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Bullying HoD

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by bubblegirl83, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. bubblegirl83

    bubblegirl83 New commenter

    Hi, I was just after a bit of advice really.
    I have a colleague who I feel is being bullied by her HoD but is reluctant to take it further/doesn't know how. She has asked if I will be a 'sounding board' so that she can vent without it being official and has also asked for my advice but I feel uncomfortable about this because a) I don't feel her HoD should get away with his behaviour and b) it puts me in a difficult position if she later takes it to SLT.
    To give a little context, she is not a trained teacher (it's an independent) but started at the school a couple of years ago as a sort of drama assistant (she is a trained actress and has huge amounts of theatre experience) - very part time, directing productions etc. She now has KS3 RS classes (to boost her timetable) and wants drama teaching too but the HoD won't let her. She has also looked into doing GTP but the HoD won't support her in this. She has directed several successful productions and got nothing but negative feedback from her HoD, often very publicly delivered, and he and the theatre technician often discuss her behind her back. She has a written record of recent conversations with him, including a formal meeting she set up to discuss their communication problems and working relationship and they make compelling evidence against him.
    Unfortunately the HoD has a reputation as something of a 'lone-ranger' and 'maverick' - he is infamous for being rude to pupils (extremely rude), he has been rude to me in front of pupils and the normal rules of the school seem not to apply to him as his results are excellent, no matter what the means required to get them. He is also (IMO) unprofessional for several other reasons but it is the bullying that is the issue here.
    My colleague is reluctant to go to SLT as she doesn't want it to get back to her HoD and make things worse and she also doesn't want people to think of her as weak and pathetic. I would not consider myself the most sympathetic of people but, having worked with this man myself, I think she is being entirely reasonable and in no way 'pathetic'. I am reluctant to encourage her to go to SLT if she doesn't want to but surely this type of bullying can't go on and I shouldn't allow it to.
    I suppose I just wondered, what would you advise her to do?
     
  2. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    The only way to deal with a bully is to confront him via the SLT. If the normal rules of the school and the normal rules of courtesy don't apply to him, it's high time someone ensured that they do.
    I don't care what his results are like. Why should everyone tiptoe round him?
     
  3. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    A couple of things stand out for comment.... Firstly, and in no way intended to defend rude colleagues, the HoD has every right to resist giving over drama teaching to an unqualified member of staff - though it seems RS seems happy for that to occur. Secondly, GTP situations are difficult to find - they need to be funded and often schools simply cannot afford to fund them - there is much more involved than just accepted someone in terms of support and time and perhaps the school don't feel able to. She could apply for GTP elsewhere though, or even consider a PGCE full time if she is intent and determined on teaching.
     
  4. Hi, there.I have recently been a victim of bullying and humiliation whilst pregnant, sick and very vulnerable. (by HOD)And have sought advice from my unions.
    I think you should tell her that you can no longer deal with her off loading onto you. Ultimately it is her problem and there is only so much support you can give before it starts affecting your work. This is clearly bothering you in a moralistic way, and you have been a good friend to her, but she needs to understand that she is using you as a sponge just to keep her own sanity.
    I think you should be careful not to let others load the gun for you to fire it, because the HOD may still end up coming out of this smelling of roses. Bullies often have that tendancy in my experience, usually because they have that ruthless ability to twist things into their own favour
    Don't offically get involved unless you are asked too. Maybe tell her to consult her union reps for advice. In my opinion, She will have to make the 1st move stand up to the bully herself, and you can back her up if necessary.
    LK

     
  5. I can't really add to the advice already given but just wanted to say what a lovely colleague the OP sounds like. It's nice to see someone looking out for a workmate like this. I wish I had someone like you one my team!
     

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