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Has any hod stepped down after 3weeks?

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by Lilac18, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Lilac18

    Lilac18 New commenter

    I am an experienced hod in a new school and am considering handing in my notice because this new school is a disaster. The science dept Has 5 tatty labs that haven’t been cleaned in forever, piled high with ****. The dept has in effect no lab tech and the equipment is not useable, it’s impossible to manage especially in Covid. I am awake at night worrying and can see this could make me ill. I haven’t seen my family as am working 13 hr days. I have asked for a new full time lab tech but slt are claiming they have no budget...it is a big old public school!

    I know my career will be trashed if I leave because the rumour mill will assume the worse..and This is a school local to me but this is not my fault, I have a strong record as a hod..but this mountain is too high to climb.

    has anyone else left early as a hod and recovered their career?
  2. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    Have you done anything about the problems or spoken to your line manager to outline your concerns?
    The reason I ask is because many people's advice will depend on the answer to this.
    steely1 likes this.
  3. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    You do need to set out all your concerns in writing. As an experienced HoD, you will know the words that will hopefully make SLT priick up their ears. "Workload" might be ignored, but "unsafe", "health and safety", "COVID risk", and "safeguarding"* can't be brushed over.

    *non-usable equipment = presumably dangerous = safeguarding hazard.
    steely1 and sabrinakat like this.
  4. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Established commenter

    Did you not know about the state of the labs when you went for interview? Obviously, you can feedback to your line manager or the headteacher of your concerns, but with tight budget restrictions and with current situation resulting in extra PPE needing to be purchased, I can’t see refitting the labs becoming a priority at the moment as it will cost thousands, but it should definitely be a job over the next two years, the department needs effective resources.
    That said though, they should still be clean. Does your school employ cleaners? Can you speak to their supervisor or team leader and ask if they can clean your department. You could also ask your teaching team to ensure classrooms are left in a ‘tidy state’ to help the cleaners.

    The first term in a job is always tough, doesn’t help in any way with the current circumstances. Get the next few weeks out the way, become established and I’m sure you’ll be fine.
    steely1 and Flanks like this.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Can you rally the troops in your dept and work together one weekend to clear and sort the lot? Ask the school for a skip?
    Add the unusable stuff to the skip and make an inventory of what you actually have. At the moment it probably all looks like rubbish, but with a good clean and sort out, some can probably be used.
    Then make a list of things that are needed, mention things like exam results and parent satisfaction, and you might get some of what you need.
    You need to get the entire dept on board to help sort the mess. Anyone and everyone needs to join you to help out. Have a picnic lunch (covid means bring and share probably out the window) and make it a team building exercise or some such.
    Many public schools have no money at the moment, so don't hold your breath for a lab tech.

    No of course it isn't your job to sort out a huge mess of bleep left behind by years of neglect, but sometimes it's the only way to get things how you want them.
    You can do this.
    steely1 likes this.
  6. andywhizz1

    andywhizz1 New commenter

    Hi. I took on a science department in similar circumstances to those you describe. Kit broken poor technicians miserable colleagues and also in an old public school. Of course I did not have the added complications of Covid.

    I nearly resigned in my first term even contacting my previous head to see if I could get my old job back.

    I stuck it out. I was able to gradually sort out the labs. Recruiting excellent technians was key here. I ran the department for 11 years before stepping down a year ago. Was it worth it? I still don't know. At the time I felt I had to stay. If you do decide to stay and sort out the mess you will feel a great sense of achievement but I well know the personal cost to health.

    Good Luck with your decision.
    steely1 and jarndyce like this.
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Could you use a bit of student manpower for the clearout - perhaps as their service element for DoE or something like that?

    Many schools are doing no science practicals at the moment due to covid, so doing likewise would buy you some time.

    Is there a spare room somewhere to which the site staff could be asked to remove all the equipment, so that you have clear space? Then ask for the cleaning staff to give the labs a bit of a blitz. You could then work through the equipment over time and gradually restore the useable bits to the labs.
  8. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I think it's generally stressful a time for all, but mores for folk starting new jobs and not knowing the who to ask, how to manage an issue against the present backdrop consuming everyones thoughts...

    However, I do believe in a roll your sleeves up and crack on attitude and haven't ever landed in a school where I didn't need/want/have to do a **** sort, reorganise and in the past repaint. It bemuses me anyone ever worked there before or at least didn't bother to clear their junk before departing. If accommodation isn't up to your standard (and few schools are ever up to mine!) make it so.
    Ask who manages cleaning - As folk suggest clear the way for them to deep clean and make that request.
    Email your line manager - Convey the curriculum implications of not having equipment/ resources you need to do your job. Demonstrate you've reviewed your budget and made some plan to develop what you've got.

    If it is too much - it won't 'trash' your career. Folk leave jobs for all manner of reasons and your well being and family are good enough of one. This might not be the place or time for you - but somewhere else will be :)
  9. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    This was my immediate thought! The condition of labs, equipment etc, if this bad, would have been immediately apparent at interview surely?
  10. JJ83

    JJ83 Occasional commenter

    Science is a huge core subject and like someone said above use certain key words when discussing it with higher powers.
    Can you evidence that if you had decent equipment that attainment etc would increase? If you can you are on to a winner

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