Capability procedures: what does my school have to disclose?


You may have been placed on capability procedures and are applying for a new role in a different school. You might wonder if your previous school has to disclose if you have been placed on capability procedures and the full details of why you were placed on capability.

We have written another article which provides a summary of the capability procedures process.

In this article, we look at information which maintained schools and academies must disclose, what to expect in a job reference and examples of job references from schools.

What capability procedures information must my school disclose?

The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 outlines that only maintained schools or academies may receive capability information upon request. 

It explains that your school is obliged to disclose capability procedures if it is a maintained school (ie a community, voluntary controlled, community special, maintained nursery, foundation, voluntary aided or foundation special school) and if the disclosure request has been made by another maintained school or academy. 

As part of the appointment process for school staff, the DfE recommends that schools ask previous employers for details about whether the individual has been subject to capability procedures in the previous 2 years.

Schools are not required to mention capability procedures that occurred more than two years ago.

Maintained schools and academies will be entitled to be advised in writing if a teacher has been the subject of capability proceedings in the past two years and, if so:

  • The concerns which gave rise to the capability proceedings
  • The duration of the proceedings
  • The outcome

Will capability information be included in my reference?

The DfE explains that with all appointments schools should, prior to appointment, take up references from the applicant’s current or former employer, following up with the author of the reference if there is anything that requires clarification and/or appears to be contradictory or incomplete. 

Schools have a duty to their staff to take reasonable care to ensure that references are accurate and fair. References are given at the discretion of your employer and there is no statutory duty for schools to provide references.

Referees must disclose any concerns they may have regarding a teacher’s suitability to work with children. This includes any sanctions or warnings that may have been issued previously.

We’ve written another support article with more information on what to expect from a reference from your school, in addition we’ve also published another support article which provides some examples of school references.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and you are concerned about previous capability information potentially impacting on a future role you can contact us for further advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.