1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Bullied by HoD

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cottage12, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. cottage12

    cottage12 New commenter

    I have been bullied by my HoD for about a year now. I raised some concerns with the Headteacher last year, then had an informal meeting with HoD to patch things up but the bullying has continued. Had another meeting with Headteacher before we broke up and we are going to meet again on 1 September. Not sure whether I should still try to resolve things informally or make a formal complaint. All I want is to have minimal contact with my HoD so that the behaviour stops. I suggested that she should not be my Line Manager and that contact is limited to email. Do you think this is reasonable? Please help.
  2. dts

    dts Occasional commenter

    Was the Head supportive of you?

    If your HoD teaches the same subject as you, I don't think it's at all feasible to suggest that she is not your line manager - she will need to manage teaching of the subject she leads. If she's leading a group of similar subjects, it might be possible, but could still be awkward for all concerned.

    What really needs to happen is for your HoD to change her behaviour, rather than you isolating yourself from her. I know that's easier said than done!

    If you haven't already, keep a detailed record of precisely what your HoD has said and done as part of this bullying behaviour - dates, times, exact words used if you can remember them. You will need this if you go down the formal complaint route. Have you been in touch with your union?
    1 person likes this.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Get the unions involved - make a formal complaint or otherwise find another school
    crazypineapple likes this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Keep your union up to date with what's happening and take their advice.

    Otherwise, wait for the meeting on the 1st and see what the outcome is. Your head appears to be taken you seriously and the meeting on the 1st seems an ideal time to agree procedures and behaviours for the new year. Both you and your HOD should be at this meeting and agree a way forward. You could take your union rep with you if you wanted.

    A formal complaint, while possibly justified, is not going to improve relations between you and your HOD, which I assume is what you ultimately want.
    tosh740 likes this.
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    Make it formal . If you are being bullied do something about it .

    The issue about a meeting on the first day back though is of concern if it becomes a meeting about something else e.g, a dip in Summer results instead.; a review of your performance on this cycle...

    Better to involve the Union or have a trusted witness as support with you in the meeting.
    crazypineapple and JohnJCazorla like this.
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    And let their tyres down!:mad:
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Bullies don't stop until either someone seniorstops them or somebody leaves I find.
    crazypineapple likes this.
  8. cottage12

    cottage12 New commenter

    Thank you for all your replies. The Head seemed supportive and I've always thought that she was fair and level-headed. But we'll see on 1 September. My HoD doesn't line manage all of us, some are done by the Second, so I'm hoping I might be managed by her. I have absolutely no trust and confidence in my HoD as a manager so I don't see how she can possibly be my line manager. I've already had a meeting with her where it seemed like things got resolved but she didn't change her behaviour, so I think having minimal contact with her is the best way forward. She still will be my HoD so I have to follow her instructions etc., by using email at least it will be transparent what it is she wants and that she treats me the same as everyone else in the department.
    If I took the formal route, what are the likely consequences for both sides? Has anyone had a similar experience?
    I wouldn't like to leave my school over this as it's a nice place and if my HoD wasn't there it would be perfect.
  9. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    All it takes is one person like that.

    We had to endure a few years of a person like that - in the end they moved on to resume their serial bullying elsewhere.
  10. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    The problem with the formal route is evidence. Unless there is sufficient evidence to back you up, then there is a possibility that your HoD will be exonerated, leaving you isolated. If you have enough evidence, then the HoD is likely to be in trouble and could even be fired, and you could find yourself less than popular with any friends she has in the school. We might even see her posting on this forum. Either way, the consequences are not likely to be great for you, so it is probably a last resort, which is not to say that you shouldn't do it if nothing else works.

    Once, in my pre-teaching days, I was bullied by a senior mamager, who tried to get me blamed for his mistake. I didn't think I had enough evidence to make a formal complaint, so I suffered as you have been doing. Fortunately, other directors of the company got wind of it and realised what was going on; two of them took me out for a drink and advised me not to resign and my manager was forced out a few weeks later. I then realised that I was not the only person he was sticking a knife into.
  11. cottage12

    cottage12 New commenter

    I don't think she has many friends! None of the other teachers like her but she claims to be 'great friends' with the executive head. Her behaviour would definitely not be acceptable in the private sector. Blaming me for her mistakes is just one example. I do have some evidence about which the Head knows, but I think I will go the formal route as a last resort. Will see what the outcome of the meeting is and make the decision then. The Head said she didn't want me to leave but it might have been because she didn't want to lose another teacher on the last day of term! We lost quite a few people this year for various reasons. Anyhow I have to try and put it out of my mind as it's still a long time before anything can be resolved. I don't want this to ruin my holidays. Thank you of all your advice. I will keep you posted.
    crazypineapple likes this.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    There is some phrase somewhere that says something like:
    The only thing worse than losing is winning.

    The formal route will not improve relations and will, whatever the outcome, sever them completely.
    People who aren't very nice, don't suddenly start playing by the rules when confronted in a formal sense.

    Your head seems to be doing what they can, you need to give them the chance to make things better. You had one meeting, but the outcomes weren't what you hoped. Now the head has called another meeting on the first day back, ready for the new year. You really, really need to try that way first.

    Try to forget it all over the holidays and have a break. Don't think about school or your HOD at all.
    Sundaytrekker and Piranha like this.
  13. knitone

    knitone Lead commenter

    Until then remember to follow up every instruction or request with an email of your own, something along the lines of:
    "Further to our conversation earlier today, please can I confirm that you would like me to do x, y and z by the end of whenever?
    Kind regards,
    Cottage 12"
    This way you will have a record of her instructions for reference and are showing that you, at least, are prepared to behave professionally.
    I, too, was once line-managed by an utter buffoon. It is amazing how much pleasure you can get by smiling sweetly and appearing totally impervious to their fackwittery.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I'd still let her tyres down.
  15. install

    install Star commenter

    When it comes to bullying, for me - the formal route is the best one. Happened years ago to me -so I went formal and it sorted the situation out. The bully assumed I would never go down that route and was well in with Senior Managers prior to it. I did try informal first though and didn't get anywhere.

    The thing with bullying is that it shouldn't be allowed to be hidden. The ht at the time tried to avoid dealing with it until it became formal...when they had to.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
    crazypineapple likes this.
  16. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Yes we experienced similar. We took union advice which looking back was common sense really. Our HOD was actually well meaning but was simply too despotic and this came across as badly. We had to be assertive using words such as " I am happy to do this but when I have time. I will attempt to do it "

    As an experienced previous HOF I really can't begin to understand how some HOFs think that mananging people means treating them in such a way ... it's counter productive. Let us know how it goes and good luck.
    install likes this.
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    In the case of the bully that blighted our department it was just the person in question was incapable of forming any sort of friendship/relationship with anyone.

    From what I've heard this hasn't changed much at the school they went to.
  18. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Yes and unfortunately esp if it's a less senior member making the complaint

    Absolutely otherwise it will remain and cause upset for even more in the dept.
    install likes this.

Share This Page