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New Headteacher problems

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Middlemarch, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Get away, surely not?! Have they, by any chance, any realistic grasp of the state the school's actually in?
  2. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    Have you got yourself a Professional Partner through the NCSL? You are entitled to the services of a Professional Partner and you can chose the person who you would like to support you. Professional partners are there to support/coach you and will give you 20 hours of one-to-one support over two years. They do not represent the LA and do not feedback to the LA or the NCSL. They can coach you through some of the difficulties you may be experiencing and help you deal with the barriers.
    Remember: you can't do all the jobs you would like to in the first term etc. Each day throws up new challenges and often you feel as if you are 'fire-fighting'. The job is worth sticking at though, even though there may not be many people around you who fully understand the job and the achievements you will have.
    Hope this is helpful [​IMG]
  3. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Hi, I'd second what curlygirly and mychuck have to say and add a little more.

    The first thing is to take a deep breath and a step back. I'm assuming that you are concerned that having had one satisfactory and there being little improvment since, the school could be looking at NTI or even worse.
    With Ofsted due soon, I'd do an honest evalution of the school's current postion and present it to governors and staff. That way, when Ofsted do come they can see that you do have a handle on the school and are displaying the caapcity to help it improve, this should help you stay out of Special Measure's at least. In addition, if you make sure the govenrors and stfa know the school's current positon and where it needs to go, you are building further the schools' capacity to improve.
    However, you need to handle this very carefully. If you're not honest enough staff and govenrors wont face the reality. But if you are too brutally honest you risk demoralising the staff. You need them to believe that you feel they can make succesful improvements (even if you don't). Staff who think you have faith in them are more likely to work with you and be more confidnet in meeting new challenges that lie ahead. Remember, you can't talk your way out of something that you behave your way into. So act like you believe in them!

    The other thing I'd say is be in it for the long haul. It took 3 years for the changes we made at my school to impact on Y6 reults, but when they did we went from 48% v 4 in Maths and Eng combined to 85% the next year! And from the 90 days of exclusion that I made in my first term to 1 day in the whole of last year!
  4. Thank you for the advice, I need to get myself a professional partner. Thanks for all the other advice as well it's very helpful.

    I think I was so keen to do well, I made the rookie mistake of suggesting a few too many changes. Can't take that back now, so will just have to get on with it.
    If it did go pear shaped, do you think anyone would take me on as a deputy again ? I've always been pretty successful up until now.
    Thanks again.
  5. bnm


    Don't forget that it is not possible to have all staff liking you and all you do all the time. My current staff are a fabulous group, but I have worked with some staff that have had a few vocal "whingers" that got me down as they appeared to object to any change on principle that it was a change.
  6. My deputy is not that supportive, she has been there for 20 years +, in the same class and hasn't been that helpful. Just wants to do her class and doesn't want to be actively involved in decisions but then moans about it quietly and gets the others going.

  7. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Oh it all sounds very familiar!
  8. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    You will meet many staff like your deputy and to be honest you might never bring her round to the way you would like to do things. What you have to decide is how you are going to manage her. Is she a good/effective teacher? If she is then you will have to look at gaining 'small wins' with her. If she's not, then you will have to confront this and ask yourself; "Is this the right school for her?".
    If she is a major barrier then the longer you take to address this then the worse it will become. Sign up for your Professional Partner.
    Take care.
  9. HI
    Iam a new head too and have had days feeling just like you. It's a tough tough job and I often feel like going bach to DH role but feel I've burned my bridges. Its still tough but my Proff. partner has been a godsend, as have other local headteachers who I have met. My Senior Teacher sounds much like your DH and, as she is a year away from retirement, is tough to deal with...I'm trying to pick my battles wisely. Chin up....I hope it'll get better for both of us. Find someone you can trsy and talk to xx
  10. fab208

    fab208 New commenter

    Hang in there - the job is tough but it does get better as long as you have support. Some of this will be from family and friends, but you do need to have a mentor and colleagues who you can turn to for help - even if it just off loading. We have a really good network of heads locally who have resisted all attepts from the Local Authority to hijack our meetings - we call them Pastoral Cluster meetings which is just another name for getting together to offload and ask the seemingly stupid questions that we daren't ask others. We only meet once a term, but it is a lifeline for all of us and I certainly wouldn't have got through my first couple of years without it. You need to make sure that you build some strong relationships with local heads and start to get that network going - believe me, most good heads aren't as confident as they appear to be and everyone has days when you think you just want to get in the car, drive off and never look back!
    Your staff will resist you because they are frightened about what is to come and they'd rather hide behiond their probably well ingrained behaviours than admit that change has to come. Sometimes this means apathy (which I found hardest to deal with), hostility or just a lack of co-operation. People are often very defensive when a new head comes in, especially when they have a strong allegiance to the school or are very ingrained in ways of working. Be really careful of change for change's sake, and (although you almost have to bite your tongue off at times) try not to criticise the previous - probably much loved - head or their regime, ideas, philosophy, etc! You do need to grab the bull by the horns and tackle your DHT though. You need to think really carefully about your expectations, her job and role description and the Professional Leadership Standards. Then you need to really get it out in the open and tell her that she is not fulfilling her responsibilities to the school (if this is the case). It may be that this has to happen through Performance Management. Don't crack! Go for it!
    My turning point was when one member of staff who had been here a long time was just awful to a new member of staff - nobody challenged it because that was the way she was and had always been and the received wisdom was that you really didn't want to get on the wrong side of her. I did challenge it and made my feelings known and it was exactly the right thing to do (even though I was nearly sick with nerves the night before). Not rudely or nastily but just a very frank discussion about expectations and standards of conduct. The fact that I stood up to that person I think gave the message that I wouldn't have it from anyone else either, and it also won me the respect of those who were scared of her. I also think there is a lot to be said for really thinking about which members of staff are going to have the most significant impact on change and improvement and focus your energies on them. There are some people who will never want to change and move with you but they will soon be in the minority and you will have a team who share your vision and ideas and have the confidence to suggest and develop their own ways forward. I think that a lot of heads find managing people far more difficult and time consuming than dealing with hundreds of children. When you go into headship you are so focused on what you want your school to be like that you don't really appreciate how hard it is to take people with you. I also feel that you have probably earnt your stripes and won respect from colleagues as a deputy but in a new school no-one knows you from Adam and you have to start all over again gaining trust and showing that you are not a villain and that you are passionate about making the school a success.

    It is still really early days - and the other thing to say is that you haven't burnt your bridges. If you really decide headship isn't for you then there are other opportunities. Good luck!

  11. leadlearner

    leadlearner New commenter

    Stick with it. Remember as hard as it is - it isn't about being liked, it is about being effective. Staff sometimes show resentment because actually you are rocking the boat and trying to move things on. Get the priorities right and don't led moaners deter you. You can't make every body happy and this shouldn't be the aim. Focus on what is right for the pupils and things will fall into place.
    Make networks with other Heads, be around school and have a clear plan of action - the early days of new leadership are always hard....but don't look backwards you were appointed as you were the right candidate and you clearly wanted to be Head. Get some sounding boards out of school and keep your cool in school.....the staff will get used to the new leadership. It will get easier! We all have days when we feel we are making mistakes but resilience is what is needed. [​IMG]Good Luck

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