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Do most Heads really work 70+ hours a week ? And if so, is it a Good Thing ?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Oldcrofter, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. I think it was more fear and custom than guilt (past head). The panic attacks were when we introduced the 4.30 lock down, nothing to do with SMT being in the building, they had to leave too.
  2. koali

    koali New commenter

    It is interesting looking at the figures for number of hours quoted in these responses. 55hours, 70 hours etc.per week
    The European Work regulations recommend an average weekly number of hours equivalent to 48 hours over 17 weeks (i.e in that timespan there may be some weeks worked more and some less)
    Some of the Head teachers posting these responses seem quite proud of the fact that they work well over the European recommendation every week. Well, that is their choice, but maybe they should at the way they are working and whether it really is efficient.Perhaps more crucially, they should look at whether this "extra" time is spent thinking of "new initiatives" for other people to do and therefore add to their working time.
    I have heard several Headteachers in recent years saying with great enthusiasm that they are running their schools on a business model with their students as "customers". What they fail to do is recognise that if they were running a business they would have to be much more careful about the number of hours of overtime they were demanding- because they would have to pay extra for it.
    Time management of the workforce is a crucial aspect of a Head or SMT person's management role but it is seldom mentioned. Much easier to quote the "and any other hours deemed reasonable " phrase in the Teachers Terms and Conditions Doc. However, the work regulations have capped "reasonable" as 48 hours per week and unless somebody volunteers the extra time, or signs an opt out contract, then that is all they are obliged to do.
    So, rather than shutting a school site so that staff start panicing about having the facilities and resources to complete tasks they are obliges to do, perhaps Heads and SMT should sit down and produce a calendar which adds up the non-teaching hours they are actually asking people to do and decide whether all of the "initiatives" are really necessary or whether they could be time-budgeted on a more reasonable basis.

  3. I find it incredible that there have been Head Teachers claiming to be working an average (!!!) of 70 hours per week? A curious badge of honor perhaps to make others feel inadequate but more worryingly a demonstration of an incredible inability to perform the role efficiently. Makes you wonder how they answered the question at their interview about how they prioritise their work and manage their own time!
  4. Please can you all remember that these guys are all paid on a 52 week basis and work 39!!! Spread that out, and they do a standard 9 to 5, but I do not see many 9 to 5 workers these days raking in a Leadership salary scale.
  5. FYI This was done after a lot of discussions with staff, kindly get your facts right! Implying that it was done as some form of aggressive, directed tactic is totally inaccurate.
    Oh yes, I spend hours thinking up pointless tasks to delegate to the staff!
    If we're talking teachers, I doubt very few successful business pays any salaried staff member earning in excess of £30,000 overtime, or restrict their hours, especially given the present jobs market. I would expect that most people are working all the hours they can in the hope of building up enough brownie points to stave off redundancy with the companies exploiting it to the max.
  6. 38 x 70 = 2660
    2660 divided by 46.6 (4 weeks hols + bank holidays) = 57.08 hours pw
    38x 60 = 2280
    2280 div. by 46.6 = 48.9 hours pw
    38x50 =1900
    1900 div 46.6 = 40.77 (roughly what a teacher might do)
    So those guts claiming to knock out 70 hours per week for 38 weeks + extras in the holidays, you are the real deal....57 hours pw wow. I'd guess the only harding working people work for banks!!!!!!!

  7. One thing I admire about my present headteacher is that they are astute, shrewd, and canny, with the ability to find solutions based on nearly 40 years of experience in school situations. In my view 'school' occupies their attention a lot of the time.
    My present headteacher does no timetabled classroom teaching. This makes me ponder on the idea that there is work, and there is work.
    The classroom teacher has to be at a certain place at a certain time when a bell rings, and they have to stay there with about 30 youngsters, somehow teaching them something that passes (the ever changing) muster. No ifs, no buts: if they are not there they have to 'set work' to occupy those students. The classroom teacher has no flexibility, can't take a phone call, can't even visit the toilet when they want to, and as hinted at earlier, their autonomy is becoming more and more limited. They have to cope unaided mostly with whatever takes place - pretty hard work.
    A headteacher enjoys more autonomy and flexibility I would argue. I imagine no two days are the same, sometimes they have to be there, sometimes elsewhere. For the most part they can take calls if needed, and indeed visit the toilet just when it suits. They are not tied down in the same way as a classroom teacher, and very often have a group of people to assist, especially with any time consuming and tedious routine paperwork. If a headteacher wants a change of routine, or feels a sudden urge to do something different, they can. The load they carry is that the buck stops with them (yes a classroom teacher also has to carry the can in their own way too). I have not mentioned marking by the way.
    There is a very different level of pay for a headteacher compared to a classroom teacher. We often get classroom teachers bemoaning the fact that the headteacher doesn't teach a timetable, and is out of touch with their experience, and they blimmin well should teach; but sadly we also have many headteachers who feel that the classroom teacher should work in the same way as them (a long time when their headspace is all consumed by school matters), and they dismiss the classroom teaching experience as not so important as the headteacher's agenda and current passion.
    There is only one dynamic that matters in a school, the students turn up, and expect such an imposition on their free will to benefit them, and the classroom teacher is closest to that dynamic. If a headteacher is doing 70 hours a week, may I humbly suggest they translate that to a couple of days a week in the classroom, and abandon any other demands on them unless it threatens health and safety in the school.
    To headteachers addicted to work... just say no!
  8. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Soeaking as a head who maintains a teaching commitment out of choice, I think the idea of scrapping other demands is commendable but would see a school into special measures faster than you can say " ofsted". Heads have a degree of autonomy I agree, but we still have to play the game. Some heads buy into it wholesale, others ( like me) don't agree with the box ticking culture but know there are certain things which we have to do to keep ofsted off our backs for long enough so that we can get on with the real business.
    Any head who ignores the " unnecessary ****" will quickly find themselves out of a job and their staff more stressed than ever as they spend 18 months trying to struggle out of special measures.
  9. errrm...unless of course every does it!
  10. Sad but very true
  11. everybody...even
  12. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Lovely theory, but ofsted don't come en masse, they visit schools individually. So you're suggesting that every school gets itself into special
    Measures to prove a point? I'm guessing that you've never worked in a school in special measures. If you had you wouldn't want to even suggest risking it.
  13. koali

    koali New commenter

    Maybe I am misreading you, but reading your original post you talk of shutting the work site at 4.30 without mentioning any analysis in of an actual reduction in tasks or any kind of time management audit.
    This just moves the work to peoples homes where they may not have the facilities to do the work efficiently and it may become even more time consuming and it certainly interferes with work/life balence.
    Do you ever say to your staff;
    "Those reports are a priority for everybody this week- and I reckon on average that is going to be 5 extra hours work this week so I don't expect you to do detailed marking this week - all the book work this week can be peer assessed."
    That would be a real example of removing a task andestimating a time allocation.
    Your most recent post reveals an expectation of people to work more than their contracted hours to keep their jobs-
    "I would expect that most people are working all the hours they can in
    the hope of building up enough brownie points to stave off redundancy
    with the companies exploiting it to the max."

    If you are a Headteacher, Is this the sort of expectation you have of your teaching workforce because this is your perception of what happens in industry?
    If your views are held so strongly, and this comes across to your staff, can you be sure that objectors to your 4.30 shut-down felt confident enough to voice objections without losing "Brownie-points"
    Working maximum hours does not mean the same as working at maximum efficiency.
    " If we're talking teachers, I doubt very few successful business pays any
    salaried staff member earning in excess of £30,000 overtime, or
    restrict their hours, especially given the present jobs market.

    The extra money in other business is often called a "bonus" and thats why people work extra hours.
    brother works in industry. He is a skilled professional, yet all his
    jobs are time assessed. His performance management is judged on the
    number of quality jobs completed on time. If he didn't do his job
    properly he would be sacked, but because his jobs are time evaluated
    accurately by his line manager, that isn't an issue. He has a salary
    above £30,000, gets a very generous bonus if he completes early and to
    his clients satisfaction.The choice to work extra hours is always his.
    My question to you is this.
    Could you tell me precisely at his moment how many extra hours this week would be needed by the average member of staff to fulfil not only their preparation and marking but all the other extra jobs such as reports,grade cards departmental initiatives and pastoral initiatives that they have been asked to do?
    Without having an idea of this figure, shutting the site early is a meaningless gesture, at best well-meant, at worst counterproductive,
  14. Wow what an interesting post.
    I read somewhere recently that those 'professionals' in the legal trade have a costing and a time allocation for everything....like reading an email is £20 a pop or something. We teachers gasp when we hear or realise this, but the solicitors would look askance at our incredulity. Teachers are loaded with the vaguest of 'expectations', and berated if they are not precise in meeting them. When my son was born, one midwife disappeared in the middle to be replaced by a 'supply' midwife because their hours were up...no question of seeing the job through there!
  15. Yes, to an extent that I am not even going bother explaining it to you.
    Your list of jobs question, well most of it would appear to relate to terms and conditions, and it depends on how organised, focused and fast you can work. I would suggest that if all those jobs have been left for this week, either the school is poorly organised, or the staff member has left it a little late and will have to pull their finger out!

  16. So be a solicitor then, you are not worth (money wise) what they are, you cannot charge £20 for reading an email, or £200 for writing one, if you can, I'd go and do that, it's your choice. Likewise, be a midwife.
    I love the we are over worked under paid bit, 2.7 million are unemployed out there, at least the vast majority of teachers are still in employment....for now!!!! Private business is all about paying the going rate, high or low, so if you've got a skill that will pay high, I'd go and do it............
  17. Thank you for your gracious response. My point(s) have been based around the notion that headteachers and senior managers declare that they themselves work very long hours, and in my experience they want classroom teachers to work the same hours, but without considering the impact on those teachers of the challenge of the classroom, and how much energy is left on the classroom floor.
    Headteachers who have choice and flexibility mostly do not bother to cost the demands they make on classroom teachers in terms of the time that is needed to meet those demands...often I have heard headteachers demand that you 'make time'.
    If you are a headteacher, and you don't like complaining staff, maybe you could be a solicitor or a midwife instead, after all it's your choice!
  18. The point I was initially trying to make at the start is that working 70 hours per week might not be down to workload. I am concerned at the number of hours staff work, and as a school we have done much to try and reduce the number of hours staff are working, one of those was attempting to reprogram any culture of staying late at school, and staff feeling that they should not leave until senior staff have left.
    Teacher workload has peaks and troughs, <u>we have worked with staff</u> to indentify these times and timetable these over a year in an attempt to level things out. We have also put admin support in place, where possible, to futher reduce time pressures on staff. What gets my goat is the presumption by certain members of our profession that they are worse off than many in other walks of life. It's a matter of choice and understanding the pro's and cons of each sector. Having worked in both I know where I'd rather be, and at present that's within education with the security and HR protection it offers all employees. If people think the other side is best, then perhaps they should consider trying it.
    I do not have the skills to be a solicitor or midwife and do not really want to retrain at this present time, I'm perfectly happy to listen to and attempt to meet the needs of our staff that complain, which, after all is paert of my role.
  19. Well done BNM-that sounds like s normal response-with work/life balance!!
  20. artbinki

    artbinki New commenter

    All the people posting on this must be working in Primary School. I am a Head of Year in a the secondary school and have 206 in my year. I work between 40 - 55 hours a week, every week. I have no lunch time and no break time. My Head Teacher works from at 7am to 5pm in school, then attends meetings, parents evenings and works from home. In his half term he completes the CPD folders for his 86 staff. He rarely has any time off as that is what the job demands. He is in school for at least 50% of all the holidays.
    It really annoys me that SOME Primary school heads work less hours than I do and get paid more and will get a higher pension. In addition to this they don't have to spend their days fending off angry and aggresive teenage boys. It is this kind of attitude which has led the mis-guided co-alition governement to think that we all work basic hours and sit around having coffeee in the staff room - and as such can work until we are 66. there is NO WAY I could still be doing this job in my late 50s nevermind my 60s.

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