1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

If you are being bullied by your Head Teacher

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Winshill, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. There have been many cases of bullying and I too have experienced it. Now that my case and the cases of my colleagues are 'out the way' I can give advice to others.

    This is what you need to consider if you feel like taking action against you Head Teacher:

    1. Do not rely on your colleagues. Even if they are fully aware what is going on, they will not stand by you and they may even cross the street rather than speak to you.

    2. Do not rely on the Governors. Even if they are fully aware of what is going on in your school, they are unlikely to take your side.

    3. Keep your mouth shut, carry on as best you can and apply for any job to get you out of that school. Don't tell the school that you are being interviewed by what is going on and why you want to leave. Head Teachers will see you as a trouble maker if you do.

    4. Don't bother bringing your unions in. It will just inflame the situation and most unions no longer have any 'teeth'. Many union reps work for the education sector so ther is a conflict of interest and they don't like to make too many waves.

    5. Do leave it too long. If you stay around a bully for too long, you will become worn down by them. At the first hint of bullying, get out of the school even if you have to take a sideways move.

    6. For every successful case you see in the newspapers where a Head Teacher has been found guilty of bullying, there are well over one hundred cases where the Head Teacher has 'got away with it'.

    7. Don't rely on the law to protect you. Educational Heads seem to have so much power that they are above the law. Develop an exit strategy before it is too late and use it before you are too weak to do anything about it.

    I have lost my career and my mental health through three years of bullying from my head Teacher. I have sixteen colleagues who have suffered in a similar way. Eight of us went down the grievance route. Five of us took compromise agreements. Three of us went to a tribunal and the Head was found guilty. However, she is still in post, the governors still support her and we are now sixteen teachers who have come together to form a supply agency because no one else will touch us. Why? Because when ever we go for a job and put our past school down on an application form, they phone the Head and she tell them not to touch us with a barge pole. We don't even get an interview.

    So take this as words to the wise. If you are in teaching, you must accept that the head can do anything to you and your only escape is out the door. There is no justice, so don't bother looking for it.

    Fortunately, not all Heads are bullies and some schools are a pleasure to be in.
     
  2. There have been many cases of bullying and I too have experienced it. Now that my case and the cases of my colleagues are 'out the way' I can give advice to others.

    This is what you need to consider if you feel like taking action against you Head Teacher:

    1. Do not rely on your colleagues. Even if they are fully aware what is going on, they will not stand by you and they may even cross the street rather than speak to you.

    2. Do not rely on the Governors. Even if they are fully aware of what is going on in your school, they are unlikely to take your side.

    3. Keep your mouth shut, carry on as best you can and apply for any job to get you out of that school. Don't tell the school that you are being interviewed by what is going on and why you want to leave. Head Teachers will see you as a trouble maker if you do.

    4. Don't bother bringing your unions in. It will just inflame the situation and most unions no longer have any 'teeth'. Many union reps work for the education sector so ther is a conflict of interest and they don't like to make too many waves.

    5. Do leave it too long. If you stay around a bully for too long, you will become worn down by them. At the first hint of bullying, get out of the school even if you have to take a sideways move.

    6. For every successful case you see in the newspapers where a Head Teacher has been found guilty of bullying, there are well over one hundred cases where the Head Teacher has 'got away with it'.

    7. Don't rely on the law to protect you. Educational Heads seem to have so much power that they are above the law. Develop an exit strategy before it is too late and use it before you are too weak to do anything about it.

    I have lost my career and my mental health through three years of bullying from my head Teacher. I have sixteen colleagues who have suffered in a similar way. Eight of us went down the grievance route. Five of us took compromise agreements. Three of us went to a tribunal and the Head was found guilty. However, she is still in post, the governors still support her and we are now sixteen teachers who have come together to form a supply agency because no one else will touch us. Why? Because when ever we go for a job and put our past school down on an application form, they phone the Head and she tell them not to touch us with a barge pole. We don't even get an interview.

    So take this as words to the wise. If you are in teaching, you must accept that the head can do anything to you and your only escape is out the door. There is no justice, so don't bother looking for it.

    Fortunately, not all Heads are bullies and some schools are a pleasure to be in.
     
  3. Wow, winshill. What a post. I'm so sorry to hear you have been through so much and had such a sh1tty experience. I will take what you say very seriously... It is as I suspected re heads having complete control and feel lucky to be in one of the more supportive schools you mentioned. Thank you for sharing. Hope your future goes well. XXX
     
  4. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    The scenario here is replicated nationwide on a more and more frequent basis, mostly to try to reduce wage bills by replacing senior, more expensive staff with cheaper, younger alternatives. Regretful but true!
     
  5. I read this totally aghast - I thought we were the only school that went through this - absolutely everything - everything down to the tribunals etc was replicated in my school, only it was 7 teachers that signed the grievance and thirteen teachers that left!!! Every single word you said is completely and totally true - true in all the experiences of trying to fight it, trying to get out and get on the supply list and failing!! - Even when you attempt to change your career and get onto a course at univeristy and are faced with occupational health enquiries regarding sick leave. I am so convinced that your story is true at first I thought I must know you!!!. However I know yours to be a different school. I believe the problem is (as well as power driven heads) that there is no definitive way of identifying a 'good' or 'outstanding' teacher. You can tell a good secretary from the letters she types without an error, or a good lawyer from the cases he wins - but how do you tell a good teacher? It is entirely subjective and whoolly! The 'teaching standards' are so wholly and bland - it could mean anything! I have heard cases of head teachers telling their deputies to find the 'bullied' teacher inadequate just to put them through capability to see them off - one deputy told me she 'knew what judgement the head wanted, but refused to see another teachersr career go down the swanee just for her benefit' - this whole issue of lesson observations being subjective is what the unions should be fighting - not bloody pay and pensions - no point fighting that when many teachers won't even get that far! I've heard another head say that 'you should employ NQT's because you can get more work out of them, then replace them after two years when they become more disillusioned!'..............I am another experienced teacher who has taken a compromise agreement and seen their career in tatters at the hands of a bullying head. I am now in the process of changing my career and attempting to find a new reference so they don't have to go back to my old school. The experience of myself and the person above seems to becoming more prevelant and bullying endemic in schools - I can count more schools that do this than don't - I wouldn't advise my children to be a teacher - not unless they want be constantly scruitinized, critcized, monitored and their self-esteem crushed on a termly basis!
     
    CatnipEvergreen likes this.
  6. Rockchick2112

    Rockchick2112 New commenter

    The issue of references can be a really serious one when a member of school staff has been bullied out of a job and wants to move on. I was bullied out of my job as a teaching assistant by the head of a special school. A few weeks before the end of the school year, I was invited to two interviews for teaching posts (as I am a qualified teacher), but wasn't offered either due to things which had been said in the references provided by the head. Different things were said each time, and it was not backed up by evidence as the school had not given me any targets to meet or launched any sort of disciplinary proceedings. From the way the head behaved towards me when we were having a discussion in private, I knew that it was personal.
    There needs to much better monitoring and accountability of headteachers, as they do seem to have far too much power to ruin someone's career if they so wish. I realise that not all headteachers are like this, as I have also worked in a secondary school where both headteachers sought to conduct themselves with fairness and transparency. However, it seems that there are increasing numbers of cases where members of school SMTs have treated members of staff appallingly with no or very little comeback.
    There is currently a petition still open which calls for more to be done about the bullying of staff in schools. It needs to get at least 500 signatures to prevent it from being automatically rejected- if it gets 10 000, it is entitled to receive a response from the Government. A few people who have been through Compromise Agreements have been reluctant to add their signatures for fear that they might be on public display- however, it is actually the case that no signatures on Government epetitions are displayed publicly (other than the name of the person who originally set up the petition, of course).
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34828
     
  7. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    Signed!

    Good luck.
     
  8. l have been victimised and bullied by the teacher in school where l work. l made up a story that l pushed a child when l never even touched anyone. l have been asking evidence nothing was provided. He used insulting language towards me last year. l am looking for an institution that l could complain the head teacher. He created a fear and terror atmosphere in the school. Countless number of teachers either sacked or pushed to sacked or he created a situation that they had leave their jobs and go. Not it is my turn. what to do ................. l only work two days a week and just finished PGCE.
     
  9. l have been victimised and bullied by the teacher in school where l work. They made up a story that l pushed a child when l never even touched anyone. l have been asking evidence nothing was provided. He used insulting language towards me last year. l am looking for an institution that l could complain the head teacher. He created a fear and terror atmosphere in the school. Countless number of teachers either sacked or pushed to sacked or he created a situation that they had leave their jobs and go. Not it is my turn. l want to make a omplain about this head teacher. which organisation would be to go to. not local authority they are all friends.
     
  10. September

    September New commenter

    I am trying to find the courage to put in a grievance against my headteacher but can't seem to find the guts to do it. My self esteem is far too low to apply for jobs at the moment and I am at a loss as what to do. I have been suffering at the hands of my headteacher for over three years. I am a competent member of staff but am treated unfairly by my boss. I have spoken to him about this on many occasions and each time I think things will get better they don't.

    I wish I had known about the petition on this post as I would definitely have circulated it.
     
  11. I teach infants and yet this thread applies to me too.

    I was told to get out while I could, by a couple of excellent teachers, who felt they had to leave our school because of the school management. But, I felt I had to wait until I had my hip replacement out of the way. However, after my return to work, the head has been determined to have me removed. Is this the twenty first century or have we returned to the Victorian era? I have contacted the union, what else could I do? The whole thing is sad and distressing.

    And...how can it possibly be good for the young children in my class? I am now signed off with anxiety and depression. The children are missing me and I am missing them and when I return to the classroom, next week despite being signed off for much longer, it will be with even more stress; as I wait for subjective comments from the management. Oh sorry... I mean as I wait for appraisal from the management. How can I do a good job for my pupils when I'm being undermined. I teach best when feeling confident, supported and happily multitasking.

    Lip service is being paid to the needs of our pupils, while targets and money are the be all and end all.
     
  12. Hi

    I am writing my university dissertation on the subject of school staff being bullied by co-workers or heads etc. I would really like to use your comments in my evidence section. Could you let me know if you would allow this, it would be completely confidential of course? Thanks and regards

    J
     
  13. Anyone who is surprised or shocked at this post is very lucky. It is, sadly, like this in far too many schools. I will concur with all of Winshill's seven points; no-one, absolutely no-one, will support you - least of all the governors. Let's face it, if the governors were any good, it wouldn't be happening in the first place! Don't fight it, you can't.; you'll just end up stressed, ill and upset. Find a decent school and get out asap.
     
  14. frustum

    frustum Lead commenter

    "when I return to the classroom, next week despite being signed off for much longer"

    If you return to work while you are still signed off, I think that invalidates insurance.
     
  15. tonymars

    tonymars Occasional commenter

    falcon and others.

    check out a19pb if you haven't already.
     
    rosievoice likes this.
  16. I would be very interested in registering with your supply agency if its relatively near to my location? Could I talk to you somehow through email as opposed to on forum
     
  17. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

    I bet you are from my school, Winshill! But you have probably changed a few key details so as not to be identified! This is practically a mirror image of what I, and many of my colleagues, have been up against in very recent years.. It seems the situation is endemic in UK schools and that is appalling. Does any other profession suffer from such horrendous treatment from their senior managers on a daily / weekly / monthly basis? I doubt it. I do wonder where it has come from though, and where it is going to....I am just counting down the days until we break up for Christmas and am so glad that the forthcoming Christmas festivities in school will take some of the pressure off - at least temporarily........
     
  18. Belthazor

    Belthazor New commenter

    The answer is to:

    *basically ALWAYS have an exit strategy - right from the beginning. Nothing beats forward planning.

    *have dirt on any potential bullies (at any level). Entirely your choice when and what to do with it.

    *be like Gregory House MD.
     
    zencat999 and LGavri like this.
  19. September

    September New commenter

    It has been along time since I read this post. I took on my headteacher and it got as far as the informal stage of the grievance. As you rightly wrote, Winshill, the governors did nothing. It was a total fiasco. I have stayed at the school and the HT continues to bully me. I am not going anywhere. I am staying at my school until I am ready to move on. He makes my life hell but to date I have not taken one day off sick because of it. I know if I do I will not return. Reading this post over again is giving me strength to continue. Bring on 2015.
     
  20. holly0703

    holly0703 New commenter

    Agree with all points. It seems to be useless to take on a headteacher as there is no effective way of doing it. Colleagues - not really any power or don't want to risk becoming the next target, governors - not knowledgeable enough to deal with the situation and often in the palm of the headteacher, unions - just want to negotiate a pecuniary settlement. Not forgetting that the head has a clear start as he/she had obviously planned their strategy weeks before you even saw a problem. I, too, used to work at a very good (infant) school which employed a very inexperienced head whose knowledge of some areas of the infant curriculum and practice were sorely lacking. Despite this, what I can only describe as a vendetta against the existing staff, began. Suffice to say, over 16 members of staff have now left in a small infant school, mostly due to the bullying nature of the headteacher. I became so disillusioned with the profession, that I had a career change and have never looked back. It still amazes me when I am thanked at work for just doing my job, but it is so refreshing. I do wonder what the future holds for teachers and would absolutely never encourage a child of mine to consider the profession. As someone else has stated, it is almost like a return to the Victorian era, where headteachers no longer have to adhere to social norms.
     
    drek likes this.

Share This Page