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A simple request: practical advice on how to stop or minimise bullying by heads

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JohnRSS, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. It's an emotive topic. We all know it exists, and no true professional abuses the power they have. Probably only a minority of heads or DHs really are bullies (as opposed to having a robust management style). This is a simple request, seeking practical suggestions - rather than rhetoric - as to how to stop/minimise bullying. This call is especially directed at those of you who encountered bullying as your career progressed: with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps, what could have been done to stop or minimise it? Are LAs too willing to side with bullying heads using capability procedures to get rid of those taking a stand against bullying? Are unions too willing to accept Compromise Agreements as a quick "fix"? Should there be an independent regulator to fill the space about to be vacated by the GTC? Are the odds still stacked against whistleblowers? I suspect that the key to a solution will be identifying a continuing pattern of abuse. Pragmatic responses welcomed - PM me if you would like to be involved in this issue, or can contribute material for a corpus of case studies. Thank you.
     
  2. It's an emotive topic. We all know it exists, and no true professional abuses the power they have. Probably only a minority of heads or DHs really are bullies (as opposed to having a robust management style). This is a simple request, seeking practical suggestions - rather than rhetoric - as to how to stop/minimise bullying. This call is especially directed at those of you who encountered bullying as your career progressed: with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps, what could have been done to stop or minimise it? Are LAs too willing to side with bullying heads using capability procedures to get rid of those taking a stand against bullying? Are unions too willing to accept Compromise Agreements as a quick "fix"? Should there be an independent regulator to fill the space about to be vacated by the GTC? Are the odds still stacked against whistleblowers? I suspect that the key to a solution will be identifying a continuing pattern of abuse. Pragmatic responses welcomed - PM me if you would like to be involved in this issue, or can contribute material for a corpus of case studies. Thank you.
     
  3. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Ok, I'll start the ball rolling: (This is a summary of my earlier message to you, so you've seen this already, though others won't have.)
    1 Modify the language used in discussion from ‘bullying’ to ‘workplace abuse’
    My observation is that the word' bully' now has negative connotations. It evokes the stereotypical image of a 'strong' leader putting a 'weak' teacher in his/her place. It further fails to convey the strength of the experience of many posters here.
    I like your use of the expression 'workplace abuse' to describe what is taking place. We should take every opportunity to encourage unions and the media to adopt this language change, in the same way that discussion of domestic abuse has been strengthened by the change from use of 'violence' to 'abuse'.

    2 Educate both professionals and the public at large about the nature of the abuse suffered by teachers and its impact on the health of the individual, workplace and community
    We should not assume that they know. Even posters on these forums are incredulous at the extremes encountered, until it happens to them. Unions should not miss a chance to publicise experiences. The media should be lobbied to engage with the issue so that public outrage is harnessed.
    3 Unions should work together to support a number of exemplar cases through the entire court hierarchy so that case law is established and employers face punitive damages

    There IS Case Law for workplace abuse - but not much of it and precious little for teaching cases. Unions do not speak as one voice on workplace abuse. Employers get away with so much because few challenge them in the courts. A few seven-figure payouts in damages will force employers to take their responsibilities seriously and realise that they and the bad Heads they collude with WILL be held to account.
    OGW recently commented on the silence of the unions in the debate about workplace abuse. Where are they? Teachers pay their subs; they should demand better support.
    4 Unions should pressurise the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring criminal charges for harassment when cases are successfully brought in civil courts
    Bullying cases as serious as mine are breaches of criminal law, as well as civil law. Following successful cases in the civil courts, unions and lawyers should press further for the perpetrators to face criminal prosecutions. If we get that far, my lawyer is going to try it. A few abusive Heads with criminal records is a powerful message.

    5 Unions and individual teachers must lobby for influence in the creation of the prescribed regulator to replace the GTC, to ensure that it is ‘strong and independent. Individual teachers must have confidence in the regulator’s brief hold individual leaders to account for professional misconduct without bias or subject to influence.

    I have explained the rationale for this in the 'Workplace abuse, the GTC and its successor' thread.
    6 Educate teachers, leaders and employers in the benefits and use of positive management techniques and provide practical opportunities for the acquisition of such skills.

    Ultimately behaviour needs to change so that bullying school leaders realise there are better ways of effecting change. Providing the deterrent of prosecution is one way. However, unions need to plough resources into providing training and development for leaders to develop non-bullying strategies for raising standards. Weak leaders need to understand 'what's in it for me?' and recognise the benefits in managing their staff in a non-abusive way.


     
  4. Without giving anything away this issue is for me very, very raw and at present unresolved. From my view point it seems that heads do not get the support they need from the LA to tackle these situations and if they try become victims themselves. The victims are left to rot by the wayside while the bully gets the support. I have worked in other areas outside education in both large organizations and small and I have never in 30 years experienced what I have since working in the education sector.

     
  5. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I am so sorry to hear that you are (yet) another victim. The psychologist who treated me shares your perception of bullying in teaching.
    If I can help in any way, feel free to PM me. I am no expert but have learned a hell of a lot in the three years since it happened to me and I'm always happy to share it.
     
  6.  
  7. whoops so sorry I hit post by mistake.
    It should have said. You are very kind gardening leaves, I will do that if I may.
     
  8. Gardening Leaves for next PM!
     
  9. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    [​IMG] Not enough of a challenge, OGW! Riots? Piece of cake!

     

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