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Departmental Meetings - Guidelines

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by eloisefour4, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. eloisefour4

    eloisefour4 New commenter

    It was always my understanding (and indeed I thought it was a management 101) that for regular, scheduled Departmental Meetings, an agenda would be provided at least a few days in advance, that a member of Senior Management (as a link person ) would be in attendance at most of these meetings and that someone would be assigned to take minutes at these Meetings which would then be distributed to all parties attending.

    I thought this was good professional practise.

    However it is now the opinion of my union rep that this does not have to be the case - that Meetings can be organised at any time and that these elements do not necessarily have to be in place.

    I was concerned about the intimidating nature of some Departmental meetings so I requested as part of 'reasonable adjustments' II have a disability as the result of bullying at a previous school) that these stipulations be adhered to and it was agreed that this would be the case. However it did not last and there has been a recent incident of harassment and bullying.

    What comeback can an ordinary teacher have if a Line Manger decides to organise a meeting at a moments notice - with no member of Senior management present and no one assigned to take minutes if the sole purpose of this meeting seems to be to 'have a go at ordinary Teaching staff?'

    This has major ramifications re: bullying, no?
  2. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    Calling meetings at random without any regard to the calendar etc isn't ok. Though if it's a quick 5/10 mins to save finding everyone or loads of emails I think it's reasonable.
    Generally there's a short agenda. Not always given in advance in my experience. Not every team meeting I've been to has had formal minutes taken.

    I've only had 1 situation where SLT came into team meetings and that was when they started attending pastoral ones. Staff weren't thrilled about it and felt spied upon Thankfully we had a fabulous link and they'd leave part way through because "you may have things to raise as a team that you don't want slt sitting in on".
  3. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Which Union has told you this information.? Is it just the school rep ? Have checked higher up for Union advice.

    Note what purple carrot says in the first sentence of their e-mail. Clearly you will be doing something else outside of school if a meeting is called at short notice. Central heating boiler broken down, engineer coming to check it out. Will HD pay the cost of call out charge if you are not at home ,when the work person calls.
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Ours are OK - they just drag on for hours though because they are not very well organised and the same people want to argue every single point.
  5. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    In what circumstances and in wht context was this requested and agreed?
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Depends what is on their mind - but you can say NO
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    A member of SLT at Departmental meetings? Not in my experience (unless they were a teaching member of that Department). A minute taker? A member of the Department normally does so, either the same person or a rota (& yes, they should be circulated, but teachers are normally pretty busy).

    However calling a meeting - after/before school, in lunchtimes - at a moment's notice? No, a non-starter (unless it's as purplecarrot says, 5-10 mins). Simply say you can't make it without a reasonable period of notice (and, if not happy with your Union Rep, go above him/her).
  8. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    There are so many departments in my school that there wouldn't be enough "Senior Management Team" members for one to attend every dept meeting. I also am part of a small department (me as the specialist, and then I have 2 part time non specialists). Our meetings tend to be quite informal (although still on the specified days on the calendar) and I make a few notes / minutes as the HOD. There isn't anyone else there that could objectively do it! I think its fine to insist that meetings only happen on the pre-arranged days / times they are supposed to. But I don't think its logistically possible to insist that every meeting be attended by SLT and have a separate person other than the HOD to write the minutes up etc
  9. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    When I had management positions it was simple.
    No agenda then no meeting.
    It was my job to circulate the agenda on a Monday for a Thursday meting.
    If the team did not get the agenda then there was no meeting.
    This applied further down the line to individual depts. I was a HOF with 4 subject leaders.
    Not sure about having members of SLT present but minutes were always taken and circulated to include LM and HT.
    grumpydogwoman and zencat999 like this.
  10. zencat999

    zencat999 New commenter

    In a Maximising Attendance Review meeting where I explained one of the main stressors was my Line Managers' tendency to overwhelm us with information at Meetings along with his arrogant tone / manner and tendency to bulldoze over our opinions.
  11. zencat999

    zencat999 New commenter

    Exactly. If there is no Agenda - then management control the agenda. If there are no minutes taken and distributed then no concerns or dissent need be noted.
  12. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    There is no rule on agenda and minutes, although it seems silly to have a meeting without telling people what is going to be discussed. As for minutes, could you take some yourself and circulate them? There is no reason why SLT should be there - it may not be possible if too many department meetings happened at once, as was the case in my school where department meetings were on the school calendar, and many people would not want to be checked up on like this. However, surely this comes under directed time regulations, and there should be sufficient notice. There are times one needs to be flexible, perhaps if something comes up suddenly that needs to be sorted quickly, but routine meetings should be planned in advance.
  13. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Once we became an academy, all departmental meetings were attended by a member of the SMT, or one of its myrmidons. One in particular, insisted on writing everything down in laborious longhand, continually interrupting with, "What do you mean by that?" "Are you saying that...?, "Could I summarise what you are saying as....?". Following meetings, it was quite common to be pulled in for a 'little chat' about something you had said. One positive effect of an SMT presence in departmental meetings was to make them very short, as we all felt intimidated, and very reluctant to say anything.
    Alldone and drek like this.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

  15. Urbanfaerie

    Urbanfaerie Occasional commenter

    Do you have written evidence that they agreed to do this? If so, just remind them (gently) about it.
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Much of this is what the NUT thinks, and I tend to agree with them, but it is not STPCD so we can't insist on it. What shocked me was that the working time calendar examples were not what I would call a calendar, with dates for everything included, but a list of totals, including some time allocated for emergencies. Does this mean that that meetings etc can be schedules at short notice? And extra things scheduled taken from the contingencies time? I hope not.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    drek likes this.
  18. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, it is similar to the one in in the NUT guidelines, and doesn't show when in the week meetings should happen. But I do like the way that break is directed as 'professional dialogue' - I assume that includes having a moan over a coffee.
  19. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    In a previous school we had a seconded member of SLT in our department - we realised fairly soon that anything negative (real or imagined) about the school, the SLT or anything else was reported verbatim to the HT the next day (you didn't have to be Einstein to work this out).

    As a result very little was said at our meetings and they became shorter but less effective.
  20. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    In our school Dept Meetings were a mixture of the points raised in previous posts, they were calendered and extra's placed into INSET days. Items for agenda were requested week before, if there wasn't an agenda, we knew the subject matter was direct from SLT. We took it in turns to make notes of recommendations for minutes. We had a visit from an SLT member at some point during the meeting and they did not necessarily stay very long.
    Even though calendered, colleagues could make their apologies with a valid excuse/ reason given to Faculty Leader.

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