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Headteacher Suspended for admitting some teachers are not working

Discussion in 'Education news' started by ridleyrumpus, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    A headteacher has been suspended after suggesting that some of her staff were sitting at home doing nothing during lockdown.

    Pauline Wood is being investigated for potentially bringing her school into disrepute during a radio interview. She has been head of Grange Park primary in Sunderland for 15 years, taking it from inadequate to outstanding.

    She said some teachers were working hard “coming up with the most imaginative, amazing things” but that others “sit at home doing nothing — I won’t defend those people.” Asked if that included teachers at her school, she said: “Yes, I think it’s time we talked about the elephant in the room.”

    The school governors suspended the head after a complaint that she made “potentially disparaging comments” about her staff. She was told this “raised serious concerns about your professional conduct and judgment . . . which potentially brings the school into disrepute”.

    Ms Wood told the Schools Week website: “It is very concerning that a headteacher can be suspended for giving a truthful answer to questions posed by members of the public.”


    She was working out her notice and due to leave in September, but fears her success will now be tainted.

    During the interview on BBC Radio Newcastle, the interviewer read out texts from parents concerned about the level of support schools in general were offering their children during the coronavirus pandemic. One said the idea that all schools were working hard to help pupils was “simply wrong”.

    When asked to comment, Ms Wood said: “Yes, some teachers have been in [schools], but many have not been in at any time. Safety is paramount, but don’t make out teachers have all been working flat out.
    Asked about her own school, and whether it was her job to motivate such teachers, Ms Wood said: “I think a lot can be done, but it’s down to individuals. It looks very simplistic, but you’ve got lots of HR rules, regulations, unions and people can say all [sorts of] reasons why they can and can’t work.”

    Mary Hodgson, chairwoman of the school governors, told Schools Week that she could not speak to anyone about “personal circumstances as it would be a breach of confidentiality”.

    Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that headteachers should be able to give their perspective and insight to the public via the media.

    Ms Wood’s school has a higher than average proportion of children on free school meals and with special educational needs or disabilities.

    In the latest inspection of the school, Ofsted said: “The relentless way in which the headteacher and senior leaders pursue excellence and improvement has an extremely positive impact on pupils’ outcomes while maintaining very high staff morale.”

    The Times 26/06/20
     
  2. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    The commentators are frothing at the mouth for her being suspended for telling the "truth".

    Personally I think it more likely she was suspended for admitting on the radio that she knew some of her staff were doing "not a lot" and not addressing it. Why wasn't she? Had she told the governor's that this was the case?

    More to the point was it actually true?

    If she hadn't addressed it or if there weren't any teachers sitting in their thumbs then either way she ran the risk of bringing the school into disrepute
     
  3. TheHeadteachersOffice

    TheHeadteachersOffice New commenter

    This is totally unacceptable on the part of the governors. Excellent heads like this need to be cherished and deified, not sacked for making perfectly accurate comments.

    The fact is that many teachers have been sat at home doing nothing, facilitated by the teaching unions.
     
    hawsey likes this.
  4. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    Were they really not doing anything? Is this not the same old same old we always hear but more so since online learning started?
     
  5. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    You're definately smoking something today.

    Deified? She hasn't been sacked.
     
  6. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter


    I suspect so. Certainly if she indicated that she had staff doing SFA when all her staff had been working she would be bringing the school into disrepute.
     
  7. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    The text of your post says 'suggested' and the title of the thread says 'admitted'.

    There's quite a big difference.
     
  8. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    She certainly stated it, whether it is true is another matter.

    She also indicated h&s etc being an issue.

    Either she should have criticized the rules preventing the staff working or if it wasn't the rules then it was her responsibility to address the problem months ago.

    Either way not a good move to go on the radio to air it in public.
     
  9. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Basically HTs like this want to get rid of teachers who are ill or are limited to what they can do in the current crisis - notice the comment "but you’ve got lots of HR rules, regulations, unions and people can say all [sorts of] reasons why they can and can’t work.." Weasel words.

    If I worked at her school, I'd be raising a glass to the fact that she's gone. Good riddance...
     
  10. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    So she admitted that she couldn’t do her job as a headteacher.
    I interested in the HR rules etc which say people can’t work.

    sounds as if she really hadn’t got a grip on the job.
     
  11. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter


    She should have been criticising the HR rules, regulations etc then not that some teachers cannot work because of them.

    Commentators on the times are frothing at how badly she has been treated...
     
    littlejackhorner and agathamorse like this.
  12. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    She’s in charge, is she not able to
    a) motivate staff
    b) understand H&S regulations properly or employment law
    ( no idea how unions stopped her staff from working according to employment law)

    so to summarise according to the HT
    Some of her staff were not working due to H & S regulations and employment law
    Some of her staff were working, presumably breaking these H&S regulations and employment law.

    The governors should have sacked her for that alone ( regardless of whether she brought the school into disrepute by admitting this to the media)

    edit: it could of course be that she had different ‘requirements ‘ for one set of staff compared to the others.
    Very poor management ( at best)
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    To be fair some regulations will affect some and not others.

    From what I have read she I sister that they come in three days a week rather than two, apparently for appraisals etc. Some staff didn't think that the third day was necessary if the like.

    I suspect she threw her dummy out when this happened.

    OFSTED report said something about how management highly motivated the staff. That's OFSTED speak for being gits
     
    ms honey, tenpast7, ajrowing and 3 others like this.
  14. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Is this person TheHeadteacher's Office? Has the poster been sacked?
     
  15. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    There will be staff who haven't pulled their weight, there are always some. Not a good idea to announce this to the thirsty media keen to find sticks to beat with.
     
    ms honey, Mari7, ajrowing and 6 others like this.
  16. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I don't think it's possible to sack someone from a nonexistent job in a fictional school.
     
  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I note that she was already leaving and is working out her notice.

    Reading between the lines (as a chair of governors myself) I detect there was already some tension between the head and the governing body.

    IMO the head was ill advised to say what she did but I think there's more to this than meets the eye.

    I also think that the issues are localised to this school.
     
  18. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I don’t see how H&S regs affect this.
    I’m still unsure why she was expecting staff to work in contravention ofH&S regulations (regardless of whether she thought they were right or not)

    and it seems that staff were working - for 2 days but there was an issue with the appraisal system - that’s about good management.

    I’m beginning to suspect that the governors concern about her ‘bringing the school in to disrepute’ was an excuse for more deep seated issues.
     
  19. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    If the govs guidance is that you work from home unless necessary and you are being told to come in for a third day to carry out admin that could be done remotely then this could contravene the gov guidance and hence H&S. She could disagree with this view.
     
  20. costermonger

    costermonger New commenter

    Exactly the kind of ignorant, self serving and obnoxious head that needs to be removed if schools are ever to improve as educational institutions and workplaces.
     

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