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Lost backing of the staff

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Kenny9, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. Kenny9

    Kenny9 New commenter

    Hello, first time I've been this forum wondering if anyone can help me.
    I'm a new headteacher, took up post in a couple of months ago in a one form entry primary school. The staff are very established and are resistant to change. When I suggest any new ideas it goes silent, I ask for feedback but none comes directly back to me. Then they talk amongst themselves and dig their heels in and don't really give it a try. No big bust ups just a silent resistance or unpleasant comments written on my lesson observation form (feedback).
    I have to take quite a lot of the blame, OFSTED (school is satisfactory)are due and I was feeling the pressure and this has been transferred to the staff (not my intention). When I arrived there was no monitoring system or good tracking system in place and teachers were hand writing maths sheets.
    I tried to change too many things at once and I've lost the backing of the staff. A lot of which is my fault. I'm feeling very stressed and I can't sleep. If anyone has any ideas I would greatly appreciate it. I feel I'm sinking here, things are getting a bit desperate.

     
  2. Kenny9

    Kenny9 New commenter

    Hello, first time I've been this forum wondering if anyone can help me.
    I'm a new headteacher, took up post in a couple of months ago in a one form entry primary school. The staff are very established and are resistant to change. When I suggest any new ideas it goes silent, I ask for feedback but none comes directly back to me. Then they talk amongst themselves and dig their heels in and don't really give it a try. No big bust ups just a silent resistance or unpleasant comments written on my lesson observation form (feedback).
    I have to take quite a lot of the blame, OFSTED (school is satisfactory)are due and I was feeling the pressure and this has been transferred to the staff (not my intention). When I arrived there was no monitoring system or good tracking system in place and teachers were hand writing maths sheets.
    I tried to change too many things at once and I've lost the backing of the staff. A lot of which is my fault. I'm feeling very stressed and I can't sleep. If anyone has any ideas I would greatly appreciate it. I feel I'm sinking here, things are getting a bit desperate.

     
  3. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    First of all calm down. Take stock. I think a staff meeting where you have a frank and honest discussion might be the way forward. State your case, ofsted are due any day, satisfactory is much harder to achieve than it was pre September 09, you are trying to make sure that the school doesn't end up in a category.
    Tell them how you feel. You need to find a way to love forward together. Explain that keeping things as they are is not an option, ask how you can support them to move their practice on.
    What's your sip like?
     
  4. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    That was a typo. Move forward not love forward.
     
  5. Kenny9

    Kenny9 New commenter

    The SIP has been attached to the school for over a year. The previous head didn't want her to do any observations, so she never did ! In our last meeting we looked at the SDP and SEF and she said they were both poor in terms of success criteria and relating this to the SEF and indeed the generalness of the targets (completed by last head). Can't believe the SIP hadn't tackled this with the last head. In my previous school the SIP was very rigourous and challenging - I prefer it that way.

     
  6. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Use your sip. Do some joint observations with them. Explain to the staff that you've asked the sip to validate your judgements to make sure they're accurate. This will help them to accept that they need to up their game to improve and help you to move things forward.
     
  7. Divide and rule. Have key stage meetings not full meetings. Highlight the positives of one key stage over another. Pretend there is a management point in the offing. Higher the criteria for UP2 and 3. Threaten /take disciplinary action (teachers soon fall in to line). Welcome special measures to clear out the deadwood-you haven't been in place long enough for u to get blamed. They'll never be your friend so don't placate them. You must undermine their confidence so they need you more than more than you need them. Leave the jobs page on the table. Basically declare war on your staff.
     
  8. Kenny9

    Kenny9 New commenter

    I think I'm holding myself accountable for all the mistakes of the past. If Ofsted were to come I feel I would get the blame for everything, as there are so many things that need updating.
    When I arrived first most of the CRBs were well out of date.
     
  9. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I feel that the advice given above is most unwise and will lead to even more stress for you. I've been in your shoes kenny, and have managed to successfully turn things around. It's possible to take staff with you, but not if you take a confrontational approach. Your life ( and theirs) will be hell and your school will be a mess.
     
  10. headown is talking utter rot. I agree with curlygirly.
    You might want to try a little less asking and a bit more telling, in a very polite way. You are the boss, after all.
     
  11. Oh. My. God.
    Very mature.
    Do all this and you will very soon get a reputation as a bully and a subsequently high staff turnover - and not in any good way.
    Thank god I dont work for you headdown... (or maybe I have...?!![​IMG])
     
  12. frymeariver

    frymeariver New commenter

    I do not believe headdown is a head. I could be way off the mark, but surely this is someone who has experienced poor leadership in the past and now assumes this is what all heads are like.
    I would agree with a frank discussion at a staff meeting as a way forward. Many years ago I was in a challening school with a new head who lost the backing of many of the staff as they did not like the change she was trying to introduce. She called an extraordinary staff meeitng and laid it all on the line for the whole staff: without significant change the school was headed for the rocks. It changed the way staff felt about her: no one left, things changed dramatically and she galvanised us into a team. When Ofsted put us in special measures we all went out together (almost all of the staff), got drunk as lords and set about proving them wrong!
    It's worth remembering that laying out clearly why change is needed is an important part of the change management process. You have a vision of what the school needs to look like, but it's not going to be effective if it stays in your head, so tell them and give them an idea of what it means you will have to change. Then plan how you will bring about the change but make sure you give yourself a realistic timescale to do so. Then everyone knows what to expect and when.
    Trying to change too much too quickly can feel, to those on the receiving end, like a knee jerk reaction caused by headless chicken syndrome. Your staff need to feel comfortable that you know what you are doing and that you will support them to get there with you. I am not sure about the SIP benchmarking judgements about teaching and learning. You do not say in your OP that teaching is an issue. If they are good teachers then let them know that and don't let them think that you are scapegoating them for the whole school issues that need to be addressed.
    And remember, once you have made some changes - no matter how small - and they have worked then you will begin to build momentum, and once that happens the pace of change will accelerate.
     
  13. There is a difference between losing the backing of the staff and never having their backing. They don't want YOU so you can't placate them. Pick on one member of staff put them through the grrinder and watch the others crumble. It's you are them.
     
  14. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    The alternative, which would be much more effective and pleasant for all concerned, would be to take them with you. Find your allies and the rest will follow.
     
  15. YOU need sacking. I would hate any of my children to attend your school, if this is the culture you promote.

    You are an embarrassment to the profession, and as the previous poster said, its hard to believe youre genuinely even a head, apart from having read your other posts - which would sadly indicate that you are. I bet the people that appointed you know nothing of you're opinions, do they?

    So when you 'pick' on this member of staff and they turn round and (justifiably) slap you with a grievance procedure because maybe they're not the wet lettuce you thought they were, what will your response be?

    Or do you only 'pick' on those weaker than you, because I think we all know what that makes you.

    Jees, if I knew what school you worked in I'd be on the phone to the governors/LA first thing Monday morning.
     
  16. I wasn't suggesting every head use this strategy. It was in response to a particular unco-operative staff. The OP is clearly going to have to do something and waiting for them to come on board (which probably won't happen) will take far to long for a satisfactory and downward heading school.
    You owe it to the children and parents to sort out this mess-so man up
     
  17. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    It's possible to turn a total mess around in a very short space of time, without resorting to bullying tactics.
    Your suggestions, headdown will lead to a worse experience for the children, teachers and head. The op would be most unwise to follow your advice in my opinion. I speak as someone who's been there and had the t shirt and now supports heads in barely satisfactory, nti and sm schools.
     
  18. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I am in a school where the new head has had to do this to staff, who where entranched in practices not condusive to good teaching.......she tells them straight what is needed and although some moan the move is happening...and already the ofsted led judgement criterea has shown up weaker members of staff.
    Strangely I find myself agreeing with her mostly and not on the side of some staff who from a management view i consider heal digging......if change has got to come then my opinion is make it change for you.....go with the flow but make it flow your way lol
    My objection would be to heads who dont explain and just try to bulldoze changes though.I still believe that teachers are one of the most intellegent communities around, and recognise that changes do happen......but i do hate being treated as mere chattle and forced to do it like some ancient serf of old by a baronail? lord!
     
  19. I will put this in a few parts as I can't seem to get my paragraphs to stay.

    I can?t speak as a headteacher but can as a member of staff where a new head came in and tried to change a lot of things. Our head had a long list of things we were not doing well and spent every staff meeting sharing another new initiative or planned change without giving us a chance to implement the last change. As a relatively new member to the teaching staff I could see how a lot of the things the head was pushing would have a good impact and in many cases were necessary. Unfortunately the way they were done did get peoples back up.
     
  20. I think you need to pick your battles. You say when you arrived there was no monitoring system or good tracking systems in place. I can see how this would need to be rectified and be done in a consistent way across the school. However you also mention that teachers were handwriting maths sheets. Is this that important? If I was told I was not aloud to hand write maths sheets I would be very annoyed and perceive it as a petty pet hate of the person issuing the order. Surely in the grand scheme of things this is a minor issue at the moment? Is it not the quality of the sheet being produced and not whether it is handwritten more important? If everyday they are writing a set of questions and copying them 30 times then yes address it, but if it is interesting and challenging activities then surely it does not matter. One of the best teachers we have handwrites everything. I found it was little points like this, the pet hates of our head teacher, which got our staff annoyed and so we were more resistant to other changes regardless of what they were.
     

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