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Resolving issues with Head Teacher

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lilykitty, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. lilykitty

    lilykitty New commenter

    Has anyone gone down the union / complaint path about their HT and had it end positively?
    I'm at a bit of a crossroads, and really don't want to make things worse by starting something formal, but getting to the point where I can't kid myself it's just going to stop by itself.
    Without going into the details, it's bullying behaviour which has been going on for about 6 months. I worked at the same school for several years previously without issue. I have tried sitting down with her and clearing the air, and this seemed to improve things for a bit, but now they are worse than ever.
    Don't want to cause trouble or make things worse and would really like to stay at the school, but also don't know how much more I can take.
    So - does going down the formal route ever work out well?
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Can you talk to the CofG first? Or follow your school's complaints procedure? Or talk to the DH/AH?

    Going down a formal route will mean your life is hell until you get yourself another post. It might just be easier to find a different job.
  3. sir2006

    sir2006 New commenter

    That advice is very poor to say the least. Get a different job because of one individual? What nonsense!
    Minnieminx, I'm not going to go into details about my own experience on here but let's just say I'm more than qualified to help you understand what you need to do.
    Firstly, you need to start documenting EVERYTHING and I do mean EVERYTHING which you think equates to bullying behaviour by your HT.
    It is essential that you speak with your union now, which does not mean you are beginning any sort of formal process or that your HT will be informed etc etc. This will give you a chance to discuss the issues which are affecting you and you can listen to the opinion of a Union Official who will no-doubt have experience in this area.
    It is highly likely that you will be advised to discuss the issues which are troubling you with your HT but if you are concerned that that this will backfire then you need to look at the potential positives which could come out of this encounter:
    *You will be able to document that you have taken a direct step to rectify the situation AND if your HT does not respond in a way that a good manager should then you have even more evidence to log!
    Depending on the type of person you are, you may find having to do this very difficult but take it from me, you NEED to! You have to be extremely polite and professional throughout and you must remain composed at all times. Wait until the HT responds to what you have to say face to face and if the response is unsatisfactory then you can subsequently include the fact that you have approached your Union for advice on the matter....this may well put the fear of God into the person in question if he/she KNOWS they are bullying you.
    If your attempt to rectify the situation goes totally wrong then you need to let the HT know that in no uncertain terms that you consider his/her actions to be bullying and that you are not prepared to tolerate it any longer.
    I should stress however that if things are really bad then you should gather and document your evidence before formally approaching the HT. This gives you more to work with should you have to go down the formal grievance route.
    If you get lucky, your HT may alter their behaviour - i.e. you won't be sending each other a Christmas Card but at least you can maintain a professional relationship. If the reaction is the total opposite then....(A) life probably will be hell but you'll be documenting the treatment you're being subjected to and (B) you're now working towards a formal grievance process which will probably be difficult to avoid at this point.
    The stress of this situation will (or IS) having a negative impact on your health and you should consider visiting your GP - not necessarily for medication but to allow your doctor to record the negative effects of your experiences at work. You may consider staying off....I would advise sticking it out as it will stand in your favour, especially if you have solid evidence which is undoubtedly bullying behviour. On the other hand, if you feel you need time off work due to work-related stress then that is for you to decide.
    Once you feel you have enough evidence and you have noted it you will need to think about approaching your Union re. next steps. If you go down the grievance route then it'll be tough but I'd imagine your aim will be to move to another establishment. As sad as it is, the HT won't be going anywhere unless we're talking about serious misconduct where more than once member of staff is prepared to take action. However, trust me when I say that there are some fantastic schools and HTs out there and you will look back on it all and be glad you did it!
    How does everyone else get on with the HT?

  4. byjingo

    byjingo New commenter

    I was in a similar position but the bullying was happening to others and on the few occasions it happened to me I lost my temper and she backed down. However, I could see that she was in a position to make my life very difficult by putting me in a year group she knew I would rather not have or any other of a thousand ways a head has to make life for teachers uncomfortable/impossible.
    So I planned my escape. It tooka while but I was determined to get out and I did. That was two and a half years ago and i am still intouch with the lovely bunch of teachers there and she is still being a bully.
    One thing I learned was to make notes of everything said to me or that I was asked to do. To make a note of: all the meetings she was late for, observations cancelled at the last moment or done without notice, time spent observing a lesson. Notes on when TA's were taken out of lessons at short notice or with no notice. I also noted this for any collegues that happened to tell me.
    Sounds like real cloak and dagger stuff but I knew that IF I had to go to a union I would need plenty of concrete evidence. Thankfully I did not need it but I am so glad I got out. Moving is stressful and no one should be chased from a job but it was my choice and I am so glad I did not give myself more stress by fighting.
    I wish you all the very best and hope that it goes well for you. And I hope you do not find my ramblings too depressing.

  5. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    That is why MM suggested that they look for another job. It is far better to do it before you go down the grievance route. A bit pointless after as you will find it harder to get another job.
  6. sir2006

    sir2006 New commenter

    It depends how you interpret 'find another job'....are we talking about another teaching job within the Education Authority or another job entriely? If the job MM refers to is that of another teaching post then this could take a very very long time and in some cases can be impossible: i.e. in my EA there are virtually no alternative teaching jobs and even if there was, transfers are far from common.
    In my experience going down the grievance route does not make it more difficult to secure another job....even if this remains on your file, it won't be made known to prospective employers as it's highly confidential.
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Getting unions involved and taking a formal route will do both of those things. As has been pointed out to you, it is a very long hard route. Obviously if you a 'fight til the death' person then go for it.

    If you are more of a 'I prefer a quite life without confrontation and hassle' then I'd stick by my advice of finding another job. Of course you shouldn't HAVE to leave because of one member of staff, but it is what I would do as I'd never have the inclination to fight and get unions involved and all of that.

    Only you can decide.
    i was bullied by my headteacher - but was fortunate to find another job. However I am still haunted by the way I was treated, still have terrible low self esteem and still go white when my new lovely head teacher asks to see me.
    i had no closure.
    My previous headteacher is still getting away with it and has bullied several staff into leaving the profession altogether.

  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'm not saying they should. I'm just saying that if you are a non-confrontational person who doesn't like trouble, it might be a good idea to simply consider leaving. That is all.

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