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If you are being bullied by your Head Teacher

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

  1. Have just landed on this page and feel so despondent after realising what my fate will probably be. I too am now off with work related stress and have a savage battle on my hands from a senior manager of an academy trust. I fear for my livelihood and the union seems to be more intent on following a well worn formulaic solution that seems to point to the end of a long and extremely successful career until I allowed myself to be persuaded to stay at my current school after doing a temporary contract whilst on supply. I am looking for a supply agency such as yours Winshill and would be more than happy to start up a local group if we are too far away from each other to make it work. I will pm you and if anyone else is interested please don't hesitate to get in touch.
     
    tracey74 likes this.
  2. birmanmum

    birmanmum New commenter

    Governors can only help if they know what is going on, and the assumption that "if they were any good it wouldn't be happening" is not true. Governors are told what is going on by the head, if they don't get told anything else then they cannot act on what they don't know.

    Even if the governors query high staff turnover it can be explained away, a lot of teachers choosing to leave in a short period can happen for all sorts of reasons, and the governors have no legal right to conduct exit interviews.

    The biggest issue is the way that the "silent majority" of staff stand and watch, if the staff of the school go to the governors then the governors have to act.

    After all, governors are also subject to OFSTED, and OFSTED are very keen on checking whether the governors are doing their job. OFSTED getting a report of weak governance in a school is not what any governor wants, OFSTED inspectors can, and do, chew up an individual governor face to face.

    So, if you are getting bullied, don't assume the governors won't act. Governors are made up of parents who are passionate about education, local businessmen, often a member of the clergy, and they do care about the happiness of the staff... after all, you can't be a governor of a school if the school has no staff!
     
    rosievoice and shazlewz like this.
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    ....and the three cases I know of where staff (either as an individual or as a group) have gone to governors, the head was backed -in one case they admitted the head was wrong but was still backed.
     
    tracey74 likes this.
  4. birmanmum

    birmanmum New commenter

    I only know of one case where a (decent sized) group of teachers went to the governors. That head is now working elsewhere, as he chose to resign before the governors could sack him.

    Of course if you look at the decisions of the National College there are cases where heads have been issued with prohibition orders, just for bullying the staff.

    The point remains, OFSTED seem to be expecting much more of governors, governance seems to be the latest thing that they are after, and anyone is free to report a school to OFSTED for not having proper governance.

    Ultimately, saying "don't bother fighting, just go elsewhere" does not solve the problem. Going to the governors, OFSTED, etc, may. Of course choosing to fight is more risky, so it has to be a personal decision, but to say that you can't fight a ***** head is wrong.

    Parent governors, especially, are very accessible to teachers, they can easily be spoken to when discussing their child.
     
    naseem63 and tracey74 like this.
  5. thewalrus

    thewalrus New commenter

    I walked out of a job because of a bullying head. I know this is not easy for someone with a family but looking back, it is the best thing I ever did. I didn't give a damn about a reference either. I just sort of went low key for a while, went abroad and am so glad I stood up to that head. Heads are not gods. Don't let them treat you badly or be abusive to you, whether directly or by other sly stealthy methods.
     
    mrstoad and tracey74 like this.
  6. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    It is even worse now that Head teachers can get an army of new recruits to do their whipping for them, so grateful to be getting money for doing something 'they love', get given an outstanding every lesson, too young and green, vain enough, to be flattered, unable to see the whole picture yet.
    3 years down the line most of them will, as not all will be able to command second careers or leadership roles.
    They may have to remain as 'ordinary' classroom teachers, forever bait at the end of someone else's pole.
     
    wendywinnard and westiewestiewow like this.
  7. Sidthepig

    Sidthepig New commenter

    I have gone through similar to those on this forum.
    I was, up until 10 years ago considered to be a superb secondary maths teacher. I have loads and loads of experience. I was bullied at a school I use to love and so left. After 7 years I got another permanent job but it took me 7 years. As soon as I started my new job the female head of dept bullied me severely. I alerted SLT, then later took out a grievance. Surprise, surprise, my greivance was not proven. Other teachers who were witnesses wouldn't tell the truth. So, I went onto suffer three years of hell. The stress and bullying became impossible and so I started taking time off work. Each time I told the new head what the trouble was. I involved the Nasuwt. They were powerless.
    If that wasn't bad enough the head then looked for every little thing to hang me with. Suddenly, my teaching wasn't good enough, I couldn't move without every day being accused of something.
    The outcome? They dismissed me on the grounds of ill health.
    If there is anyone reading this my advice is get out of teaching or don't enter the profession. You are only liked whilst you are young and cheap. The reason why so many teachers are leaving is because the job is no longer about children. The job is about whether you are liked by the head, are under the age of 35, have no home life, can creep,and look good when OFSTED come in. Academy schools are the worst and new heads under the age of 45. By the way the teaching adverts on tv show the ideal school. Most schools, especially academies have children who disrupt and can send many a young teacher home crying. In the schools I have taught in even SLT can't control classes.
    So, if you are in a school where things are not happy, don't complain to anyone, bide your time and get out bloody quick. Good luck to anyone out there who is going through hell in teaching. Remember it's no longer about children but about who has the power to bully and work you into the ground. It is not a fair playground.
     
    tonymars, wendywinnard and tracey74 like this.
  8. Sidthepig

    Sidthepig New commenter

    Maybe we should start a forum where we name and shame schools that do nothing about bullying of teachers by teachers. I suppose it wouldn't,t be allowed but just imagine the power and support it gives us.
    The saddest thing about all this was that I really use to love teaching so much that I couldn't believe that I was paid for enjoying myself. The children got more top grades because they were happy learning. No government knows what to do with education. Successive governments have destroyed this job. Now heads,SLT, academy trusts are bullying teachers shockingly. Nicky Morgan needs to earn her crust and do something about the bullying.
     
  9. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    To thewalrus - you walked out of job without giving notice? I heard you can be sued for doing that?? Alas i too am being bullied by the head and have only been there a few months. I was planning on walking out as i dont need a ref or anything from the school but got scared about being sued so handed in notice and am now just bidding my time. Bullying is very common in schools but this is worst i have ever experienced. Union was useless and i am glad that i saw the heads true colours so early so at least i can get out.
     
  10. anon8956

    anon8956 New commenter

    Re naming and shaming...there should be a national gov forum where anonymous staff can name a school. Yes it would have trip advisor type problems. However OFSTED would he alerted to schools with unusually high complaints. The site itself would not be evidence but it would be am indicator of a possible problem
     
    nagmeshaw, wendywinnard and mrstoad like this.
  11. stickieandbwar

    stickieandbwar New commenter

    I have just got out of teaching because I am so absolutely disillusioned with the appalling management which I have encountered in it. I have not always been a teacher and have worked for some pretty difficult and demanding people, but I have never known incompetence and malice to be rewarded on quite such an astounding scale. I worked for a wonderful and very experienced Head teacher for six years. When she retired, there was only one applicant for her job, who had only been in teaching herself for seven years. Not that that would necessarily mean that she was incapable of course, but it certainly turned out to be a terrible choice. The Governors were loath to admit that she had been the only applicant and when forced to do so assured us that she would be marvellous. Which she might well have been had she been a completely different type of person. She began as she meant to go on - by constantly criticising the old Head and casting unpleasant aspersions as to her ability and commitment. Then embarked on a concerted campaign of bullying each teacher in turn. We were a very small school so it didn't take her long to get rid of us all. A year later, every member of staff had left, but not before we had been reduced to nervous, tearful wrecks. The ways in which she belittled and mistreated experienced and dedicated staff are too numerous for me to list here. She cheated in phonics tests and SATS (we all know that this can be done, but I was shocked to see it actually happen) and demanded that we changed our teacher assessments of children so that they looked better for her and worse for the old Head. When we refused to do so she changed them for us. All our old good observations had apparently been 'lost' and when we produced our own copies they were waved aside and we were told that they were probably inaccurate and in any case null and void under the new dispensation. Our new observations were not good. We were told that our previous achievement of a 'good' with outstanding features at OFSTED was irrelevant and that OFSTED had been 'being kind to you.' I wasn't aware that OFSTED was known for being kind. Mind you - I have absolutely no faith in OFSTED either as they completely failed to pick up on her falsification of resullts when they finally came despite having been alerted to it by staff. Anonymously obviously. So maybe we really were all utterly rubbish. I really don't know any more. The Governors were dismayed and the Chair of Governors resigned, but no one stood up for the staff. I was lucky - I saw which way the wind was blowing and got out very quickly, using a reference from my old Head. Before this I went to the Union, but they just told me not to 'make it worse for yourself by aggravating her.' In other words, roll over. She was furious when I got a new job as she felt that a member of staff leaving so quickly reflected poorly on her so she promptly phoned up the Head at my new job and slagged me off. When I discovered this I went straight to the Governors and the Union which scared the Governors enough for them to insist that she write me a reference and let me go immediately. They aplogised to me - not officially of course. My experience in my new job was OKish, but the whole thing just made me lose all faith in the management structures in teaching. I realised how incredibly vulnerable I was and got out after ten years in teaching. Meanwhile this woman and others like her seem to be going from strength to strength. It is farcical. I see that this thread began in 2013. It is 2017 now and i agree with every word which is in the first post. I loved teaching and like everyone else worked 12 hours days for years. I didn't mind doing it for my first Head, but I now realise that she was the exception, not the rule and that her kind - long serving, experienced, concerned about the wellbeing of the children and her staff and not thrown into a blind panic by every directive and passing fashion - are a dying breed. I would never, ever advise anyone to go into teaching.
     
    nagmeshaw likes this.
  12. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    Just landed on this posting. I love your faith in Governors. I know of a case where the governors allowed the head to run the proceedings of her own grievance. I think having employed the head, they do not want to lose face when the head turns out not to be v good.
     
  13. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    The situation of bullying heads continues in 2017 when I have landed on this thread years after it started. What are we going to do?
     
    wendywinnard, mrstoad and rosievoice like this.
  14. wendywinnard

    wendywinnard New commenter

    Just lost my mum. Spent a week at her bedside as she died. I returned to work 3 days after she passed so I didn't have to face the massive amount of work which was mounting.
    On the second day at 5 pm the VP isolated me in my office questioning why I'd passed on a task to a colleague.
    This is NOT his first offense there are many.
    Going to keep my head down but am dreading returning tomorrow.
    My mental health is suffering and an at a loss what to do.
    I can't move out as I'm too experienced and too expensive.
    So sad.
     
  15. curious-cat

    curious-cat New commenter

    I left secondary teaching to go into FE.
    Less pay but no bullying. It’s the first time in years I have felt a lot less pressure. That was my was of escaping a bullying school.
     
  16. eaf1

    eaf1 New commenter

    I can't agree more.
    I am familiar with everything you have said about bullying aND the attitude of the Unions and Givernors.
    So I came back to Africa and composed all my experiences in a memoir of about 300 pages.
    If you need a copy just let me send you one by post.
    Email
    ersoneducation@gmail.com
     
    Miffy2016 likes this.
  17. MsLightness

    MsLightness New commenter

    could you post some extracts for us to read? That would be good...
     
  18. gswellard

    gswellard New commenter

    The advice given by Winshill about what to do if you are being bullied by a head was spot on. The total lack of democracy in the teaching environment of Primary schools is allowing abuse by management on a massive scale as teachers continue to leave the profession in droves.My own experience of moving from the more caring SLD sector to mainstream Primary was awful.Having been appointed to my new post by the Deputy who had some social skills I arrived at my new job to find that the Deputy and 5 other staff had left( from a small one form entry school.)
    The very first words spoken to me by the head who had just returned from 6 months mysterious sick leave were.".I see you are from special education with very little mainstream Primary experience.Well,I will give you til half term to come up to speed and if you dont I will be going for your jugular.".So,my first day in my new school started with an unprovoked violent threat from the head.I then wasnt surprised that she had just lost 6 teaching staff over the Summer break..These sociopaths are now even more common in headship roles.Something has to be done to root out this abuse of power.That particular school was in Hackney.
     
    Richmondson likes this.
  19. Richmondson

    Richmondson New commenter

    Winshill, I agree with most of what you say but these bullies need to be taken to task. With anti-bullying policies and mental health awareness weeks etc. these people know exactly what they're doing. Soon there will be no real teachers left.
    Point 6 . . . . have you got any official stats on this?
     
  20. Miffy2016

    Miffy2016 New commenter

    I'm sad to read that so many like myself, have experienced working for a HT who is a bully. How on earth do they get away with it? I worked in a tiny school and after submitting a FOI request to the local council, I discovered that since the HT joined 7 years ago, 50 members of staff have left! To the best of my knowledge, only three went of their own accord, all the others could not stand working there any longer. When I joined there were stories floating around of previous members of staff sobbing in the loos, but of course my boss was perfectly nice to me in the begining so I just put that down to the previous staff being 'sensitive.' Until it happened to me.......the union and CC haven't been much help, no one seems to care as long as a school has good results and theres plenty of happy parents and staff who are up the HT's backside.
     
    angharad2000 likes this.

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