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Bullying headteacher

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Soundslikefiction, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. Soundslikefiction

    Soundslikefiction New commenter

    So what can actually be done about a Headteacher who is a bully? One who lies, manipulates and divides as a way of retaining control?

    LA investigated grievance against him and upheld many complaints but HT refused to recognise conclusions or consequent recommendations.

    He has lost more than one employment tribunal against him (victimisation, discrimination, harassment, breach of contract) but no public backlash as was anonymised. LA paid the fees and damages. Found to have lied under oath.

    Governors are too scared to challenge him because they have been complicit in his actions and he got a decent Ofsted last time. Senior governor says not interested in the law, just running the school. Governors will back him over staff.

    LA say it's up to Governors.

    Unions at a bit of a loss as usually tribunal is the nuclear option but he's a veteran now and gets in no trouble when he loses.

    Ofsted are not interested and say complain to LA.

    TRA are not a body you can whistleblow to.

    Can this man really just go on ruining people's lives, wasting council money on legal fees and destroying a previously harmonious school community without any consequences?
  2. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    There's the reason he's still there, and that's his potential vulnerability.
    Organise the union locally and strike during the next OFSTED inspection.
    Not easy, but it can be done.
  3. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    If the LA and governors won't take action then for the moment he will be staying. He is probably waiting for the LA to give him a very substantial sum of money as an inducement to leave / retire. Which really stinks.
    The answer is for all the staff to leave, find jobs elsewhere, life is too short to go through all this stress. You also have to find a way to get the message out there about this persons behavior so that any one thinking of joining the school is forewarned. You say this has been anonymised but if his behavior is to the detriment of the health and welfare of staff then I feel you have a right to 'whistle blow' Check the LA's policy on this.
    If the school cannot fill vacancies, hopefully a lot of vacancies, this will impact on the school and reflect on this HT. Which might prompt the LA and governors into action.
    Ignore any nonsense about putting the pupils first. This is the emotional blackmail used by all bullying HT's. This HT does not put the pupils first, nor do the LA or governors.
    This HT, like all SLT bullies, works to the detriment of pupils and does not care about what damage they do along the way, I wonder how many good teachers have left the profession because of SLT bullying?
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    The sad fact is - very little

    The answer is to move schools
  5. Soundslikefiction

    Soundslikefiction New commenter

    Thanks for replies.

    Unions would strike but feel it would just be those brave staff who would as most would be terrified to publicly cross him. And nobody really wants a bad ofsted outcome for the school as that is more pressure for staff.

    Yes whistleblowing is the answer but at this point the question is to who? Apart from the TRA who are not a body on the official list, who is left?

    Many staff have left but are replaced with cheaper staff so he isn't peturbed by this. He can always hire people round here.

    Some people who have become targets want to leave but he is twisted with references too. Lies about why people are leaving or have left and makes up safeguarding concerns.

    He is actually dangerous.
  6. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    You can Whistle blow to anyone who will listen - can you open anonymous social media accounts, I know this is going down a dark route and I would not normally advise this course of action but it sounds like you are running out of options. This type of behavior has to be stopped.
    Think carefully before you go down this route, Leaving is probably your best option.
    Remember never say anything in a public forum that you cannot prove.
    PS - to protect yourself you could secretly record any conversations with him or members of his team or any snitches he has in the staff room.
    Also - your profile gives the year you started teaching and your subject. if he was to pick up on this thread it makes you very identifiable.
    Ultimately you main course of action is to leave ASAP I would like to think that we can stamp out this sort of behavior in schools and I admire you for wanting to try but in reality it is not worth the fight
  7. Soundslikefiction

    Soundslikefiction New commenter

    Thank you, have edited profile.

    I know I will leave soon but what about those left behind?

    Can't quite believe that this man is allowed to do whatever he wants with no consequences. Even though he has repeatedly broken the law.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    What do you think Ofsted would do then? Downgrade the school because there is a strike? Or reschedule the inspection?
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    They might look more closely at the school leadership to wonder why there a strike at that school at that time...Or at least I hope they would.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Not if you want the full legal protection given to whistleblowers you can't. It has to be to one of the approved bodies (or whatever the proper name for them is), as OP has indicated.

    I think there is little OP can do other than leave or put up with it. Have the union considered whether anti-harassment law could be used?
  11. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Regarding references, you would just need to explain the situation to prospective HTs and ask if they can accept just one reference or a replacement reference from someone else at your current school. The HT surely knows that lying on a reference is not sensible.

    So sorry you're going through this. I know what it is like, I had a year of absolute hell. You need to leave, start fresh and put this HT behind you.
    install likes this.
  12. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    Since inspections only have a days notice, I don't think you can set up a strike in that time. Yes the staff could write to OFSTED to register their concerns but would have to show how this behavior was having a detrimental impact on pupils.
    Why would we think OFSTED give a 'you know what' about the welfare of teachers anyway.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    What result are you looking for?
    And what is your interest in him leaving?
    It's just that you talk of consequences rather than his issues actually being addressed and worked on.
    Therefore you seem to be "no fan" of his.
    Therefore I just wondered if this contributes to the bad picture you paint of him?
    Maybe it's an odd question, but the act of whistle blowing can be propelled by a perception that disaster could be averted, or it can also be propelled by wanting to get back at someone.
    phlogiston and starlightexpress like this.
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I would just leave - any other cause of action may end your career.
  15. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    The LA CAN take action.
    They can:
    - put pressure/ advise on governors;
    - offer HR linked packages;
    - put in scrutiny/ increased accountability;
    - put in ‘external’ additional scrutiny to make judgement;
    - have conversations with HT- a LA school would have a linked improvement partner;
    - input their view in PM process.

    They can do all manner of things to aim to get a ‘move on’ or to get a message across. They typically have a fair bit of clout with governors. Governors are usually guided by the LA Linked Advisor in LA schools.

    If they’re not doing what they are able to, they clearly do not hold concern, or significant concern. Or hold no integrity or willingness or ability to challenge. There may be more to the ET case? Maybe the ET outcome was partly due to their advice/ support not being robust? ETs may happen with any organisation. It might not indicate concern and if a case progresses that fair, it would mean aiming for the unpicking in that context (settlements often occur before ET). It clearly was not put in the public domain.

    However, if a HT is deemed as successful in how schools are judged, would there be need for the LA to take action?

    Other investigations should also be confidential. I’m intrigued as to how you know the level of information you do regarding view on/ complaint / grievance regarding the HT. That in itself is concerning. It should not be the case. It is perhaps indicative of the whole culture. I’d be unhappy knowing all that.

    If recruitment is not challenging, then staff leaving will not be viewed as an issue. Particularly if it helps the budget.

    OP- If I felt as strongly as you do I’d see two options- leave and not be any part of it or take brave steps to raise concerns formally. Those who are not happy need to follow through on comments to leave. If you stay, surely it’s not as bad as presented?

    I would not work anywhere where I felt any person to be ‘dangerous’. If I felt as strongly to post the information you have to seek advice, I would be out of that context immediately. If it was going to change, it would have. It’s not going to change if it’s as you describe.
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  16. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    But it has already been reported to Ofsted and they have declined to take action, according to OP.

    Anyway it's not possible in practice to strike when Ofsted come in the way suggested. Ofsted arrive with almost no notice and are gone after one day. A legal strike ballot couldn't be called in that time.
  17. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    Good point - that's why I refer to doing it anonymously. But in reality this could only be a last resort and unlikely to achieve much, leaving is the best option. I am guessing that the OP will probably leave anyway, they may be feeling some degree of guilt that nothing has worked with this HT and that in September a new group of teachers will arrive at the school and have their lives blighted by the same behavior from the HT.
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I think that most of the things an LA might be able to do require the support of governors and OP is clear that they back the head up and aren't much interested in what the LA thinks. Unless the school met the 'Schools Causing Concern' threshold LAs have almost no powers to intervene. It doesn't seem to me that this school would meet SCC criteria.

    In the past I agree LAs could exert significant informal influence but i don't see that in LAs I work with nowadays (I am a National Leader of Governance). Especially in secondary schools (I'm guessing this is a secondary). LA's statutory role has been mostly removed and resources stripped from them. LAs can rarely afford a school improvement adviser for every school any longer.

    I too wondered about the 'grievance' decided by the LA and how that came about. The LA has no statutory power to set up formal grievance hearings, only the governors can do that. Which probably explains, in part, why the Head ignored the LA's grievance decision.
  19. Soundslikefiction

    Soundslikefiction New commenter

    I have a strong view as I am one of the people he has targeted and he has also targeted others I care about. I care that a school which was a lovely place to work has become a place of division and fear.

    ET outcomes were because Head ignored LA advice.

    LA have tried to offer recommendations but HT ignored them and governors accepted this.
  20. Soundslikefiction

    Soundslikefiction New commenter

    The LA held grievance investigation as staff member's grievance to governors was ignored so staff member then sent it on to LA.

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