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Advice for those new to Headship

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by TheoGriff, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Keep a Day Book. I kept one from the moment i went into SLT, and it (or they - great piles of'em) have been invaluable.

    Buy yourself a hardback A4 notebook. Number the pages. Write in it brief details of every conversation where you promise, refuse, give advice etc - in your office, in the playground, in staffroom, on the phone.

    Put the date at the top of each entry, and draw a line under it when you have finished.

    Monday 6th September 2015

    Met J Bloggs in corridor, he said problem with his form 8A, I suggested talking to HoY, and advised him to ensure he read all the filenotes about 2 students with problems.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Monday 6th September 2015

    WP came to say that the budget for his dept was insufficient as needed new textbooks for yr 11. I said he had the possibility to vire monies from his stationery and ICT budget to textbooks if he so wished and I would ensure Bus Manager knew this.

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Monday 6 th September 2015

    Rec's phonecall from Mrs Brown mother of Jane Brown in 11A concerned about form tutor. I was sorry that she was distressed and told her that I would be asking HoY to investigate and she would respond by Thursday morning.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Monday 6th September 2015

    Meeting: HG, BD, NJ re: plans for Certificate Day. Decision: BD to draw up and circulate proposed outline for the day by Friday

    ___________________________________________________________________



    You never know when it will be useful to have a note of what you promised, or didn't promise, what you advised, etc. Drawing a line under each entry and having your Day Book as a hardbook, with numbered pages, makes it good evidence in the future.

    I have actually made photocopies of pages in my daybook several years after leaving an employment, when an issue arise and i was asked to confirm what i had - or had not in these cases - promised parents.

    So the final piece of advice is: keep the day Books for 7 years!

    Best wishes

    ___________________________________________________

    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.
     
    popaws and digoryvenn like this.
  2. Snailclock

    Snailclock New commenter

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I have a number of such books and they came in very useful when I had to counter false accusations and viciously exaggerated accounts of small (and resolved) matters, some over a year old.

    It does take time to form the habit but stick at it and keep such books separate from other notebooks if you can or find a way of making sure you can keep the day book notes.

    It is sad to say this but keep a note of every conversation even with those people you feel you can trust at the time.

    Things change and loyalty cannot be relied upon.

    Do not underestimate the possibility of something coming out of the blue at you and you needing to prove yourself innocent of accusations.
     
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    They are good evidence in tribunals, or better still, preventing a tribunal!

    As well as getting parents to back down.

    Best wishes

    ___________________________________________________

    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.
     
  4. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    Sage advice. I've had one for informal parent grumbles fro m the beginning, never thought of putting in staff , agencies etc. Thanks Theo
     
  5. asnac

    asnac Lead commenter

    I've not used a book in recent years. I find that most of the things I'd want to keep a record of end up in an email to someone or other - thus giving the incontrovertible time-stamp that is the main virtue of Theo's book. Sometimes there are conversations or incidents that don't require any email correspondence but are still worth recording, in which case I pen an email to myself.

    Email is also readily searchable, so you can quickly find all incidents over several years concerning a particular person or event. And think of the anxiety if you put the book down somewhere in the school and couldn't find it - that can't happen with email.

    There could, however, be issues with retaining these emails on leaving a school, whereas a book could be considered one's own property.
     
  6. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Yes I see why the email evidence works. The day book though - could you not argue that the entries are one person's perceptions / accounts which may not necessily reflect what was actually said / discussed ?
     
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    An e mail of course is covered by the DPA precisely because it is searchable.

    The legal advice that I had was that a daybook is not a relevant filing system as defined by the F P Act so ...

    And of course a phone call from a parent has no email .

    I'd go for the daybook. It's an easy thing to do to flick through it to remind yourself of what happened in the last few weeks too.
     
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes Minnie you could. That is always the case for contemporaneous notes, yet they are generally considered fairly good evidence.
     
  9. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    Bought a book, parcel arrived, unpacked it in the school office, walked out of the door.....lost it! Is it me? Is it my age or is this a symptom of headship and trying to do/think about too many things at the same time?
     
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    @Ladykaza keep it in your office, don't take it out. It's too precious - just imagine if you left it in the staffroom and peole started reading it . . .

    .
     
  11. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    Don't worry Theo, hadn't even got as far as numbering the pages, never mind writing in it. It never made it to my office! Once it turns up it'll be locked away
     
  12. popaws

    popaws New commenter

    This is great advice which I am going to follow, thank you. Now, off to Staples!
     
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    It's also a good thing to review the term's issues at the beginning of the holidays, and look at some entries and think: Hmn. I could have dealt with that issue better . . .

    Best wishes

    .
     
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I still find myself reflecting on issues I dealt with up to 19 years ago (when I was first a head) and thinking "I could definitely have dealt with that better!"
     
    Keighleigh likes this.
  15. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    Indeed! I could always have done better, I think, looking at the face across the table . . . ;)

    .
     
    Keighleigh likes this.
  16. Keighleigh

    Keighleigh New commenter

    I'm pleased to hear that on reflection there's things you could have managed better as a new head. Gives me hope! However, it feels awfully scary being a new head. The number of times I've said 'I don't know' or 'I'm not sure'. All helping to gain experience but it's incredibly daunting. I now see why governors really want to appoint experienced HT's. They just know how to deal with certain things as they understand the procedures. My mentor looked at some things happening and thought it was shocking! It's challenging!!! :confused::mad::eek::rolleyes:o_O
     
  17. Sistersarah

    Sistersarah New commenter

    I started keeping a day book from my first day after reading this thread and have already found it a useful way to reflect on the conversations I've had throughout the day. It's also helped me to be clear on what was agreed/ actioned and by who when i'm writing it down.

    Thanks for the advice @TheoGriff
     
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    I am glad that it was useful advice, @Sistersarah . Make sire that you keep those daybooks now!

    Best wishes

    .
     
    Sistersarah likes this.
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  20. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    Bump for all those newly appointed for next term
     
    shirleydrum likes this.

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