                                    4
      1.2 The Role of the Head Teacher ………………………………………………                                                     4-5
      1.3 The Role of the Union/Representation .....................................................          6

      2.1 Xentrall Services ………………………………………………………….                                                           6-7
      2.2 Children‟s Advisory Team ………………………………………………..                                                       7-8

3. EQUALITY ACT 2010                                                                                          8
      3.1 How this applies to the Management of Sickness Absence ………….                                        8

4. WORK RELATED HEALTH, INDUSTRIAL INJURY AND NOTIFIABLE DISEASE                                              8-9

5. TEACHING STAFF – DfE REGULATIONS                                                                           9

6. ACCESS TO MEDICAL REPORTS ACT 1988                                                                         9 - 10

7. MANAGEMENT INTERVENTIONS                                                                                   10
      7.1 Health and Wellbeing Advisors……………………………….…………                                                      11
      7.2 Physiotherapy/Podiatry Service…………………………………………                                                      11
      7.3 Counselling Services ……………..………………………………………                                                         11
      7.4 Occupational Health Services …..………………………………………                                                     11 - 12
      7.5 Early Phased Returns ……………………………………………………                                                           13

       8.1 Short Term/Frequent Intermittent Absences ………………………..                                              13-14
       8.2 Long Term ……………………………………………………………….                                                                15-16

9. HEALTH ISSUES WHICH DO NOT LEAD TO AN ABSENCE FROM WORK                                                    16

10. RETURN TO WORK MEETINGS                                                                                   16-17

11. CASE REVIEW HEARINGS                                                                                      18-19

12. SICKNESS ABSENCE AND CAPABILTY (Performance) PROCEDURES                                                   19-20

13. DISMISSAL – ON THE GROUNDS OF CAPABILITY DUE TO ILL HEALTH                                                20

14. CONDUCT CASES                                                                                             21

15. APPLICATION FOR ILL HEALTH RETIREMENT                                                                     21

APPENDIX 3                      THE RETURN TO WORK INTERVIEW – Check List
APPENDIX 4                      SHORT TERM ABSENCE – Flow Chart
APPENDIX 5                      LONG TERM ABSENCE – Flow Chart

*or delegated member of staff                                                                                           7
                                              Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011

Very few people go through their working lives without losing some time through sickness absence.
It is accepted that a certain level of absence is unavoidable, but schools still need to have a
procedure in place for managing sickness absence.

Sickness absence involves indirect costs, as well as the direct costs of sick pay. Employees who are
not at work do not make any direct contribution to the school and often need time to readjust to their
role on their return. There is also a cost to colleagues who have to take on additional work during the
absence. Managers also have to deal with other effects of the absence such as disruptions, de-
motivation and sometimes a decline in the education of pupils. For some areas temporary cover is a
statutory requirement and for others it is essential for the continued provision of education.
Consequently, whenever temporary cover is used there are the costs for this support.

A clearly understood and well-communicated absence management policy is an important part of a
positive, proactive approach to staff management. The aim of the policy is not to “forbid" sickness,
but to manage any absence within the demands of the school.

The purpose of this policy is to develop a procedural framework, resulting in a co-ordinated approach
to the management of absence and to ensure that all members of staff are treated in a fair and
consistent manner. The policy will ensure that all staff are fully aware of the way in which their
absence will be managed. The policy recognises different types of sickness absence and provides a
framework whereby absences will be dealt with appropriately and sensitively. It is hoped that the
management of sickness absence will lead to the earlier detection of problems (both work related and
personal), and that this will lead to speedier medical, management or individual responses.

By adopting a positive and proactive approach, the school‟s aim is that its staff feels valued and
understands that their contribution is an important part of the school‟s successful operation.

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                                       Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011

              1.1 THE ROLE OF THE EMPLOYEE

Each employee should:

   Attend work unless unfit to do so and to inform their Head Teacher if they need to leave work
    early due to sickness absence

   Discuss any health-related problems where appropriate, which they feel are affecting their
    performance with the *Head Teacher at an early stage

   When absent due to sickness, ensure that they act in accordance with the school‟s absence
    notification procedure and follow the attendance management procedure as outlined in this

   During a period of absence, keep the Head Teacher or the Chair of Governors in the case of the
    Head Teacher, informed of their health status, any significant developments especially their
    estimated date of return and attend meetings as appropriate throughout the absence

   Seek medical advice and treatment where appropriate and in a timely fashion in order to facilitate
    a return to work as quickly as possible

   Whilst off sick, not to undertake any work related or other activity which is not appropriate or
    conducive to a return to work

   Provide the relevant certification (self certificates or statement of fit for work certificates), as
    required by the length of absence

   Receive a copy of the Sickness Notification Procedure APPENDIX 1


The *Head Teacher is responsible for managing the attendance of all staff in the school:

   Ensuring that all staff are aware of the rules and procedures for sickness absence and follow the
    sickness absence notification procedures as outlined in this document

   Applying the attendance and absence management procedure fairly and consistently

   Ensuring that accurate sickness records are maintained, that these are monitored effectively, and
    that further action is taken under the procedure where necessary

   Ensuring that where appropriate, action is taken with employees who do not comply with the
    sickness absence notification procedures

   Seeking advice from Human Resources where necessary

   Ensuring that they make themselves available to staff who wish to discuss performance
    problems, which may be related to health or other more personal problems

   Ensuring that regular contact is made with the absent employee to discuss and receive an update
    on the absence and offer measures to help them return to work

*or delegated member of staff                                                                              9
                                          Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
   Ensuring that the following policies and procedures which are related/complementary to the
    attendance management procedure are in place:

         Health and Wellbeing Policy
         Substance Misuse Policy
         Health and Safety Policy (which may include specific issues like HIV/Aids, Smoking or
         Induction Procedures
         Disciplinary and Capability Procedures
         Equal Opportunities Policy
         Maternity Policy/Family Friendly Policies i.e. Adoption, Paternity and Maternity Leave
         The Equality Act 2010 and the HR Briefing 27

   Ensuring that confidentiality is paramount and applied in all stages of the procedure

   Completing the necessary absence reporting forms

All employers have wider responsibilities for the health and safety of their staff and this includes a
requirement to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. In addition Governing Bodies and
Head Teachers should consider adopting or participating in health awareness programmes for their
staff, and encouraging staff to make full use of support mechanisms in order to minimise sickness

Managing Pressure in the Workplace

It is important that Head Teachers recognise that employees may cope with pressure in different
ways and this can impair an employee‟s ability to contribute fully to the needs of the school. Head
Teachers should develop a positive and understanding approach towards the management of such
pressures in the workplace.

Workplace pressures can be prevented through the correct recruitment and selection procedures,
training of employees; not only on specific job related needs but also in general Authority-wide
training and health and safety policies.

The Health & Wellbeing Policy also addresses work related pressure and aims to provide the

        a working environment which enables staff to carry out their duties effectively;
        to recognise the key role of Head Teachers/Line Managers for their responsibilities by
         enabling access to guidance, training and support;
        to encourage staff as individuals to accept responsibility for their own mental, physical and
         emotional well being;
        to comply with statutory requirements;
        to develop and maintain a positive health and safety culture through communication and
         consultation with staff and their representatives on health and safety matters;
        to develop an open culture in which mental, physical and emotional well being is taken
         seriously and in which staff are encouraged to seek any help and support they need.

Please refer to Appendix 3 of the Health & Wellbeing Policy - Making the Standards Work.

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                                         Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011

1.3.1 A trade union should ensure that their officials are trained in the role of acting as an
employee‟s representative and understand the Attendance Management policy and procedure.

1.3.2 A trade union representative, who is not an employed official, must have been certified by their
union as being competent to accompany an employee.

1.3.3 Representation is provided by the relevant union and not an individual union official, it is
therefore important to ensure that the process is not delayed unduly if a trained and competent
representative is available.

1.3.4 Work Colleagues accompanying employees: are responsible for accompanying or supporting
their colleague at meetings, hearings and appeals as appropriate.

1.3.5 Employees may be accompanied by a recognised trade union representative or by a work
colleague. Employees must make a reasonable request. What is reasonable will depend on the
circumstances of each individual case. However, it would not normally be reasonable for employees
to insist on being accompanied by someone whose presence would not prejudice the hearing nor
would it be reasonable for an employee to ask to be accompanied by someone from a remote
geographical location if there is someone suitable and willing available on site. (No other categories
of representative will be allowed to attend). For avoidance of doubt an investigating officer will not be
entitled to representation when acting in the role of investigating officer.

1.3.6 It is the responsibility of the employee to arrange for his/her representation including notifying
the representative any meetings in good time. Where the employee‟s chosen Trade Union
representative or work colleague is not available at the time proposed for the meeting/hearing, the
employee may propose an alternative time within a reasonable time frame.

1.3.7 It is good practice for management to try and agree a mutually convenient date for the meeting
with the employee and their representative or work colleague to ensure that meetings do not have to
be delayed or postponed.

1.3.8 Schools will also need to consider whether any additional support for the employee is required,
for example when a physical disability or other special need is identified.



         The Absence Management team collates and processes absence levels within the Council
         and Schools. All absences under the Special Leave Policy and sickness absence information
         is collated and recorded by this team.

         Xentrall Services will:
        Process all Day 1 reporting forms, which are used to notify the start of a sickness absence
         and the date of the return to work

        Process and record all other reasons for absence

        Process all statement of fit for work information

*or delegated member of staff                                                                            11
                                         Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
        Arrange for a referral to specialist teams for employees who may be absent from work for a
         specific reason such as stress or muscular-skeletal pain and will work with *Head Teachers to
         provide absence statistics where required.


        Monitoring sickness absence records in order to consult with *Head Teachers as to
         appropriate courses of action and where appropriate and when recommended, particular
         courses of action

        Consultation with individual employees about any of the issues arising from their absence e.g.
         duration of absence, effects of their illness, the need for referral to the Occupational Health
         Service and support on return to work

        Referral of individual cases to Occupational Health for advice on such matters as the
         expected duration of a particular absence, what types of support an employee might need to
         enable him/her to return to work and once they have returned to work

        Ongoing consultation with all parties once the Occupational Health advice and
         recommendations have been received

        If it has become apparent that a return to work or a satisfactory level of attendance is not
         going to be achievable, consultation with all interested parties as to what appropriate courses
         of action can be taken. This could include providing advice on ill health retirement for the
         individual, advice on redeployment where appropriate and instigate termination of
         employment if this is deemed necessary

        Provision of advice and/or information at any time to employees and schools about any
         aspect of issues such as sick pay, sickness monitoring, support in the workplace, retirement
         benefits etc.

        Provision of information regarding the Stockton Borough Council Counselling Service

        Provision of information and possible referral to the Council‟s Health & Wellbeing Team

As indicated above, the HR Advisory Service monitor sickness absence and the HR Business
Partners in particular have an important role in assisting schools in managing the effects of such

If it is not appropriate for the *Head Teacher to meet with the employee a HR Business Partner will
arrange to meet with the employee and take that opportunity to discuss with them all aspects of the
absence e.g. prognosis for recovery and return to work, any difficulties expected on the return to work

The HR Business Partner will discuss the absence and any related issues with the Head Teacher
before the meeting with the employee and will have further discussions afterwards. If a referral to
Occupational Health has been deemed appropriate and once the report has been received
arrangements will be made for the report to be discussed with both the Head Teacher and the
employee. In agreement with the Head Teacher and the employee the HR Business Partner will then
continue to be in regular contact with both the employee and Head Teacher for the duration of the
absence, especially if there are issues to be resolved before or on the return to work of the employee
e.g. physical adaptations to be made to assist the employee.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                           12
                                        Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
At all times it is made quite clear to the employee that the involvement of their union/professional
association representative is welcomed as is their right at any stage of these processes and that HR
Business Partners will discuss all aspects of the absence with them.

The Equality Act 2010 that became effective from 1st October 2010 harmonises and replaces
previous legislation such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

“Under the Act a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a
substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities which
would include things like using a telephone, reading a book or using public transport” ACAS GUIDE

As before the Act puts a duty on employers and they are expected to make reasonable adjustments
to help employees overcome disadvantage resulting from impairment.

An employee experiencing poor health may become permanently or temporarily disabled. In suc h
situations, with the advice and support of Human Resources, the *Head Teacher or Governing Body
have an obligation to consider all reasonable adjustments that will facilitate the continued attendance
or return to work of an employee.

The Act includes a new protection from discrimination arising from disability. It states that it is
discrimination to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their
disability. An example provided is an employee with a tendency to make spelling mistakes arising
from dyslexia. This type of discrimination is unlawful where the employer knows, or could reasonably
be expected to know, that the person has a disability. This type of discrimination is only justifiable if
an employer can show that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. ACAS GUIDE

The new act now places disability into all types of discrimination i.e. Associative, Perceptive and
Indirect discrimination and includes other definitions which are Harassment, Third Party Harassment
and Victimisation.

For further information please refer to the HR Briefing 27, The Equality Act or contact your HR
Business Partner.


In relation to this policy, an employee absent as a result of an accident or injury sustained at work
should be treated no differently from an employee absent due to other health problems. However,
there are risk management considerations that need to be taken into account with regard to incident
reporting and The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995
(RIDDOR) obligations. The employee must ensure that both the Accident Report Form and Accident
Book are completed as soon as possible. If the employee is unabl e to complete the forms because
of serious injury the *Head Teacher may do so on their behalf.
All accidents at work must be reported whether these result in lost time or not. Accidents will be
investigated by the school and corrective action taken where appropriate. If employee records show
recurrent accidents, the Head Teacher/Governing Body will consider whether there is scope for
additional training or underlying capability issues.

Notifiable diseases must be reported in line with the Health Protection Agency Guidelines.
If an absence is due to an accident, which is not work-related, e.g. a road traffic accident, the
employee should notify the *Head Teacher. It may be possible to recover damages in the form of
compensation from a third party and the Council on the schools behalf, will then wish to recover from

*or delegated member of staff                                                                          13
                                       Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
the employee all or part of the allowance equivalent to sick pay entitlement paid if this is represented
in the amount of damages ultimately paid to the employee.


Employers of existing and prospective teachers, lecturers and those entering Initial Teacher Training
have a responsibility to ensure employees have the health and physical capacity to teach and will not
put children and young people at risk of harm.

The Fitness to Teach Guidance 2007 document that can be found on aims to
provide guidance for employers who have responsibility for assessing the health and physical
capacity of those who fall within the scope of The Education (Health Standards) (England)
Regulations 2003, whilst also ensuring they fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010

The guidance also provides information in regard to teachers who become medically unfit in service
as well as suspensions or dismissal on the grounds of ill health and barring and restricting
employment on health grounds.

The role of the Local Authority in such cases is to consider in conjunction with the school, whether
the health, education or welfare of pupils will be put at risk by the teacher‟s condition. If a Head
Teacher feels that a teacher is unfit to remain at work the HR Children‟s Advisory Team should be
contacted without delay for advice as to what action should be taken with immediate effect.

Two further documents containing occupational health advice are available at

                  Obtaining Occupational Health Advice on Fitness to Teach
                  Fitness to Teach

or contact your HR Business Partner for advice.


Upon referral to Occupational Health, it may be decided that a medical report is required from the
employee‟s GP/Consultant/Specialist. There are statutory requirements that must be adhered to
when considering access to medical records and information, which are set out below.

Scope of the Act
The Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 affords individuals the right to check the accuracy of
medical reports prepared by a medical practitioner (who is or has been responsible for the clinical
care of the individual), in response to a request from an employer or insurance company.

Under the Act an employer cannot apply for a medical report from a practitioner as defined by the Act

a)       the individual has been notified by the employer that there is a proposal to make the
         application, and

b)       the individual has notified the employer that he/she consents to the making of that application.
         If an individual does not give his/her consent, the employer will not be able to apply for a
         medical report.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                            14
                                         Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
The current working arrangements are that the Council‟s Occupational Health Provider request
consent from employees referred to the service and informs the employees of their rights in this

Individual’s Rights
The employer‟s notification to the individual seeking consent to apply for a medical report must also
give the individual the opportunity to state that they wish to see the report before it is supplied to the
employer. If the individual indicates that they wish to see the report first, the employer must notify the
individual that an application for a report has been made and notify the medical practitioner
concerned that the individual wishes to have access to the report first. The onus is then on the
individual, within 21 days of the employer‟s application being made, to make arrangements with the
medical practitioner to see the report. The individual can request that the medical practitioner amend
any part of the report, which, he/she considers being misleading and where there is a difference of
opinion the individual may attach a written statement giving his/her views on its contents. The
medical practitioner will not be able to supply his/her report to the Occupational Health Provider
without the further consent of the employee.

Because an employee has the right to see the medical practitioner‟s report before it is sent to the
Occupational Health Provider, this can result in considerable delay before the Provider has all of the
information required in order to provide proper advice to the school.

Should an employee exercise his/her right not to give consent then the Occupational Health Provider
will provide advice/ give an opinion based on the evidence available at the time.
Likewise, any managerial action to be taken in school will be based on the information available at
the time.

Status of Medical Reports Received from Occupational Health
The Access to Medical Reports Act 1990 does not apply to letters and reports requested and
received from the Occupational Health Provider because our employees are not under the direct
clinical care of that service. However, an employee will always be informed that their case is being
referred to the Occupational Health Provider and all correspondence from the service is confidential
and written on that assumption. However, the HR Business Partner involved in the case will give an
interpretation of the general message or conclusion of the Occupational Health report to both
employee and the school.


Stockton Borough Council has a number of management interventions that employees can take
benefit from. Whether you report the absences by using the SIMS system or use the Day 1 reporting
process, you will need to indicate as to whether HR involvement is required at an early stage.
Absence Services will inform the Advisory team of those absences that can be supported by the in-
house initiatives as detailed below.

Further health initiatives and supported activities can be found in the Health and Well Being Policy for
Schools (13.1) in the Policies and Procedures Handbook for Schools. For details of other support
services such as Tees Time to Talk, STEPS, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Addictive
Behavior please contact your HR Business Partner.

7.1 Health & Wellbeing Advisors
A team of Health and Wellbeing Advisors can offer advice and support on a range of health related
issues and offer workplace assessments where appropriate. Employee‟s must have completed the
DSE training and workstation risk assessment before contacting the Wellbeing team. The DSE
programme can be accessed via the extranet.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                           15
                                        Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
Advice and information can be provided on a range of issues including weight management, smoking
cessation, becoming more active and lifestyle management.

7.2 Physiotherapy /Podiatry Services
Currently provided by body 2 fit

Employees may access physiotherapy and podiatry sessions, subject to referral and approval by their
manager. A managers referral form is available from your HR Business Partner. The employee will
need to have indicated that they have contacted their GP for medical advice and confirm that they are
accessing the Council‟s service whilst awaiting a referral through their own GP/NHS service. Failure
to attend an appointment without a valid reason may result in a charge being made to the employee
for the missed appointment.

7.3 Counselling Services /Mediation Services
Currently held by:

Alliance Psychological Services
20 Yarm Road
TS18 3NA
Tel: 0800 107 5880 or 01642 352747 Email:

The counselling service is a self referral service and offers a range of „talking‟ therapies that includes
counselling, psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, solution focused and problem solving.

Once contact has been made Alliance will endeavor to offer an appointment within 24 hours with an
appropriate and qualified therapist. A maximum of 6 sessions are available.

The mediation service is an unbiased, impartial and voluntary process which helps parties involved
finds a mutually acceptable way of moving forward from a dispute. For further information about what
is involved then please contact Alliance on the above number or contact your HR Business Partner.

7.4 Occupational Health Services
The Contract for Occupational Health Services is currently held by:
Heales Medical
c/o Woodlands
106 Yarm Lane
TS18 1YE

 The following services are available:
     pre-employment health screening (by questionnaire)
     pre-employment medical examinations
     medical examination of existing employees where absence from work or any medical
        condition that gives rise to concerns about their health, safety and welfare at work
     LGV / PCV medical examinations
     eudiometry testing
     vaccinations
     hand/arm vibration syndrome screening/testing
     general advice
Schools can access all of the above services by contacting Human Resources.
Heales Medical will provide clear and consistent advice based on objective evidence and to pro-
actively support management in rehabilitating employees back to work fitness where possible whilst
moving cases forward to conclusion.
*or delegated member of staff                                                                           16
                                        Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
Referrals are initially triaged by an Occupational Health (OH) Nurse who will decide what the next
appropriate action should be, whether it is an immediate appointment with the Occupational Health
Adviser or Physician or obtaining information from a GP or Consultant.

It is expected that the OH Nurse will undertake up to 90% referrals/appointments as they will access
additional support from a Senior OH Nurse, their peers or OH Physician.

It is important to emphasise that Head Teachers do not need to wait until the employee has reached
a trigger point before they can refer them to Occupational Health.

Failure to attend an Occupational Health appointment without a valid reason may result in a charge
being made to the employee for the missed appointment. Decisions about continued employment will
be based on all medical information available at that time.

It is important that employees attend for an appointment that has been arranged for them. Any
employee who is unable to attend an appointment must contact Heales direct to inform them as soon
as possible but no later than 48 hours before the appointment.

The Authority‟s Occupational Health Service is concerned with how an employee‟s health can affect
his/her ability to do a particular job and also how work and the work environment can affect an
employee‟s health. Although decisions about an employee‟s future employment when there are
health problems are managerial ones, they are largely based on medical opinions provided by
Occupational Health.

The following are the major areas in which Occupational Health become involved: -
 pre-employment health screening i.e. is the employee fit to do the job, whether he/she will need
   any support/special equipment

   full pre-employment medical examinations of newly qualified teachers who have not had a
    medical at their training institution

   investigations when employees have been referred because of long-term or frequent short-term
    absence and provision of advice as to how soon an employee might return to work, whether the
    employee be fully fit on their return; whether a period of rehabilitation be necessary, and if there is
    a genuine medical reason for the absence

   when an employee is not absent but is experiencing difficulty in performing the duties of his/her
    job, Occupational Health can provide advice about the type of support necessary to enable the
    employee to continue in employment

   in considering whether or not an employee will become fit enough to return to work in the
    foreseeable future and what the time scale for this will be e.g. 1 month, 6 months, 18 months

   assessment of a teachers‟ application for ill health retirement through Teachers Pensions

   whether a suspension from work on medical grounds is appropriate

7.5 Early Phased Returns
In appropriate cases where an employee has had long-term sickness absence, the school may agree
a „phased return‟ to work. This may include a variation to their duties or a reduction in hours where
appropriate to ease the transition back to work and facilitate an early return. The period is variable
but not to exceed 4 weeks. This is recommended for a phased return to work although this period can
be extended in exceptional circumstances.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                           17
                                        Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
A medical opinion will be obtained via Occupational Health or the employees GP and will be subject
to time limits and a work pattern recommended by Occupational Health/ GP according to individual
circumstances. Employees will not receive less pay than they would have if they had remained
absent from work due to sickness. For example, if an employee is still in receipt of full pay and
returns to work on a phased return they will continue to receive full pay during that period, if an
employee is on half pay and absent due to sickness and they return to work on a phased return they
will be paid the half pay as a minimum but will also receive pay for the additional hours they work. If
an employee is on nil pay and absent due to sickness and they return to work on a phased return
they will be paid for the actual hours worked.

Where a phased return has not been medically recommended, or needs to be extended beyond 4
weeks, the employee and manager may agree that the employee will temporarily reduce their
contracted hours of work and be paid accordingly. If the employee is employed on a whole time basis
(i.e. not term time only) the use of annual or flexi-leave to reduce the amount of time at work for the
first few weeks following the return to work may be agreed.


The *Head Teacher will monitor all staff absence. Long term and short-term absences need to
be treated differently and therefore will need to be clearly defined in order to be treated


These are the absences that are normally sporadic and attributable to minor ailments, in many cases
unconnected. Often the employee will only be absent for a maximum of a week, but more often for
single days. The difficulty faced by the school is the frequency and often the unpredictability of such
absences. This can be the most difficult type of absence for a school to deal with and the problem
can really only be addressed effectively through close monitoring systems and effective management

Proposed Trigger Points
Head Teachers and Governors can consider the following as trigger points:

             2 absences of any duration in any rolling 3 month period
             7 working days in a rolling year
             Long Term Absence of 4 weeks or more
             Patterns of absence that cause concern

The school will record all absences in order to ascertain whether or not any pattern of absence is
being established e.g. Fridays, Mondays etc. A record of all absences and return to work meetings
must be kept.

The principle of the return to work meeting will be followed for all staff and after every single absence.
These meetings should be used to try to ascertain if there is an underlying problem behind the
absences or whether they are unconnected.

Although it is important to allow flexibility according to the circumstances of each case, *Head
Teachers must ensure that they have a formal attendance review meeting with the employee once
the absence reaches any one of the „trigger points‟.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                            18
                                         Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
The *Head Teacher must write to the employee to confirm the arrangements for such meetings.
Employees can have the opportunity to be accompanied by a work colleague or Trade Union
representative at these meetings.

The purpose of the meeting is to explore opportunities to improve attendance, understand reasons
for absence as well as address any support that could be put in place to reduce levels of sickness
absence and to set targets for improvement.

Employees are encouraged to discuss any conflict they have between work commitments and
demands in their personal lives. *Head Teachers should outline where appropriate, options available
under the special leave policies and/or Improving Working Lives policies that can be found in Section
4 of the HR School Policies & Procedures Handbook.

Possible outcomes of the meeting could include:
    seeking Occupational Health advice
    identify and implement support mechanisms
    reasonable adjustments
    further meeting to review progress

The areas discussed at the meeting should be followed up in writing and a copy of the letter placed
on the employee‟s personal file.

Employees are expected to comply with the advice and recommendations. Employees will be
informed of the improvement required and advised of the possible consequences if this is not
achieved which could include a case review hearing before the Head Teacher or the Governing Body
Hearing Committee.

If there is insufficient improvement in the employees‟ attendance, a further review will be conducted.
This meeting will:
       reaffirm the issues previously discussed
       further explore opportunities to improve attendance
       understand again the reasons for absence
       address any additional support that could be put in place
       and to set targets for improvement

Employees will be informed of the improvement required, advised of the possible consequences if
this is not achieved, and will be followed up in writing.

If there is insufficient improvement following the further review meeting a case review hearing should
be held.

This is defined as absence of more than four calendar weeks with no immediate prospect of return. It
can also include repeated shorter spells linked to one specific medical problem e.g. hospitalisation,
an operation, ongoing therapy etc.

There is no prescribed time scale for determining when to pursue a course of action in relation to long
term absences, since each absence needs to be assessed on its facts . Whatever the cause of the
absence, the *Head Teacher will monitor medical certificates from an early stage and maintain
regular contact with the employee to ascertain what progress is being made and what the time scale
is for a likely return to work.

Where it is expected that absence will be ongoing a medical opinion should be sought from
Occupational Health. The purpose of gaining advice will be to provide an indication of the likely
*or delegated member of staff                                                                          19
                                       Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
duration of the employee‟s absence and whether any steps can be taken to help the employee make
a successful return to work.

Generally, if a long-term absence reaches the stage where Occupational Health advises that there is
no possibility of a return to work, the *Head Teacher must contact HR to discuss future employment
implications and appropriate case management.

However, it is important to consider the need for flexibility on a case-by-case basis and to ensure that
all reasonable action has been taken, i.e. all relevant avenues have been explored, including any
implications under the Equality Act 2010

The following guidance will apply in Long Term Absence Management

Initial   stages of absence (Weeks 1 to 4)
          *Head Teacher to determine reason for the absence
          Offer support to the employee e.g. counselling, back care, physiotherapy etc.
          Contact HR to discuss the case if necessary
          Maintain contact with the employee

Stage 1
When an absence continues beyond four weeks with no date for a return to work the *Head
Teacher should arrange to meet with the employee at a suitable venue.

The purpose of the meeting is to:

         Obtain up to date information with regards to the reason for the absence, any medication that
          has been prescribed and/or treatment received
         Offer support e.g. counselling, back care, physiotherapy etc.
         Refer to Occupational Health if applicable
         Obtain timescales for a return to work
         Agree how contact will be maintained and the frequency of the contact
         Update the employee on any changes that have occurred whilst they have been absent.

*Head Teachers should keep a written record of the meeting and confirm the points discussed in
writing to the employee.

If a referral to Occupational Health is required the *Head Teacher should contact HR to arrange the
referral and provide full details of the case if known. Following the appointment at Occupational
Health the *Head Teacher should meet with the employee to discuss the report.

The counselling service is now a self referral service and therefore there is no longer the requirement
to refer the employee to HR for the referral to be done. (Please refer to Management Interventions –
Counselling Services 3.3 of this policy)

Stage 2
Following the first meeting the *Head Teacher should continue to maintain contact with the employee.
Meetings should be held every three to six weeks depending on the circumstances of the absences.

*Head Teachers should keep a written record of the meetings and confirm the points discussed in
writing to the employee.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                             20
                                          Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
If medical advice has not already been obtained at this stage the employee should be referred to
Occupational Health. Re-referrals to Occupational Health should then be made if and when

Advise the employee that a Case Review Hearing may be arranged if there is no sign of a return to
work in the foreseeable future.

Stage 3
If there is no indication of a date for a return to work in the foreseeable future *Head Teachers should
arrange a further meeting and be accompanied by a HR Business Partner.
Before arranging a Case Review hearing the following steps must have been taken:
      A recent Occupational Health report obtained
      The employee informed in writing that a hearing would be arranged if there is no indication of
         a date for a return to work in the foreseeable future
      The outcome of the hearing could be dismissal, discussed at least once in a meeting prior to
         the hearing
      Alternative employment explored
      Reasonable adjustments to the workplace/job considered
      All appropriate steps to comply with the Equality Act have been considered


There may be occasions where an employee is suffering from health issues that do not lead to them
being absent from work. If the employee believes that their health is impacting on their ability to do
their work this should be raised with the *Head Teacher.

*Head Teachers should discuss the matter with the employee and explore whether any additional
support can be provided. Depending on the circumstances it may be appropriate to refer to
Occupational Health or associated services for advice.

10. RETURN TO WORK MEETINGS                    Read with Check List at APPENDIX 3

Returns to work meetings are an important part of any effective attendance management policy, and
will be held with each employee after every single absence. The aim of such meetings is to provide
an opportunity for both parties to share relevant information, express any concerns, and discuss
problems and possible solutions. It is important to ensure that the venue for the return to work
meeting is private and that there will be no interruptions.

The *Head Teacher will undertake to hold the meeting on the first day back at work or as soon as
possible thereafter.

The discussion will cover some or all of the following-:

   A general welcome back to the school and if necessary, an update on what has been happening
    in the member of staff‟s absence.

   The reason for the absence, (i.e. not just “sick”), and a review of absence records/patterns if

   Whether there is a likelihood of further absences for the same reason e.g. doctor‟s/hospital
    appointments, physiotherapy etc

   Whether the employee is sufficiently recovered and able to recommence normal duties

*or delegated member of staff                                                                           21
                                        Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
   Are there any underlying problems causing the absence(s)

   Is there a need for support/advice of any kind or are any adjustments to working
    conditions/practices necessary

   A reinforcement of the importance of the employee‟s contribution to the school.

Often when an employee has been absent for a substantial length of time, an initial period of
rehabilitation is beneficial when they return to work. There may be occasions where a phased return
to work or a return to partial duties in the short term can be accommodated. (See Management
Interventions – 7.5 Early Phased Return to Work) Prior to their return the question of whether a
phased return period would be of benefit, and if so, what assistance and support will be afforded to
the employee should be discussed.

If a phased return to work programme has been agreed, the details of the programme, its length and
review date should be confirmed in writing to the employee.

If an employee has a medical condition that will affect them at work on a longer term, or even
permanent basis, greater consideration will need to be given to the organisation of their work and
adjustments to the workplace. If it is not possible to accommodate the adjustments required, the
opportunity for suitable alternative employment should be explored.

There may be cases where the cause of absence or ongoing medical condition may be of an intimate
or very personal nature. In such cases the member of staff, at the discretion of the *Head Teacher,
will be allowed the opportunity of completing the return to work discussion with a mutually agreed,
alternative senior member of staff with whom they would feel more comfortable discussing the matter.

If discussion of any of the above-mentioned issues indicates the need for further advice or support
from the HR Service, this will be sought at the earliest opportunity.

Employees should be made aware that these meetings are standard procedure and apply to
everyone. Every member of staff who is absent from work due to sickness should expect to be seen
upon their return to work.

A written record of the discussion will be made and agreed with the employee. This record can then
be referred to if the employee has further absences. Should it later become necessary to take further
action it will be essential that an accurate record is available of when such meetings took place, who
was involved and what was discussed. The notes from the meeting can be recorded on the Return to
Work/Self Certification Form attached at APPENDIX 2 or the second page of the Day 1 reporting
form if the school uses this form for reporting purposes. A copy should be given to the employee and
a confidential copy retained by the Head Teacher for future reference.


An employee can expect to be invited to attend a case review hearing where:

         There are continuing concerns regarding frequent short-term absences and the employee
          has not achieved the improvement required.

         In the case of long-term absence where options to remain in employment are either
          inappropriate or unsuccessful

         They have returned to work following a period of long term absence causing concern.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                          22
                                       Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
   The purpose of the case review hearing will be to consider whether there are any further actions that
   the *Head Teacher can take to assist the employee in continuing their employment and maintaining
   their attendance at work, or whether employment should be terminated on the grounds of capability
   due to ill health.

   Employees will be given 5 working days written notice to attend and they have a right to be
   accompanied by a work colleague or recognised trade union representative.

   The hearing will be chaired by the Head Teacher or a panel of the Hearing Committee of the
   Governing Body if the Head Teacher has had direct involvement in the case. The Head
   Teacher or the Hearing Committee will be advised by an officer of the HR Advisory Service.

Procedure for conducting a Case Review Hearing:

The Head Teacher/ Chair of the Committee of Governors will open the proceedings by:
      stating the purpose of the hearing
         introducing all present;
         saying how the hearing will be conducted;
         confirming that all have the same documentation;
         confirming the number and names of witnesses attending on both sides;
         asking for any points of clarification to be stated;
         reading the disciplinary allegations;
         asking each side to present their case and is responsible for ensuring that all presentations,
          evidence and questions are relevant and questioned if any area is unclear.
The Head Teacher/Governors will then proceed to hear the case. The order of the proceedings is
detailed below

   1.       The Management representative to present the facts of the case.

   2.       The employee or his/her representative to have the opportunity to question the Management

   3.       The *Head Teacher/Hearing Committee to have the opportunity to question the Management

   4.       The employee or his/her representative to put his/her case.

   5.       The Management representative to have the opportunity to ask questions of the employee or
            his/her representative.

   6.       The *Head Teacher/Hearing Committee to have the opportunity to ask questions of the
            employee or his/her representative.

   7.       The Management representative to have the opportunity to sum up his/her case. (No new
            evidence should be submitted at this point)

   8.       The employee or his/her representative to have the opportunity to sum up his/her case. (No
            new evidence should be submitted at this point)

   9.       The Management representative and the employee and his/her representative to withdraw.

   10.      The Head Teacher/Hearing Committee to consider the facts presented to them.

   *or delegated member of staff                                                                             23
                                             Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
The Hearing Officer chairing the hearing may adjourn the proceedings at any stage if this appears
necessary or desirable. If adjourning for the purpose of enabling further inform ation to be obtained,
the nature of that information will be specified. Any adjournment will normally be for a stated period.
The employee and/or their representative together with others involved in the case will be given an
opportunity to provide details to allow the Hearing Panel to make an informed decision. When
reaching a decision the following issues will be considered:

        Employee‟s full absence record
        Representations made by the employee and or their representative
        Actions taken to enable the employee to continue in employment
        Medical advice
        Previous warnings or advice the employee has been given regarding their attendance
        Impact of employee‟s absence on the school
        Support already offered

The employee will be advised of the decision, which will be confirmed in writing. If it is decided that
further action is appropriate this will be detailed in the letter and the situation will continue to be
monitored with a further case review hearing convened if appropriate.

Possible outcomes could include:

   No sanction but a continuation of monitoring
   Management Guidance
   A written warning („live‟ for 12 months) and a continuation of monitoring
   A final written warning („live‟ for 18 months) and a continuation of monitoring
   Dismissal. If a decision to dismiss is made, the letter will serve as notice of termination of

Employees have the right to appeal against dismissal and warnings. An employee wishing to appeal
must do so within five working days of receipt of the letter confirming the outcome. The appeals
procedure will be conducted in accordanc
e with the Schools Appeals Procedure.


Both the Government and ACAS have made it clear that automatically delaying capability procedures
because of sickness absence is unacceptable. In such situations, ill health absences will need to be
assessed on an individual basis with the assistance of a medical opinion from Occupational Health.

Where the monitoring and assessment of performance has reached a stage where the absence of a
member of staff would not significantly affect the outcome of a capability procedure, it may be
possible to continue with and complete a capability procedure in the employee‟s absence. This
course of action is unlikely to be viable if the employee goes off sick at an early stage of the capability
procedure. The *Head Teacher is unlikely to have gathered enough evidence at this stage on which
to base an assessment of an employees‟ competence.

Where sickness absence starts before a school has had an opportunity to assess performance, the
only reasonable option available will be to commence the absence procedure and request medical
advice as to what further action can be taken and whether the employee is able to engage in the

In dealing with such situations, schools are advised to seek assistance from the HR Service.

*or delegated member of staff                                                                           24
                                        Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011

The Head Teacher or the Governing Body may reach a decision to take steps to dismiss an
employee should any of the following circumstances arise (although this list is not exhaustive)-:

        When the advice received from Occupational Health is that a member of staff is permanently
         unfit to continue working or there is no clear indication of a return to work in the foreseeable
         future or within an acceptable time scale

        An application for early retirement on the grounds of ill health by a member of staff, either
         teaching or support be refused by the relevant body and the medical advice received is that
         the member of staff is not likely to be fit again for a considerable length of time

        Where frequent absences continue despite medical advice that there is no underlying medical
         condition, which would account for them

Whatever the reason for the Head Teacher or Governing Body reaching the decision to follow this
course of action, it is essential that the procedures for the dismissal of staff are closely followed
otherwise it will not be possible to achieve a fair dismissal.

The following points should also be given close attention: -

1.       That the *Head Teacher is engaged fully with the employee regarding alternative work

2.       Ensure that every possible course of action to avoid dismissal has been investigated e.g.
         changes in working arrangements, provision of equipment and physical aids, redeployment

3.       Ensure that there is firm medical evidence that the employee is not likely to be fit enough to
         return to work in the foreseeable future or within an acceptable time scale

4.       Ensure that full consultation has taken place with the employee and his/her representative at
         every stage of the process

5.       Ensure that, if appropriate, the disciplinary procedure has been properly followed

It is strongly emphasised that whenever the dismissal of a member of staff is contemplated the HR
Advisory Service should be consulted at the earliest possible opportunity.


Sickness absence may become a conduct issue to be addressed under the Disciplinary Procedure if
the employee has an absence or patterns of self certificated sickness absence (or absence certified
by a sick note) that cause concern in terms of the authenticity or circumstances of the absence.
Head Teachers must seek advice from HR Advisory Service before taking any action in th is respect.

A potential conduct case involves an investigation into the absence(s) and may result in sanctions up
to and including dismissal, the non-payment of occupational and statutory sick pay (and a break in
pensionable service equivalent to the period of absence) Employees have a right of appeal against
any disciplinary sanction issued as detailed in the disciplinary policy and procedure.

The following list is not exhaustive and could warrant disciplinary action up to and including
dismissal following an examination of the circumstances:

        failure to comply with this policy/procedures
*or delegated member of staff                                                                             25
                                         Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
        engaging in activities that might delay recovery or exacerbate the illness or injury
        engaging in other employment whilst absent due to sickness (unless the nature of the illness
         prevents them from working in one employment contract but not in others)

Further information is available from the HR Advisory Service and the Model Disciplinary Procedures
for Schools (8.1) in the HR Policies and Procedures Handbook for Schools


An employee may be unable to continue working because of health problems and early retirement on
the grounds of permanent incapacity may be an option to consider.

Different procedures apply for Teaching and Support Staff because of their different pension
schemes. Information and more specific advice and guidance on Ill Health Retirement procedures are
available from the HR Service.

If you have any questions in relation to these procedures please contact your Human
Resources Business Partner for advice and assistance.

Paul Hiser                      Children‟s Advisory Services Manager               Tel: 526780
Sue Watson                      HR Business Manager                                Tel: 526951

Judith Telford                  Principal HR Business Partner                      Tel: 526976
Joanne Mylan                    HR Business Partner                                Tel: 526954

Anne Rix                        Senior HR Business Partner                         Tel: 526952
Clair Bell                      HR Business Partner                                Tel: 526863
Lisa Birrell                    HR Business Partner                                Tel: 528271

Human Resources (Children‟s Advisory Team)
2nd Floor Queensway House
West Precinct
Town Centre
TS23 2YQ

*or delegated member of staff                                                                           26
                                        Attendance M anagement Policy & Procedures – Spring Term 2011
                                                                                             APPENDIX 1

A copy of the following requirements should be provided to all staff at the School and should be
available in the school office/staff room for staff to refer to.

Sickness absence must always be notified on the first day (or first available working day) of absence.
Notification should be to the *Head Teacher as indicated below – messages must not be left with other
colleagues. Staff are required to notify the school of their absence in person. A telephone call from a
relative or friend will only be acceptable in exceptional circumstances (i.e. where the member of staff is too ill
to make contact).

The *Head Teacher will obtain the following information from the employee:
         the exact day that the illness began, including Saturdays, Sundays, holiday or rest day for
          Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) purposes.
         the nature of the illness – unwell is not sufficient
         the likely duration of the absence
         other jobs held by the employee in the school or Local Authority and whether they will be absent
          from all jobs. The employee must notify their other Head Teacher accordingly.
         the address at which they can be contacted during the absence if different from the normal home
          address and a contact telephone number.

Note: If the employee advises that the reason for absence is stress related, the *Head Teacher should
clarify whether the cause is personal or work related. Each case must be handled sympathetically and on an
individual basis.

The following table outlines the certificates required to cover for periods of sickness absence:

           Period of absence                  Required certification
 1 day up to and including 7 calendar Return to Work/Self Certification form
 8 days or more                       Statement of Fitness for Work from GP


If you are unable to attend work through illness or injury you must notify ………………… by not later than
……… a.m. giving the reason for your absence and likely duration of the absence. Where this is not
possible, you should arrange for someone to do this on your behalf. If you live alone or do not have access
to a telephone, you should let the school know this in advance so that allowances can be made for any
reasonable delay.

If …………. is not available you should then notify ……………………………..

On the day you return to work your *Head Teacher will discuss your absence with you and complete the
Return to Work/Self Certification form (attached at Appendix 2)

During the first seven days of absence (if the absence lasts this long), you are expected to keep in touch
with the school and update the *Head Teacher on the status of your health and when you expect to be back
at work.

For those schools using the SBC Day 1 reporting procedure a Day 1 Reporting Form (which includes the
Sickness Self Certification form) must be completed for absences of up to and including seven calendar
day‟s duration and submitted to your *Head Teacher (who will complete the Day 1 part of the form and email
it to Xentrall Services, on the first day of absence.
Sickness Self Certification forms, must be dated from the first day of absence and include a clear reason for
absence; it is not acceptable to state “unwell” as a reason for absence or leave it blank.

In circumstances where more than one Statement of Fitness for Work is required to cover a period of
absence, employees must ensure that subsequent certificates are submitted on time and without a break in
dates. Employees should also contact their *Head Teacher before the end of the medical certificate with
details of expected intentions. i.e. further Fitness for Work Statements or return to work.

If you are still absent on the eighth day, you must obtain a Statement of Fitness for Work signed by a doctor.
This, and any further statements, must then be sent to the *Head Teacher. During the course of an
extended period of sickness absence you should visit your doctor regularly and submit statements without
delay, with dates that run concurrently. You should also keep your *Head Teacher notified of your progress
on a regular basis rather than just sending in your statements without comment. If the number or frequency
of your absences reaches an unacceptable level, you may eventually be asked to obtain a *Statement of
Fitness for Work from your doctor from the first day of each absence and the school will reimburse any
charges made by your GP for this service to you.
NB – „Regular basis‟ i.e. 1st day / 4th day / 8th day of absence and then weekly thereafter.

*Please refer to the HR Briefing 25 which provides information in regard to the new STATEMENT FOR
FITNESS TO WORK (Fit Note) which has replaced the sick note with effect from 6th April 2010.

Occupational sick pay will be paid in accordance with the employee‟s contract of employment and their
conditions of service

This should not be taken to mean that high levels of sickness absence are acceptable. The governing body
reserves the right to terminate employment before the expiry of contractual sick pay, in accordance with the
procedure for dismissal on the grounds of capability (health).

Extension of Sick Pay:
Extensions of sick pay will not be granted unless there are compelling and exceptional circumstances. After
an employee‟s period of paid sickness entitlement has expired, individual applications for extension of sick
pay may be considered by the Governing Body.

Repayment of Sickness Payments in Cases of Accident:
Where an employee is absent as a result of an accident there will be no automatic entitlement to sickness
payment if damages may be recoverable from a third party.

As it is not always possible at the commencement of such absence to determine whether damages will in
fact be recoverable, the Governing Body will advance to the employee a sum equivalent to the normal sick
pay to which he/she may be entitled, subject to the employee undertaking to repay the total amount of such
a payment, (or a proportion thereof) represented in the amount of damages ultimately received.

Employees should ensure that, in cases of the above nature, they complete an "Undertaking to Repay" form
and return this to Payroll as soon as possible after the absence has begun.

Employees will also be expected to reclaim from insurers associated medical expenses such as
occupational health, physiotherapy and counselling.

Other Activities whilst on Sick leave
Whilst off sick, employees should not to undertake any work related or other activity which is not appropriate
or conducive to a return to work.

Taking a Holiday whilst on Sick leave
Employees who wish to take a holiday whilst on sick leave may be required to provide written evidence from
a doctor/hospital that the holiday will not be detrimental to their recovery. They must also discuss this with
their *Head Teacher who will seek advice from HR, in advance of booking the holiday.

Illness during School Holiday Periods
If you become ill during a period of school closure you should attempt to let the *Head Teacher know as
soon as possible. If the school is likely to be closed for some considerable time e.g. during the summer
holidays, you should send any statements of fit for work to Xentrall Services, Absence Team and notify the
*Head Teacher of the duration of the certificate as soon as possible.

Illness during Periods of Annual Leave
If you are a member of support staff employed whole time (i.e. not term time only) and you are ill during
periods of annual leave, a statement of fitness for work signed by a doctor should be obtained immediately,
whatever the period of absence anticipated. This should be submitted to the *Head Teacher as soon as
possible in order for leave records to be amended.

Accrual of Annual Leave during periods of absence
If you are a member of support staff employed whole time (i.e. not term time only) you will accrue annual
leave during periods of sickness absence. Carry over of untaken annual leave to the following leave year
will be discussed with employees on an individual basis and will be in line with the Working Time

Maintaining Contact during Absence
When an employee is absent from work as a result of sickness it is important that contact is maintained
between the *Head Teacher and employee.

During the early stages of sickness absence regular telephone contact should be maintained. If absence
continues or is likely to continue beyond 4 weeks, arrangements should be made for the *Head Teacher to
meet with the employee to update on their current state of health, consider the likelihood of a return to work
or otherwise and identify if there is any support the school can offer.

Returning to Work
It is necessary to inform your *Head Teacher that you are returning and when, so that any temporary
arrangements can be terminated and a return to work meeting can be arranged.

Absence due to Industrial Injury or Disease/Accident
If you have had an accident at work, the accident form must be completed as soon as possible and details
entered into the accident book. Where you are unable to complete the accident form/accident book, this
should be completed by an appropriate colleague on your behalf.

NB: These records should always be completed if you have an accident at work even if you are not absent
as a consequence.

The Burgundy Book sets out specific conditions of service relating to teachers if they have obtained an injury
in the course of their duties. If this is the case you should seek HR advice.

                                                                                                                             APPENDIX 2
                                                         Sickness Absence Management
                                                        Return to Work / Self Certification

This form must be completed on the day the employee returns to work. It should account for:

a) absence of up to and including 7 calendar days

b) the first 7 calendar days or a longer absence – even where a Dr‟s certif icate has been provided

Name of Employee:                                              Employee number:

First date of sickness                                                               Reason for Absence
  (dd/mm/yy)                                                                NB: this may not be the same as first reported
                               half day/shif t
 - - /- - / - -
Last date of sickness

  - - /- - / - -               half day/shif t                 Date returned to work:
                                                                                                  - - /- - / - -
Was absence due to work related illness/injury? Yes             No        If yes, workplace accident book completed Yes         No

Was absence due to third party accident e.g. RTA Yes           No         If yes. Undertaking to repay form completed? Yes        No

Summ ary of discussion

Manager’s actions required:

Em ployee’s actions required:

*Head Teacher/Line Manager declaration:
The content of this form has been completed and confirmed w ith the employee named above during the return to work interview.
The employee is aw are that should they giv e false or misleading information, this could result in disciplinary action which may lead up to dis missal.

I confirm that a copy of this return to work interview has been giv en to the employee.

Name:                                                                               Date:

                                                                                            APPENDIX 3
The Return-to-Work Interview - Check list

   Preparation                                           The Interview
                        Welcome               Absence             Responsibility               Move On
1. Prepare in     1.   Do not pre-      7. Discuss the         15. Remind them         21. It is important to
   advance of          judge                absence. Try           it‟s their              finish on a
   the meeting    2.   Be supportive        to establish           responsibility to       positive note.
                  3.   Think about          the real cause.        attend work as      22. Express
2. Gather all          your body            Did they see           per their               confidence in
     necessary         language.            a GP?                  contract.               their ability to
     information  4.   Welcome the            Are they         16. Ask them to             keep to their
(Check that the        employee               taking               take                    commitment.
employee‟s             back & let             medication?          responsibility      23. Brief them on
sickness record        them know        8. Was the                 for their               what has
is correct and         they have            Notification of        absence.                happened in the
reflects their         been missed.         Absence            17. Ask them what           school during
days of work      5.   Explain the          Procedures             you can do to           their absence
according to the       reason for the       followed?              help.                   and discuss what
correct work           interview,       9. Seek                18. Is this a trigger       needs to be done
pattern. If it is      what you‟ll be       explanation for        absence? If             to catch up, now
incorrect              discussing           any apparent           yes, remind             that they have
complete Work          and why.             trends and             them of this.           returned.
shift pro forma   6.   Establish that       patterns.              Attendance          24. Ensure the
(PSE 7) from           they are fit     10. Show them              review meeting          employee agrees
Absence                and ok to            their absence          to be                   with what‟s
Services amend         return to            record.                scheduled.              written on the
and return to          work.            11. Be prepared to 19. Record the                  RTW form and
them. Request                               challenge if           agreed actions          receives a copy.
amended                                     not satisfied.         and note on the
Absence                                 12. Discuss the            RTW form
Record prior to                             effect on the          (*Head
meeting)                                    service and            Teachers
                                            colleagues.            actions and
3. Look at:                             13. If the problem         employees
   Patterns /                               relates to work        actions).
   frequency                                it must be         20. Agree a review
   Repetitive                               discussed.             date, which is to
   Reasons                              14. Discuss how            ensure things
                                            absence can            are still ok,
4. Be open                                  be resolved.           even if they
   minded                               Consider                   don‟t have any
                                        adjustments to             further
                                        work if appropriate        absence.

                                                                                                APPENDIX 4
                                               Short Term Absence Flow Chart

                         Employee reports sickness absence to the *Head Teacher.

                      *Head Teacher completes Day 1 reporting form and submits to
                                         Absence Services.

                                                                             *Head Teacher to cross reference
  In preparation for the Return to Work                                      info from Absence Services against
  interview the *Head Teacher will request                                   their records.
  Absence History from Absence Services, if                                  Check shift pattern is correct and
  required. *Head Teacher should complete                                    amend if needed with PSE 7 form.
  and retain Day1 report forms (where                                        Check for patterns of absence.
  applicable) and RTW forms in the future

                                                                              At return to work (RTW) meeting
  Has the employee followed the correct                No                     remind employee of correct
  procedure for the notification of absence?                                  procedure and record discussion
                                                                              on RTW form.

                                                                                *Head Teacher refers to Long
           Is absence Short Term?                      No                       Term Absence Flow Chart
                            Yes                                                 (Appendix 5)

                                                                   *Head Teacher to:
  Employee returns and *Head Teacher conducts                      - advise employee of number of
  return to work interview on first day back. *Head                 occasions of absence in last 12 months.
  Teacher completes the Return to Work part of                     -advise of future action if reach absence
  the Day 1 reporting form (where applicable) and                   triggers
  sends to Absence Services.                                       -agree interventions/support and note on
                                                                   return form. Contact Health & Well Being
                                                                   Team if any referrals to be made.

                                                                   *Head Teacher to:
                                                                   -advise employee of separate meeting to
**Head Teacher to arrange Attendance Review Meeting                be arranged to discuss attendance
if trigger related absence is reached with advice from HR          -advise H&WB Team that formal
if required.                                                       Attendance Monitoring has begun
                                                                   -request up to date absence history from
                                                                   H&WB Team to include in invite to meeting
                                                                   -arrange meeting using standard invite to
                                                                   meeting letter (STA 1).

Expected standards of attendance confirmed in writing to

Attendance improves to              Insufficient improvement in
satisfactory level.                 attendance. A further attendance
Monitored to ensure                 review meeting will be conducted.
improvement is sustained.           Reaffirm the improvement
Employee advised that               required. Further review meetings
should future attendance            will be arranged if required and
become of concern then              absence monitored with support
formal monitoring may               from HR.
recommence and any
progression through the
current procedure may be
accelerated.                      Improvement

                                                                   No Improvement

                                                           Case Review Hearing.

                                                                                           APPENDIX 5

                                          Long Term Absence Flow Chart

                                  Weeks 1 to 4 of Absence
              *Head Teacher to maintain contact with the employee and advise
              Absence Services as appropriate.

                                     Absence reaches 4 weeks

                                   Weeks 4 - 6 of Absence
                            *Head Teacher meets with the employee

 If there is no indication of a date the employee will
 return to work, the *Head Teacher to complete the OH
 referral form and forward to HR Advisory who will                  Employee returns to work.
 forward it onto Occupational Health .                              Notify Absence Services

When the report from Occupational Health is received
by HR, HR Business Partner to hold a case conference
with the *Head Teacher in order to discuss the next

Head Teacher and HR Business Partner (if applicable)                  Employee returns to work
to meet with the employee to discuss Occupational                      Notify Absence Service
Health report.

Absence continues therefore Head Teacher should
maintain contact and meet with the employee regularly                 Employee returns to work
with a HR Business Partner present if necessary.
                                                                      Notify Absence Services
Further referrals to Occupational Health will be made
where appropriate.

  Absence continues therefore further meeting held with a                 Employee returns to
  HR Business Partner present.                                                  work.
  Advise the employee that a capability hearing will be                    Notify Absence
  arranged if absence continues and there is no indication of                 Services.
  a likely date of return to work.
  Regular contact to be maintained and further referrals to
  Occupational Health where appropriate

                                                                   Employee returns to work
Regular contact to be maintained with the employee
                                                                   Notify Absence Services
and further referrals to Occupational Health to be made
where appropriate.

Absence continues therefore further meeting held with a
HR Business Partner present.
Refer to Occupational Health for an up to date medical
                                                                     Employee returns to work
opinion prior to a capability hearing being held.
Advise employee that if there is no sign of a return to              Notify Absence Services
work a capability hearing will be arranged.

Report received from Occupational Health, which states
that it is unlikely the employee will return to work in the
near future.
Meet with member of staff to feedback the report from
Occupational Health and inform them that a Capability
Hearing will be arranged.

                                                                    Notice period in accordance
Capability Hearing held to consider the employee‟s                  with conditions of service and
continued employment. An outcome could be dismissal.                statutory requirements



         January 2011


                                                                  PAGE NO

1.0   Aims and Principles                                     2

2.0   Policy                                                  2

3.0   Introduction to adoption rights and benefits
      3.1    Entitlements                                     2

      3.2      Who qualifies for statutory adoption pay and
               how much will the employee receive?            3
      3.3      Timing of adoption leave                       4

      3.4      Employee rights during adoption leave          4
      3.5      Paternity Leave                                4

      3.6      Contact during adoption leave                  4

      3.7      Keeping in Touch days                          5

      3.8      Returning to work after adoption leave         5

      3.9      Fostering                                      5

4.0   Useful Contacts                                         6

      Application for Adoption Leave and Pay                  7

 1.0 Aims and Principles

1.1      The Governing Body is committed to equality of opportunity in employment for all its
         employees and to developing work practices and human resource policies that support work-
         life balance. Reflecting this commitment, the provisions of the School‟s adoption policy
         exceed those laid down in law.

1.2      The aim of this policy is to inform staff of their rights both before and after the adoption of a
         child or children. The policy applies to all staff employed by the School, whether they work
         full or part-time.

1.3      The Governing Body is fully committed to helping working parents balance work and family
         life, whilst this is compatible with the interests of the School.

 2.0 Policy

2.1      The Council provides a range of support and advice for employees including the childcare
         voucher scheme, flexi time scheme and leave and flexible working policies. Further
         information can be found at the end of this policy and on the schools extranet system.

2.2      This policy only applies to those who are formally approved prospective adopters via an
         approved adoption agency. It does not cover step parent adoptions.

2.3      Queries on the application of this policy should be directed to the appropriate HR Business
         Partner (see Appendix 1).

 3.0 Introduction to adoption rights and benefits

3.1      Entitlements

3.1.1    This policy sets out the rights of employees to statutory adoption leave and pay.

3.1.2    An employee who adopts a child through an approved adoption agency is entitled to up to a
         maximum of 52 weeks adoption leave provided that they have at least 26 weeks continuous
         service calculated as at the week in which notification of matching is given by the adoption

3.1.3    The employee's entitlement is 26 weeks ordinary adoption leave (OAL) followed immediately
         by 26 weeks additional adoption leave (AAL).

         All employees who take adoption leave have the right to return to work at any time during
         either ordinary or additional adoption leave subject to following the correct notification
         procedures as set out below.

 3.1.4 Employees are entitled to up to a maximum of two and half days leave (pro rata) towards
       their training. Annual leave or unpaid leave should be utilised for the matching process.

 3.2    Who qualifies for statutory adoption pay and how much will the employee receive?

 3.2.1 Employees who qualify for adoption leave will also qualify for statutory adoption pay
       (SAP) provided that their average weekly earnings are not less than the lower
       earnings limit for national insurance contributions.

 3.2.2 Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) is payable for 39 weeks and is made up of:

           6 weeks at 90% of average earnings
           33 weeks at £124.88 (rate as at 04/10) or 90% of average earnings if weekly
            earnings are less than £124.88

 3.2.3 Providing employees have one year of continuous service from the issue date of the
       matching certificate they will also receive 12 weeks half pay between weeks 7 and 18 unless
       an employee does not intend to re turn to work following adoption leave. The 12 weeks half
       pay and SAP added together cannot be more than normal full pay.

 3.2.4 The half pay element is made on the understanding that the employee will return to local
       government employment for at least three months, or in the case of a teacher 13 weeks,
       either at the end of adoption leave or at the end of any period of leave, or following an
       agreed postponement of a return to work. If an employee does not return to work for at least
       three months or 13 weeks in the case of a teacher, on either a full or part time basis, they will
       have to repay the 12 weeks half pay. If employees are unsure whether they are going to
       return to work they can defer payment of the 12 weeks half pay and it can be paid to the
       employee if they return to work for three months, or 13 weeks in the case of a teacher,
       following adoption leave.

 3.2.5 In order to be eligible for adoption leave, the employee must:

           be newly matched with a child for adoption by an approved adoption agency.
           have a minimum of 26 weeks continuous service, calculated as at the week in which
            notification of matching is given by the adoption agency.
           give notice of their intention to take adoption leave no later than seven days after the date
            on which notification of the match with the child is given by the adoption agency. The
            notice, which must be in writing if the school so requests, must specify the date the child
            is expected to be placed for adoption and the date on which the employee intends to start
            adoption leave. If the employee subsequently wishes to change the start date of the
            adoption leave, they must give 28 days written notice of the revised start date.
           produce evidence of entitlement to adoption leave and pay by producing a "matching
            certificate" from the adoption agency, if asked by the school to do so.

3.2.6   If the child's placement is terminated during the employee's adoption leave, they will
        continue to be entitled to adoption leave and pay (if applicable) for up to eight weeks after
        the placement ends. As the employee will be returning to work earlier than intended, they
        should give eight weeks notice of the early return. In many cases where no notice of the
        termination of the placement is given this will effectively mean the employee should notify
        the school of their early return on the day the placement ends.

3.3      Timing of adoption leave

3.3.1    Adoption leave can start on the day the child is placed for adoption, or up to 14 days earlier.

3.3.2    The employee should discuss the timing of their adoption leave with their Head Teacher as
         early as possible so the Head Teacher is fully prepared for the employee‟s absence and to
         ensure all necessary paperwork has been completed.

3.4      Employee rights during adoption leave

3.4.1    During ordinary and additional adoption leave, all terms and conditions of the employee's
         contract except normal pay will continue. For example, annual leave and bank holiday
         entitlement will continue to accrue, where applicable.

3.4.2    This means that all other benefits will remain in place. Employees who work term time only,
         have bank holidays included in their normal pay and therefore will not accrue any bank

3..4.3   Where applicable, employees are encouraged to take annual leave entitlement before the
         start of adoption leave but are able to carry over 5 days if they wish with the Head Teachers
         approval. Pension contributions will also continue to be paid, however if employees wish to
         continue to pay their pension contributions whilst taking a period of unpaid leave they should
         contact their HR Business Partner within 30 days of returning to work or resigning.

3.5      Paternity leave

3.5.1    New legislation allows adoptive parents who are notified of being matched with a child on or
         after 3 April 2011, to transfer up to six month‟s of the adopter‟s leave and payment to the
         adoptive father or partner. Please refer to the Paternity Leave policy for further information.

3.6      Contact during adoption leave

3.6.1    The School reserves the right to maintain reasonable contact with emplo yees during
         adoption leave. This may be to discuss the employee‟s plans for return to work, any special
         arrangements to be made, training to be given to ease their return to work or to update them
         on developments at work during their absence.

3.7      Keeping-in-touch days

3.7.1    Except during the first two weeks after adoption, an employee can agree to work for the
         school, (or to attend training) for up to 10 days during either ordinary adoption leave or
         additional adoption leave without that work bringing the period of adoption leave to an end
         and without loss of a week's SAP. These are known as "keeping-in-touch" days. Any work
         carried out on a day shall constitute a day's work for these purposes.

3.7.2   The school has no right to require the employee to carry out any work, and the employee
        has no right to undertake any work, during the adoption leave. Any work undertaken will be
        paid at the actual hourly rate for the number of hours worked. Any keeping-in-touch days
        worked do not extend the period of adoption leave. Once the keeping-in-touch days have
        been used up, the employee will lose a week's SAP for any week in which and employee
        agrees to work for the Council.

3.8     Returning to work after adoption leave

3.8.1   Employees may return to work at any time during ordinary adoption leave or additional
        adoption leave, provided that they give the appropriate notification. Alternatively, employees
        may take the full period of adoption leave entitlement and return to work at the end of this
        period. If the employee wishes to return before the full period of adoption leave has elapsed,
        they must give at least 28 days notice in writing to the Head Teacher and Human Resources
        of the date on which they intend to return.

3.8.2   On resuming work after ordinary adoption leave and additional adoption leave, the
        employee is entitled to return to the same job in which they were employed, or one of
        equivalent status, with protected right to pay, conditions and benefits.

3.8.3   Failure to return to work by the end of adoption leave will be treated as an unauthorised
        absence unless the employee is sick and produces a current medical certificate before the
        end of the adoption leave period, the absence will then be dealt with in accordance with the
        schools Attendance Management Policy.

3.8.4   Employees who decide during adoption leave that they do not wish to return to work should
        give written notice of resignation to their Head Teacher as soon as possible and in
        accordance with the terms of their contract of employment.

3.9     Fostering

3.9.1   The School is supportive of employees who wish to foster children. Any employee who
        applies to foster will be entitled to 5 days paid leave (pro rata) towards pre and post approval
        training. Any additional time required should be covered by annual leave, flexi leave (where
        applicable), or unpaid leave. If an employee wishes to apply for foster leave they should
        complete a leave of absence form.

 4.0 Useful contacts

Payroll or Contractual queries should be directed to either: or contractsHR

HR Contact details:

Name:                  Job Title:                               Tel:
Mrs Susan Watson       HR Business Manager (Childrens)          526951

Mrs Judith Telford    Principle HR Business Partner            526976
Mrs Anne Rix          Senior HR Business Partner               526952
Mrs Joanne Mylan      HR Business Partner                      526954
Mrs Clair Bell        HR Business Partner                      526863
Mrs Lisa Birrell      HR Business Partner                      528271

Childcare Vouchers:

The Childcare Voucher scheme, which is an employee benefit is available to all eligible working
parents that benefits both basic and higher rate taxpayers:

Register free on 0800 612 9015 or at
Please quote the scheme reference: S411287Q

Family Information Service (FIS):
This is a free and impartial service, which provides up-to-date and accurate information on childcare
and early years education in Stockton.

They provide information on all registered childcare and can help employees choose the childcare
that best suits their needs and circumstances.

Tel. (01642) 527225 OR Email:

                               Application for Adoption Leave a nd Pay


Home Address:


I hereby make application for adoption leave and give 7 days notice of my intention to start
adoption leave. *I wish (section 1) / do not wish (section 2) to exercise my right to return to work
follow ing adoption leave (delete as appropriate).

I have enclosed one or more documents from the adoption agency which shows the:
      Name and address of the agency
      The date I was notified of being matched with the child; and
      The expected date of the placement

Section 1
I intend to exercise my right to return to work follow ing adoption leave and provide the following

   The date that I intend to start adoption leave is……………………… ………….………….………

   The expected date of placement is……….…………………………………………………….…

I, the undersigned employee hereby undertake that I agree to repay all gross Occupational Adoption
Pay paid to me after the first six weeks paid absence, or such lesser amount as the school may
decide, if I do not return to work for a period of 3 months, or 13 weeks in the case of a teacher,
either at the end of my adoption leave period or at the end of any period of leave beyond adoption
leave, taken immediately after the end of adoption leave, as a result of a n agreed postponement of
return to work.

Section 2
As I do not wish to exercise my right to return to work follow ing adoption leave I provide the
follow ing information:

   The date I intend to start adoption leave is ………………………… ………………………………….

   I enclose my letter of resignation

   The expected date of placement is………………………………………………… …………….…….….…

Signed:                                                     Date:

Head Teachers

Head Teachers Name:

Please return this form to HR Advis ory, Queens way House, Billingham, TS23 2YQ at l east 7 days prior to the date
on which you requested the period of adoption leave to start.



     The purpose of this report is to seek Governors‟ views on the proposed changes to the
     Scheme for Financing Schools.


     That Governing Bodies consider the changes and respond to the Local Authority with


     The attached paper sets out the proposed changes to update the s cheme and comply
     with revised statutory requirements.

     These changes were considered and supported by the Schools‟ Forum in early January
     2011. The views of all maintained schools‟ Governing Bodies are now sought prior to
     implementation from April 2011.


     David New     Senior Finance Manager
     Telephone:    01642 526981

Changes to the Scheme for Financing Schools


1. Local authorities are required to publish schemes for financing schools setting out the
   financial relationship between them and the schools they maintain. Any amendments to
   schemes must be consulted on with all schools and be approved by the schools forum.

2. Updated statutory guidance on funding schemes for local authorities, effective from 1st April
   2011, was published by DfE on 23rd December.

3. The DfE statutory guidance and proposed changes to Stockton‟s Scheme are covered
   below. Where relevant the existing paragraph in the current scheme is shown in brackets.

Scheme Changes

4. There is a new requirement to list matters which must be contained within schemes, as set
   out in the draft School Finance Regulations 2011. Stockton‟s existing scheme together with
   the proposals set out in this paper will ensure compliance with the statutory guidance.

5. Confirmation that the scheme, and any amendments to it, must be published on a website
   accessible to the general public. The date on which any amendments take effect must also
   be published. Stockton‟s existing scheme is already published on the

6. The Funding Framework (para 1.1) is amended. The revised Stockton version is enclosed
   with the changes in bold and underlined at Annex A.

7. Approval of schemes – inclusion of schools forum role. Therefore para 1.4 would be
   reworded as follows:-

   “Any proposed revisions to the scheme will be the subject of consultation with all schools
   and will require approval by the Schools Forum. In the event of dispute the local
   authority has recourse to the Secretary of State”.

8. The regulations remove the requirement for schools to submit a statement of Best Value
   with their budget plan. The government believes that it is important for schools to achieve
   value for money, but that this can be demonstrated in other ways than a written statement.
   It is therefore proposed to delete para 2.4 and Annex C.

9. Removal of exceptions to requirement that schools must be allowed to opt out of LA
   contracts. The government believes that schools are best placed to make their own
   purchasing decisions and should not be constrained in their ability to do so. It is considered
   that para 2.11 of the existing Stockton scheme complies with this requirement so no further
   change is proposed.

10. Clarification and updating definition of eligible expenditure for the “purposes of the school”
    to include pupils at other maintained schools and community facilities. It is proposed to
    amend the para 2.13 of the scheme as follows:-

       “Governing bodies are free 1 to spend budget shares „for the purposes of the school‟,
       subject to any provisions of this scheme. By virtue of section 50(3A) (which comes into
       force on 1st April 2011), amounts spent by governing bodies on community facilities
       or services under section 27 of the Education Act 2002 will be treated as if spent for
       any purposes of the school”.

       11. Removal of the section relating to the Financial Management Standard in Schools
           (FMSiS). The Secretary of State announced on 15 November 2010 that the Financial
           Management Standard for Schools (FMSiS) would no longer be a requirement, and
           would be replaced by a new simpler standard during 2011. A directed revision to
           schemes requiring schools to meet FMSiS was introduced in 2007. Local authorities
           should no longer enforce this requirement. The Department will consult in the proposed
           replacement early in 2011. It is therefore proposed that para 2.15 be deleted.

       12. Removing the requirement for there to be at least ten banks on the approved list for
           school bank accounts and replacing this with a requirement to be consistent with the
           LA‟s Treasury Management policy, given the turbulence in the banking system in the
           last couple of years. It is proposed to amend the para 3.5 (2) of the scheme to read:-

           “Bankers to be selected from the Councils Treasury Management approved list of
           major clearing banks and building societies only”.

       13. Encouragement of the use of procurement cards as these reduce transaction costs and
           can enable schools to benefit from significant discounts. It is proposed that para 3.7 is
           amended as follows:-

          “Governing Bodies may not:
           borrow money from external sources except in the form of an overdraft from the
            schools approved banker as permitted elsewhere in the scheme.
           invest or lend Authority funds except within the constraints of the Separate Banking

       Governing bodies may borrow money only with the written permission of the Secretary of
       “The use of procurement cards by schools can be a useful means of facilitating
       improved value for money”

       14. It will no longer be a requirement for schemes to have a balance control mechanism.
          The revised paragraph reads: “The scheme may contain a mechanism to clawback

    In accordance w ith S5O(3) of the School Standards and Framew ork Act 1998 (the SSAF Act 1998)

  This does not apply to Trustees and Foundations, whose borrowing, as private bodies, makes no impact on
Govern ment accounts. These debts may not be serviced directly fro m the delegated budgets, but schools are free to
agree a charge for a service which the Trustees or Foundation are able to provide as a consequence of their own
borrowing. Governing bodies do not act as agents of the LEA when repaying loans.

   excess surplus balances. Any mechanism should have regard to the principle that
   schools should be moving towards greater autonomy, should not be constrained from
   making early efficiencies to support their medium-term budgeting in a tighter financial
   climate, and should not be burdened by bureaucracy. The mechanism should,
   therefore, be focused on only those schools which have built up significant excessive
   uncommitted balances and/or where some level of redistribution would support
   improved provision across a local area.” LAs should, therefore, consider removing or
   relaxing their existing mechanism with effect from 1st April 2011. Working in partnership
   with the Schools Forum it is considered that the balance control mechanism has been
   successful in reducing excess balances levels. It is therefore proposed that there are no
   changes made to para 4.2 of the existing scheme at this time.

15. Amendment to balances of closing schools to reflect the provisions of the Academies
    Act 2010. It is proposed that para 4.8 be amended as follows:-

   “When a school closes any balance (whether surplus or deficit) shall revert to the LEA; it
   cannot be transferred as a balance to any other school, even where the school is a
   successor to the closing school except that a balance transfers to an academy
   where a school converts to academy status under section 4(1)(a) of the
   Academies Act 2010”.

16. Removal of reference to School Standards Grant in relation to licensed deficits. It is
    there proposed that para 4.9.1 be reworded as follows:-

   “The Authority will permit schools to plan for a deficit budget in particular circumstances.
   The funding to allow such a deficit budget shall be provided from the Councils collective

               Approval of the Corporate Director of Children, Education and Social Care
                and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People is required having
                due regard to the following provision: -

      a.        Schools must repay the deficit (i.e. reach at least a zero balance) within 3
                financial years.

      b.        Deficits will only be authorised where it is deemed unreasonable to expect
                schools to balance their budgets in year, and where it can clearly be
                demonstrated that the deficit can be repaid in the following financial year.

       c.       No school will be allowed to carry forward a licensed deficit which exceeds
                5% of its budget share in the year in which the deficit is identified

       d.       Only schools participating in the Councils banking arrangements can
                apply to hold a licensed deficit”.

17. Removal of references to ex GM schools. There are no such references in Stockton‟s
    existing scheme.

18. Enabling LAs to charge schools whose withdrawal from a cluster arrangement into
    which they entered voluntarily results in additional costs to the other schools in the
    cluster or to the LA; this is to remove disincentives to the employment of shared staff in

   clusters and partnerships. At present schools can agree to share the cost of a member
   of staff for, say, three years but one school can then withdraw without notice putting
   extra costs on the school actually employing the member of staff. It is therefore
   proposed to add the following clause into para 6.2:-

   “Costs incurred by the authority or another school as a result of a school
   withdrawing from a cluster arrangement, for example where this has funded staff
   providing services across the cluster”.

19. Inclusion of the Environment Agency in the list of regulatory bodies, to reflect their role
    in the Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme. This would enable LAs to pass through
    to schools any costs arising from non-compliance with the scheme. It is proposed that
    para 6.2 (8) amended as follows:-
    Recovery of penalties imposed on the LEA by the Board of Inland Revenue, the
    Contributions Agency or HM Customs and Excise Teachers Pensions, Environment
    Agency or regulatory authorities as a result of school negligence.

20. Strengthened wording on Chief Finance Officer‟s right to attend relevant governing body
    meetings – schemes “should” not “may” permit this right. The existing wording of para
    11.7 is adequately phrased and that no further changes are needed.

21. Deletion of paragraph 11.12 on school meals – not relevant to a financial scheme.

22. Inclusion of guidance in new Annex relating to how costs of redundancies and early
    retirements should be funded; this information is frequently requested and will be
    increasingly relevant in a tighter financial settlement. The 2002 Education Act states
    that the cost of redundancies should normally fall to the local authority while the cost of
    premature retirements should normally fall to the school‟s delegated budget. There can,
    however, be locally determined exceptions to these, and it is also the case that costs
    can be charged to the central part of the schools budget if there are resultant savings to
    the schools budget and the schools forum agree. It is important that any exceptions to
    the norm are clearly defined by LAs and discussed with schools forums. It is proposed
    that para 11.12 be added as follows:-

   “The 2002 Education Act sets out how premature retirement and redundancy
   costs should normally be funded. If the authority proposes to depart from this,
   then the scheme should contain a provision setting out the circumstances in
   which exceptions will be made. Further guidance is provided at Annex B”.

23. Removal of Annex B outlining the recommended respective responsibilities of schools
    and LAs in relation to maintenance, which was useful when these budgets were first
    delegated but is less relevant now.

24. Amendment of the section on community facilities to reflect the change in the law
    enabling schools to spend their delegated budget for this purpose. This takes effect
    from April 2011. It is proposed that section 13.2 is removed to reflect this change.

                                                                                      Annex A

The funding framework which replaces Local Management of Schools is based on the
legislative provisions in sections 45-53 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

Under this legislation, local authorities determine for themselves the size of their Schools
Budget and their non schools Budget – although at a minimum a local authority must
appropriate its entire Dedicated Schools Grant to their Schools Budget. The categories of
expenditure which fall within the two budgets are prescribed under regulations made by the
Secretary of State, but included within the two, taken together, is all expenditure, direct and
indirect, on an authority's maintained schools except for capital and certain miscellaneous
items. Local authorities may centrally retain funding in the Schools Budget for purposes defined
in regulations made by the Secretary of State under s.45A of the Act. The amounts to be
retained centrally are decided by the authority concerned, subject to any limits or conditions
(including gaining the approval of their School Forum or the Secretary of State in certain
instances) as prescribed by the Secretary of State. The balance of the Schools Budget left after
deduction of centrally retained funds is termed the Individual Schools Budget (ISB).
Expenditure items in the non-schools education budget must be retained centrally (although
earmarked allocations may be made to schools).

Local authorities must distribute the ISB amongst their maintained schools using a formula
which accords with regulations made by the Secretary of State, and enables the calculation of
a budget share for each maintained school. This budget share is then delegated to the
governing body of the school concerned, unless the school is a new school which has not yet
received a delegated budget, or the right to a delegated budget has been suspended in
accordance with s.51 of the Act. The financial controls within which delegation works are set
out in a scheme made by the authority in accordance with s.48 of the Act and approved by the
Secretary of State. All revisions to the scheme must also be approved by the Secretary of
State, who has power to modify schemes or impose one.

Subject to provisions of the scheme, governing bodies of schools may spend budget shares for
the purposes of their school. They may also spend budget shares on any additional purposes
prescribed by the Secretary of State in regulations made under s.50.

An authority may suspend a school's right to a delegated budget if the provisions of the school
financing scheme (or rules applied by the scheme) have been substantially or persistently
breached, or if the budget share has not been managed satisfactorily. There is a right of appeal
to the Secretary of State. A school's right to a delegated budget share may also be suspended
for other reasons (s.17 of the SSAF Act 1998) but in that case there is no right of appeal.

Each authority is obliged to publish each year a statement setting out details of its planned
Schools Budget and other expenditure on children’s services, showing the amounts to be
centrally retained, the budget share for each school, the formula used to calculate those budget
shares, and the detailed calculation for each school. After each financial year the authority
must publish a statement showing out-turn expenditure at both central level and for each
school, and the balances held in respect of each school.

The detailed publication requirements for financial statements are set out in regulations, but
each school must receive a copy of each year's budget and out-turn statements so far as they
relate to that school or central expenditure.
Regulations also require a local authority to publish their scheme and any revisions to it on a
website accessible to the general public, by the date that any revisions come into force,
together with a statement that the revised scheme comes into force on that date.

Annex B


This guidance note summarises the position relating to the charging of voluntary early
retirement and redundancy costs. It sets out what is specified in legislation and provides some
examples of when it might be appropriate to charge an individual school‟s budget, the central
Schools Budget or the local authority‟s non-schools budget.
Section 37 of the 2002 Education Act says:

(4) costs incurred by the local education authority in respect of any premature retirement of a
member of the staff of a maintained school shall be met from the school's budget share for one
or more financial years except in so far as the authority agree with the governing body in writing
(whether before or after the retirement occurs) that they shall not be so met
(5) costs incurred by the local education authority in respect of the dismissal, or for the purpose
of securing the resignation, of any member of the staff of a maintained school shall not be met
from the school's budget share for any financial year except in so far as the authority have
good reason for deducting those costs, or any part of those costs, from that share.
(6) The fact that the authority have a policy precluding dismissal of their employees by reason
of redundancy is not to be regarded as a good reason for the purposes of subsection (5); and
in this subsection the reference to dismissal by reason of redundancy shall be read in
accordance with section 139 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (c. 18).

The default position, therefore, is that premature retirement costs must be charged to the
school‟s delegated budget, while redundancy costs must be charged to the local authority‟s
budget. In the former case, the local authority has to agree otherwise for costs to be centrally
funded, while in the latter case, there has to be a good reason for it not to be centrally funded,
and that cannot include having a no redundancy policy. Ultimately, it would be for the courts to
decide what was a good reason, but the examples set out below indicate the situations in which
exceptions to the default position might be taken.

Charge of dismissal/resignation costs to delegated school budget

•      If a school has decided to offer more generous terms than the authority‟s policy, then it
       would be reasonable to charge the excess to the school

•      If a school is otherwise acting outside the local authority‟s policy

•      Where the school is making staffing reductions which the local authority does not
       believe are necessary to either set a balanced budget or meet the c onditions of a
       licensed deficit

•      Where staffing reductions arise from a deficit caused by factors within the school‟s

•      Where the school has excess surplus balances and no agreed plan to use these

•      Where a school has refused to engage with the local authority‟s redeployment policy

Charge of premature retirement costs to local authority non-schools budget

•      Where a school has a long-term reduction in pupil numbers and charging such costs to
       their budget would impact on standards

•      Where a school is closing, does not have sufficient balances to cover the costs and
       where the central Schools Budget does not have capacity to absorb the deficit
•      Where charging such costs to the school‟s budget would prevent the school from
       complying with a requirement to recover a licensed deficit within the agreed timescale

•      Where a school is in special measures, does not have excess balances and
       employment of the relevant staff is being/has been terminated as a result of local
       authority or government intervention to improve standards

Costs of new early retirements or redundancies can also be charged to the central part of the
Schools Budget if the Schools Forum agree and the local authority can demonstrate that the
“revenue savings achieved by any termination of employment are equal to or greater than the
costs incurred”. The Schools Forum must agree to any increase in this budget over the
previous financial year. If the Schools Forum does not agree with the local authority‟s proposal,
then the authority can appeal to the Secretary of State. The Schools Forum would also be
involved if the additional expenditure resulted in a breach of the central expenditure limit,
whereby central expenditure increases faster than the Schools Budget as a whole.

An example of where a charge to the central Schools Budget might be appropriate would be a
school reorganisation. A reorganisation involving the closure of a number of schools would be
likely to result in savings because there would be a reduced amount being allocated through
the formula for factors such as flat rate amounts to all schools or floor area. If the ongoing costs
of the VER/redundancy exceeded the savings in the formula, then this would qualify.

It would be possible to consider savings at an individual school level as well, but this needs to
be carefully managed so that there are clear ground rules in place for applications,
recommendations and approval. It may be sensible to agree criteria for eligibility which are
consistent with the general approach as to when costs should be centrally funded.

It is important that the local authority discusses its policy with its Schools Forum. Although each
case should be considered on its merits, this should be within an agreed framework. It may be
reasonable to share costs in some cases, and some authorities operate a panel to adjudicate
on applications.

There are clearly difficulties in setting a budget, whether inside or outside the Schools Budget,
at a point prior to the beginning of the financial year before schools have set their budgets and
made staffing decisions. Local authorities can only make a best estimate of what may be
needed, based on past experience, local knowledge of the financial position of individual
schools and the context of that year‟s funding settlement. There are dangers in raising
expectations that costs will be met centrally if the budget is set too high, and so an alternative

would be to keep the budget tight and use contingency or schools in financial difficulties
budgets if there is an unexpected need for staffing reductions and it is not appropriate for
delegated budgets to fund VER/redundancy costs. To achieve best use of resources, local
authorities should also have an active redeployment policy, to match staff at risk to vacancies.
One of the permitted uses of the contingency is where “a governing body has incurred
expenditure which it would be unreasonable to expect them to meet from the school‟s budget
share” while local authorities are also allowed to retain funding for schools in financial
difficulties “provided that the authority consult the schools forum on their arrangements for the
implementation of such support.”
For staff employed under the community facilities power, the default position is that any costs
must be met by the governing body, but not from the delegated budget. Section 37 states:
(7)Where a local education authority incur costs—
(a)in respect of any premature retirement of any member of the staff of a maintained school
who is employed for community purposes, or
(b)in respect of the dismissal, or for the purpose of securing the resignation, of any member of
the staff of a maintained school who is employed for those purposes,
they shall recover those costs from the governing body except in so far as the authority agree
with the governing body in writing (whether before or after the retirement, dismissal or
resignation occurs) that they shall not be so recoverable.
(8)Any amount payable by virtue of subsection (7) by the governing body of a maintain ed
school to the local education authority shall not be met by the governing body out of the
school’s budget share for any financial year.
(9)Where a person is employed partly for community purposes and partly for other purposes,
any payment or costs in respect of that person is to be apportioned between the two purposes;
and the preceding provisions of this section shall apply separately to each part of the payment
or costs.
(We will review this provision in the context of the forthcoming changes which will allow
other community facilities costs to be charged to delegated budgets from 1 April 2011,
but this remains the legal position for the time being).


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