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Nightmare member of staff

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by teatowel, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. I have been a HT for just over a year and am tearing my hair out over a member of support staff. She is rude, aggressive, constantly on the phone to her union and has most of the staff scared of her (if they complain about her or upset her in any way she immediately writes a letter to the Governors and phones her union!!) The previous HT suspended her but she managed to come back.

    What do I do?
  2. Staff such as the one you describe drain the energy of everyone and really affect staff morale. I would try a range of avenues:
    ask your staffing committee of governors for support;
    speak to Human Resources and see if it is appropriate to issue 'Management Advce' (the first stage of a written warning);
    speak to the member of staff to see if there is an underlying problem, she may need support with something; tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable and offer to support her.

    Good luck!
  3. gather as much evidence a possible, letters from staff etc..don't worry about the union and get the *** on harrassment, bullying, incompitance etc....stand up to her, as long as you follow proceedure she will not have a leg to stand on.
    Change her role and move her to a class with a stong member of staff who can collate evidence for you. Hit her with management instructions whenever possible and prepare for a bout of "work relatd stress". Bullies never last long when faced with someone who stands up to them.
  4. Restructure your support staff and get rid.
  5. managersshouldmanage

    managersshouldmanage New commenter

    Dreadful. Simply dreadful that this response has even made it on here. Maybe frustration at restructure and poor management are to blame.
  6. Rogues are rogues, and need to be disposed of.
  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Indeed... hang on a minute. Are there issues in your school that this member of staff is actively reacting to? What issues is she 'contacting her union; regarding? I really feel that an informal coffee meeting with this member of staff might give her the platform to relay her concerns professional, or indeed personal and go some way to resolving the issue. And I certainly wouldn't take any notice of what a previous head teacher did - That is history and past, and there is no saying that the previous head teacher was correct in their actions.
  8. AlwaysAdaptable

    AlwaysAdaptable New commenter

    I find what you say Daisyslot very thought provoking. God knows how many times I have seen and heard of new heads, DHs and certain members of SLT have it in for some one on the say so of past heads, or even one silly mistake. IMO some heads can be very unforgiving and can ruin the future of a good teacher. From my experience I don't know anyone who contacts the union just for the sake of it.

  9. Advice from CurlyGirl

    "But if you're cynical and miserable you can be just like oldgit. Something to aspire to."

  10. No - she really is a nasty piece of work - unfortunately I cannot be specific as obviously I wish the school and member of staff to remain anonymous.
    The most obvious step seems to be changing the role which although not straight forward is possible. She has refused to sign her current job description as she seems to think that this would 'tie her down.'
    The situation is very draining on both myself and the school staff.
    Surely there must be another HT somewhere who has suffered a similar situation???
    By the way I did not listen to any gossip when I first arrived at the school as I believed that a fresh start for all would be the best option - I now wish that I had.
  11. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    What you mean is that 'in your opinion' she is x, y and z..... I really do not feel it is a head teachers place to judge personalities, or indeed down tread a member of staffs issues on their employment and workplace. How do you know she does not have good reason to be cautious, and perhaps show a lack of confidence in those managing her? To be frank, if I worked under a head who didn't know how to handle this situation other than to *** about it I probably wouldn't have much confidence in them myself. Every work place will have the 'difficult member of staff', but it is how it is handled that shows true managerial skill.
  12. True, and if the individual has a negative effect on the team, then they must go. A head has to have the big picture in mind, if an individual is not doing what they need to do or disrupting, then, if they cannot be brought round by passive means they must go!
    Managerial skill is not always a nicey-nicey soft and fluffy path.
  13. Sometimes there are members of staff who are just so suspicious/self-centred that they refuse to accept that actually not every member of the management is determined to grind their faces into the dust. They refuse to accept that there are managers out there who do want to do a good job and do actually believe in empowerment and leadership. Sometimes they remind me of Alf Garnett in their determination to cling to ways of thinking that no longer have any relevance. All I can do in these circumstances is to seek to explain and persuade but if they persist in regarding me as Attila the Hun - then I'm afraid, I will get rid of them. And if I can't, I'll redeploy them to a place where they can't do so much harm.
  14. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I am really sorry, but I cannot agree. Head teachers are people managers - and that will mean managing difficult staff and situations. Managing is not defined as 'get rid of', especially as it is peoples lives being played with on this game board. I also think stamping out that attitude rather than encouraging it as a solution is important - after all, the tables can turn and it could be a collection of staff deciding that YOU, the head teacher are problematic... and in that situation I would hope staff would come forth and endeavor to find a workable solution rather than decide to 'get rid' of seemingly awkward head teacher.....
  15. Daisyslot - I really do think that you are being naive - what right does one person have to bully others and make their workplace a miserable place to be. Of course I have sat down with her to discuss her 'issues' and 'behaviour'. It resulted in her sending a letter to the Governors about harassment!!! I would not be doing my job properly if I allowed the situation to continue - that is why I posted on here to find out if others have had similar situations.
    There is no 'workable' situation - the most upsetting thing of all is that people like this person exist in the world!!! She forgets that we are a school supposedly all working together for the sake of the children.
  16. Don't be afraid of her Union, they may even turn out to be an ally, or at least a conduit for better communication. If you establish that you are working within the rules, and of course accept that a Union will back it's member within those rules, maybe then it would be possible for her union reps to recognise the awkward position their member is putting themselves in, and they may want to move things along for the sake of everybody...are there other members of staff in the same union?
  17. Believe it or not she has had to change unions because it got to the point that her previous union refused to represent her anymore! She has now taken out a grievance against them!!
    If she wasn't part of my working life I wouldn't believe that such a person exists or behaves in such a way. I also wouldn't believe how difficult it is to deal with such a situation! They don't have problems like this on Waterloo Road!!
  18. As a loose connection sometimes in Law people are described as a 'vexatious litigant', and their particular greivence is dismissed because it is in the context of non-stop aggro. If even her Union has abandoned her, after the formality of an internal appeals process she may well find herself increasingly isolated. It may be there is no quick fix, but there will be an eventual fix it seems to me.
  19. The time is perfect to look at the support staffing structure. With downward pressure on budgets, it gives a good opportunity to restructure the team. Inviting all to apply for new posts and positions.
    If you can move from say a team of 6 support staff to just 4, then it may give the opportunity to those to apply for posts elsewhere. Do not ring fence or job slot, and make the process totally open. Be guided by HR advice.
  20. Ehem... ¿Cómo? I didn't think this was optional..?

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