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Derogatory comments made by Headteacher

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by throwawayy123, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. throwawayy123

    throwawayy123 New commenter


    A few members of staff have approached me having over heard a conversation between the headteacher and a deputy head in which teaching assistants were referred to as "incidentals". This isn't the first time I've heard this kind of lack of regard shown to members of support staff. Earlier this year a member of SLT referred to support staff as "sundries" in a staff meeting. I have already expressed concerns with a member of SLT and made them aware of the most recent complaint. Should I be passing on my concerns to the chair of governors anonymously or seeking advice from my union or both?

    Edit: The "incidentals" comment has been mentioned by two different staff and may be important to note that it is alleged. The fact their is a history behind these comments is what concerns me.

    Many thanks
    A concerned teacher
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So someone heard someone say something and ran to you to tittle tattle.

    Tell them that the next time they do the following:
    "So sorry, Mr/Ms Bossperson, I wasn't eavesdropping but I couldn't help hearing what you said about TAs. Now I work with them a lot more closely than you do and I have to say I do feel a bit offended on their behalf. I'm sure you meant nothing by it. But they're not incidental to me. They're FUNDAMENTAL. Thanks!"

    They heard it. They challenge it on the spot.

    You do not go to the union with : well, he said that they said that blah blah blah. Or the governors! No!

    I was a union rep. I couldn't act on that! I could just encourage us all to counter negativity whenever we came across it. There and then. Every time. Do our bit. Root it out that way.

    By all means be one of a group who goes (very low-key) to see the HT and have a quiet word. Diplomatically. Allow the HT to save face! Allow the HT to do better next time.
  3. throwawayy123

    throwawayy123 New commenter

    Wow thanks for the advice. Certainly some food for thought, what about people who would fear the repercussions from potentially embarrassing a HT infront of staff
  4. elder_cat

    elder_cat Lead commenter

    May not be relevant, but the terms 'incidentals' and 'sundries' are often used in accounting to refer to different forms of expenses. Is it possible the words were being used in that context ?
  5. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    I was thinking the same, before I read your comment.
  6. throwawayy123

    throwawayy123 New commenter

    Thanks for the comments. I've never heard of them being used in an accountancy context. Still think it's slightly demeaning to those concerned. I'll feed it back to the staff who raised the issue.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You don't want a massive deputation. A couple of people is best.

    And people do have to pick their battles. If they're frightened about repercussions then I guess they'll let it lie.

    But as union rep? I'm not going to the HT with hearsay. The HT would probably ask me who'd said it and I'd say that was confidential. The HT, if unpleasant, would then either target the people who overheard or someone else who hadn't and whom the HT simply didn't like and so suspected without any grounds!

    The governors? Unless you know there's a governor who already has a beef with the HT and is gunning for her/him? No. Governors and HTs often get on very well and the governors won't understand why you couldn't go about this in a more low-key way.

    Incidentals and sundries absolutely are accounting/expenses categories.

    But even if it's people they were talking about? Think about disciplinary escalation with kids. You don't go nuclear-option right away. Not unless the behaviour is extreme.

    Leave it. This wasn't said to a bunch of people in a meeting. You weren't meant to hear it. It's not a hanging offence. Just keep your ears open. Challenge unfortunate stereotyping IF you hear it. IF.
    mothorchid and throwawayy123 like this.
  8. throwawayy123

    throwawayy123 New commenter

    Fantastic advice thank you!
  9. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Be very careful assuming anything from anything overheard. One misheard word or phrase out of context?

    Without concerete evidence I would certainly not publicly challenge a HT! Even with concrete evidence, maybe a quiet meeting - and then maybe just keep quiet as the HT may suddenly have your card marked otherwise!
    Pomza and grumpydogwoman like this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Why have the approached you and not a member of SLT?

    Sounds more like nasty gossip to me.
    Pomza and Jesmond12 like this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    Let the Union complain for the staff in case you become an 'incidental'. The staff governor could also raise it - without naming names. I would only deal with things I heard first hand - rather than in 'whispers'.

    It may be worth someone - not you ' getting copies of Govs Minutes if they can be bothered- sounds like a restructuring is on the way or at least the ht is testing the water. But don't you become the 'bullet' that others want you to be in this...Even better,.avoid these gossips and tell them to complain themselves if they don't like it . They sound cowardly...:cool:
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  12. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    why do you consider it to show lack of regard?

    As a former TA, I would have no issue at all with either term
    mothorchid likes this.
  13. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    'Incidentals'? Certainly doesn't sound respectful to me.
  14. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Discussion of a potential restructure at a governing body meeting would most likely only be recorded in the confidential section of minutes (unless the chair and clerk are totally incompetent). So little chance of learning anything by obtaining govs minutes.
    grumpydogwoman and Jesmond12 like this.
  15. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    doesn't sound disrespectful either, most schools use some sort of word or other meaning " every body else" apart from teachers,

    a case of offense in the ear of the beholder, I think
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    And only if ht knows what they are doing also. This ht may not - if the rumours are true.. In fact alot can be learned by looking at Govs Minutes. And in reality it makes some hts very nervous when their staff start requesting copies of any Govs Mins because it sometimes brings up more questions than answers.:cool:
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

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