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AFTER THE NEW HEAD HAS ARRIVED

Discussion in 'Personal' started by bizent, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    Why? There is a new head starting this September at seven of the many schools in my area including the one I teach in.....
     
  2. eh???? Alternatively, you might just want to say 'Oh, right, thanks for the heads up and consideration you just showed me'.
    Or not. However you wish to call it, I expect.... [​IMG]
     
  3. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    The last two Heads I worked full-time for were very different people.

    Head 1 shortly after arrival interviewed every member of staff (including non-teaching) and asked them what they thought the school's strengths and weaknesses were, and what needed doing. On the basis of this, the Head formed a strategy/vision for the school's future and always consulted us about it. If you had an idea, their door was open to discuss it and if they liked it they delegated the task to you and let you get on with it. Head 1 was always approachable, good-humoured, and a pleasure to work for. They even invited the entire staff round to their house for a buffet one evening to meet the family. Sadly, Head 1 had to leave prematurely.

    Head 2 stayed quiet to begin with, whilst gathering information, initially seeming sympathetic, but with a determined manner. Gradually Head 2 appointed their own creatures to the SLT and began to sideline established popular and respected SLT members. They appointed a loyal Aryan-looking gatekeeper Deputy to defend the entrance to the fuhrerbunker. Head 2's door was 'always open' but their mind was always shut. Most of the new SLT appointments owed their existence to Head 2, so were loyal box tickers but were not actually very good at what they did, and became unpopular with staff. Large numbers of the older staff who had given the school its previous civilised and caring character saw the writing on the wall and took early retirement, or kept their heads down and their noses clean and took slightly later retirement. Head 2's vision for the school's future involved very little consultation and appeared to be designed to advance the careers of gatekeeper Deputy and other SLT lackeys through spurious whole-school projects. Major curriculum changes were announced in hastily-called meetings with no advance agenda, just before major school holidays, where subject leaders were always outnumbered by Head 2 and at least one other SLT member. Such decisions were usually rubber-stamped by Governors in advance, ie "Thank you for coming at such short notice - your KS4 exam course won't be running next year, have a good Christmas".

    Some people think that Head 2's approach is 'strong leadership' - I personally think the opposite - I think it points to a very weak, isolated and insecure personality. I think strong leaders are confident enough to trust their subordinates, listen to their opinions, delegate responsibility and encourage them with praise. Only bullies seek to rule by fear, secrecy and intimidation, and all bullies are fundamentally weak inside.

    Sadly however, the Head 2 approach is very much in fashion at present, because schools are seen to need 'turning round' in an instant, rather than developing over a number of years.
     
  4. There have been incidents in the past whereby posters have been identified and reported to their employers using various bits of information gleaned from the forums.
    Not all posters have kindly intent.

     
  5. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    [​IMG] Good post. Those two examples, so wonderfully detailed, are of course quite polarised cases . . . . . most I come across are neither quite so horrible as 2, nor so great as 1.
     
  6. The last time we had a new Head they invited us in to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the school as we saw it... then roundly ignored all of our ideas and immediately imposed their own. Nearly a year on, and we're still breathless from the speed of change. Every staff meeting is entered with trepidation - what will they tell us is all wrong and needs changing yet again? It's not a fun place to be.
     
  7. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    jennybrice ........ Are you me?
    My last school went from being quite a nice place, as schools go, with a stable staff, to a Kafkaesque nightmare with people being turned against each other, with long established teachers just 'disappearing' overnight, with the chilling words from the Head, in morning briefing, 'Mr X will not be returning to the school', with no further explanation.
    Exactly the same.
     
  8. I am one of those older members of staff who took early retirement after the arrival of a new Head.One can only take so much *****.
     
  9. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    The Head at the school I completed my NQT year in was not very good at all. She was so lovely to me when I came for interview that I accepted the post (I initially said I was not a firm candidate as I just didn't like the school after teaching my lesson and having a tour.) She just wasn't an effective Head - she stayed locked in her office and left after the school went into SM. I was only there a year.
    My second school had a brilliant Head. He was old school through and through but underneath a stern manner with the children he was actually extremely kind. I made a mistake with school procedure once and lost a child's phone (thankfully it turned up again!) and he completely backed me up. He then told me not to do it again but did it in such a way I wasn't upset at all: he didn't make a big deal out of it and just said he fully appreciated how hectic a teaching day was but please ensure that phones were put into the school office (I'd put it in the English office.)
    School no 3 had a change of Head when I was there. The first Head was a nice affable chap but I thdon't think his heart was really in it and while he was nice to work for the school did "sag" a little under his leadership. They brought in a "dynamic" Head after him who I was very predisposed to like as when he was touring the school he described me as the"young, very pretty lady delivering an outstanding lesson" - I am ashamed to admit I was more chuffed at being described as young and pretty than on the content of my lesson! He started off really well by taking a zero tolerance approach but he did this with staff as well as children and quite a few staff, including ones whohad been there for over twenty years decided to move on. He was also once really rude to me in front of a group of children - in hindsight I think it was stress as they were being very rude to him, I didn't realise they were giving him lip as it looked as if they were just talking on playground duty so I responded cheerily to one boy's greeting and he shouted at me. It was very unprofessional but I can understand why he thought I'd undermined him. He did write me a really good reference though.
    The main problem with that Head was that he also had a deputy who was an absolute psycho - I'm not joking! He was a complete thug and I don't think he even realised he could be pretty scary. He once sort of cornered me in a room (he was a really tall man) and said saracastically over and over "That's fine then, we just won't bother ..." (our department had asked for a couple of troublemakers to be removed from an exam.) My then-HOD commented that she felt the same and she left a term after me.
    The HT at school 4 was nice but very lazy and left the day to day runnings of the school to his senior management team, and I evidently fell foul of them. I'm still not sure how or why [​IMG] I left that post fairly promptly, after just 2 years, but he did give me a very good reference so can't complain.
    Current HT follows rather than leads - constantly looking for miracle solutions from other schools and then panicking when after 2 weeks they don't work and looking around for the next. This does not really work.
    I'm starting a new job after Easter. The HT there seems lovely. Gruff yet kindly in his manner, sensible and calm. Fingers crossed hey! x
     
  10. Veruka

    Veruka New commenter

    I'm not sure but I think you thought it was the original poster who questioned you but it was actually a different poster, which is probably why they didn't thank you for the heads up.
     
  11. Yes, that would make sense.
    Tired. Only been one week back!! (yawning, sheepishly...)
     
  12. I was motivated to make this thread to find the response. Until a couple of years ago, I had heard horror stories from people regarding the regimes imposed by incoming Heads but, like suffering from a bad back or losing your voice, you do not really appreciate these things until they happen to you. Now I know better!
    I have met the thug-type only once before, at my second school. He was the HoPE and went around as if he had dressed himself from the army surplus shop; you know, those drak green jumpers with cloth around the shoulders. We nick-named him 'the Brigadier', as he looked like the character in Dr Who, of the same name. He would give out gratuitous, insulting advice on how things should be done. He was well in with the senior deputy Head, whose posterior he must have licked raspberry-red. The kids saw through him and ignored him, so, I suppose he took it out of we staff.

     
  13. I haven't been round many schools but I've noticed (and other people have also said) that if you get a "dynamic", authoritarian, my-way-or-the-highway head, they always appoint a complete psycho for a sidekick. Definitely the case here!
     
  14. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    Or a complete fawning 'slicker of a Yes Ma'am (or to be non-sexist Yes Sir) person.
     
  15. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Head 1, a lazy little person always out on courses.....golf courses.
    Head 2, trusted his staff to do a good job. A kind gentleman. We did.
    Head 3, a useless fekk, but you could work around him.
    Head 4, self-important, minimally qualified, full of acronyms and bluster. Started a brutal ethnic cleansing of older or long-serving staff, or anyone who expressed an opinion. All promotions then went to in-comers
    To quote magic surf bus:
    Gradually Head 2 appointed their own creatures to the SLT and began to sideline established popular and respected SLT members. They appointed a loyal Aryan-looking gatekeeper Deputy to defend the entrance to the fuhrerbunker. Head 2's door was 'always open' but their mind was always shut. Most of the new SLT appointments owed their existence to Head 2, so were loyal box tickers but were not actually very good at what they did, and became unpopular with staff. Large numbers of the older staff who had given the school its previous civilised and caring character saw the writing on the wall and took early retirement, or kept their heads down and their noses clean and took slightly later retirement.
    Yes indeedy. But if you didn't show signs of leaving quickly enough, bullying stategies would be deployed until you were made ill and left, or handed in your notice and fled.
    To quote guinness puss:
    My last school went from being quite a nice place, as schools go, with a stable staff, to a Kafkaesque nightmare with people being turned against each other, with long established teachers just 'disappearing' overnight, with the chilling words from the Head, in morning briefing, 'Mr X will not be returning to the school', with no further explanation.
    How DARE they act in this way?
     
  16. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    The plot twist potential of the answer 'Yes' to that question is most intriguing. I'm making a note of that for when I finally get round to writing my Oscar-winning screenplay ;-)
     
  17. Richie Millions

    Richie Millions New commenter

    Post 5 Magic surf bus. Most excellent post. Nail on the Head and all that. Saved me writing well done x
     
  18. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    The staff's previous experience was that new heads tended to let things lie for a term before changing things. When ours started this is what we expected. However he led us into a false sense of security as he didnt change for a year. And boy have things changed since then. Most of it is petty stuff, that he claimed he was happy for staff to do as they wanted when he first started. It used to be a lovely caring school with a caring head who had worked there for many years before he retired. Now every single teacher (we are primary) is looking for a job. One TA has taken out a grievance against the head and 2 TAs that were going to retire in 3 years have retired early. One teacher that went on maternity leave hasnt returned, despite needing the money. The head has brought in alot of old friends all of whom are **** teachers, but as he never observes them properly he doesnt know or see it.We are not supported with parents, cost cutting galore, everything is our fault and he is very ambitious. Initially, I thought I would stick it out as the head will move on in the next couple of years, but I dont think I can stand it a moment longer. Everyone who has always been friendly with each other have now started to turn on one another due to stress and friends have been split to divide and rule. The DH cant stand him but it has got so bad that he also stays away from the staff as he cant trust himself to say something that would be deemed to be undermining the head. He is now looking for other DH jobs, not even a headship.
    I have to say that the majority of heads I have worked for have been fantastic, some of whom I have gone on to work for again at their new schools. But there does seem to be a new breed of NPQH young and ambitious types around at the moment, who just dont have the experience or personal management skills and cover up their failings by blaming staff.
     

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