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Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Curvy1, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. I'm a new headteacher in a small primary school. The school has been coasting for some years 2 satisfactory Ofsted Reports. The staff are very cosy at the school and have no intentions of ever moving on. They don't like any of the changes I plan to make and have said that the Ofsted reports are wrong and the school is good. The staff write anonymous letters about me to the governors, saying that I'm not a fit leader because I do not care enough about the staff. Intially the governors were very supportive but they know most of the teachers personally and have conversations with them about my style of leadership. I feel very undermined and would like to leave and start a fresh.
    I've taught for 14 years in 3 different schools with an exemplary record. I've been at this school for just 6 months. I'm very worried that I won't be able to get another job, I'd start as a deputy again but I'm not sure anyone would want a deputy who has been a head before as it looks like a failure to lead. How would I explain this to a future employer ? What about a reference from my current employer ?
  2. bed

    bed New commenter

    In a larger school there is less likelihood of all the staff clubbing together to club you!
    As your school is consistently satisfactory you cpould justifiably invite the LA in for a review - that is rather a can of worms and you would have to agree your startegy with them - but it could be a help.
    However - applying for a larger schoolseems like a good idea - you could move on to bigger and better things and let the awkward staff deal with the change.

    I wish you all the best - don't give up.
  3. bed

    bed New commenter

    I've just realised - having read your OP again - that you've only been there 6 months - this could be staff reacting to change, still.
    Don't give up just yet. In a small school you must have a cluster or network of schools and therefore HTs and you can bet there will be similar experiences - they can help you work out ways of moving forward.
    don't give up
  4. Thanks for your ideas they all very helpful.
    I have worked at larger primary schools, I was a deputy at a 2 form entry primary in my last job.
    Unfortunately the staff and my deputy just don't get that education has moved on in the last 10 years. Several teachers will barely use a computer. My deputy doesn't want any changes and stirs up the rest of the staff.
    I think I'm just really fed up and all the support promised by governors hasn't really materalised and they are going behind my back and talking to staff about me.
    It's got to the point where I hate going into work and I'm going to have to make redundancies as the budget has been handled really poorly for a number of years.
  5. If I did move on, what chance would I have of getting another job as a head or deputy ? As a head what sort of questions would you ask me about leaving a heads job so early ?
    Up until now I have had an excellent track record.
  6. You last point hits what I wanted to say... I could take a year for you to find another post of the type you want. So keep working at the position you are in. You might have a different perspective this time next year.
  7. crezz1

    crezz1 New commenter

    Hi Curvy! Keep at it - you know you are right. I have been at my 'new' school for a year now and am having the same kind of issues as you, by the sound of things!
    Many staff don't like change - especially at my place!! But as you say, quite often their practice is many years behind. Keep plugging away; those that really hate it will leave and then you can appoint some staff of your own choosing with your own ethos/philosophy!
    With reagrd to the Governors and these anonymous letters, meet up with your Chair of Govs and lay your cards/philosophy on the table and tell them what you are trying to do and the problems you are facing. this will put a perspective on any further letters received.
    If they don't support you - then it might be time to look elsewhere.
    But don't let the bu@@ers get you down - you are there for the kids - not the staff!! Good luck!
  8. meister

    meister New commenter

    Your dilemma seems so real to me!
    I have been in headship since 2004 and took a 2nd headship post in April 2009. First headship was in small village school with good sense of community, teaching commitment and great kids - I really enjoyed it (OFSTED outstanding!).
    Second headship was in larger school (one form entry primary) with little sense of community, no teaching commitment, pressures on physical space, a bunch of ineffective governors (CofG had little idea), a Deputy who lacked dynamism and is going nowhere and a couple of really draining (emotionally and time-wise) behavioural Yr R/5/6 kids (exclusion, etc). Much of this did not become clear until after I had taken up the post.
    I found it a real struggle - I missed the sense of community and the greater contact with the kids and noticed signs of stress. So after only 4 terms into the second headship I resigned and left at the end of the summer term 2010.
    Before the end of the summer term I put in an application for HT of a local smaller school (60 NOR) and was successful at interview for a January 2011 start.
    Looking back it has been an interesting year (and great to have a term off!). It has cetainly been a learning experience but I have ended up somewhere that I feel is more suited to me and where I am much much happier.
    Two things I have taken from this experience. Do what you feel is right for you and remember that HTs are in short supply. You will probably not be out of a job for long!! So long as you can justify your decisions I think any decent Gov Body will be understanding!
    All the best!
  9. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Some teachers make a career out of moaning... hang in there and the epidemic may pass. Your governors sound like a right bunch of numpties if they are taking anonymous letters are credible!!
  10. Curvy
    If you are absolutely adamant that you have had enough then leave. Against much contrary advice I did so from a deputy headteacher post without having another post to go to. I thought I had blown my career. But I eventually obtained another deputy post, later a headship.
    That post was a very similar situation that you describe. School in seious weaknesses and staff living in a time warp. I implemented a staff-re-structuring. A very difficult situation ensued, two to three years of a staff versus me scenario. Luckily the chair of governors supported me although little support from the LA. Very gradually new staff were appointed, fresh ideas were implemented and the school improved. Eventually the school became 'Good with many outstanding features'.
    So, hang in there. What have you got to lose, apart from your sanity?! But, seriously, I am sure that if you are convinced that you are clear what needs to be done then you will win through. The children deserve you succeeding.

    Best of luck

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