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Should Headteachers teach ?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Happygopolitely, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    I’m fascinated to know where you find the time to research all this. It’s good to know but I suspect most of us are so preoccupied with our workloads we probably don’t get time to read in this sort of detail.
    Happygopolitely likes this.
  2. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Rott Weiler and Happygopolitely like this.
  3. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    So you are doing the right thing for your pupils. I don't need my head to teach, I need them to support me to teach well.
    Happygopolitely likes this.
  4. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    And how would a head do that if they have forgotten how to teach or support properly? Indeed some heads - but not all- are only too happy to scapegoat teachers in the guise 'support'. They might even call it a 'support package' especially designed for the lowly, struggling teacher who ended up failing because they got the poorly behaved group that cannot be excluded or reprimanded. All a potential trap for the teacher of course.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Yes indeed, I've said it often on here so I'm glad someone was reading it! :) Chair of governors and a NLG (National Leader of Governance). Hence why I know where this DFE stuff is, to advise governing bodies that should know but don't.
  6. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    Perhaps all heads could take a sabbatical every 5 years to take a class/classes for the entire year, following all their school policies on marking, assessment, report writing, data trawls etc.
    lardylegs, meggyd and lardylady like this.
  7. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I'm well aware of the horrors of the "support package" - I'm a regular reader of Workplace Dilemmas. Also, got the T-shirt although I just got threatened with capability out of the blue (no real talk of support) but that was a long time ago. When people ask about heads teaching I suppose I just think of all the things that need doing at my school at leadership level and I can't see how we could function with a teaching head. Our head was teaching until fairly recently though which makes a difference.
  8. unfoggingblogger

    unfoggingblogger Occasional commenter

    The classic dilemma = lots of PE teachers in SLT.

    This creates an imbalance in strategic thinking.

    If I was a head, I would scrap book marking -- however, if teachers wanted to, I would not stop them.

    I would have them focus on knowledge tests, which can be marked online, and then skills based assessments half-termly.

    If we pull the marking rug away, teachers would have no excuses on delivering quality planned lessons.
    lardylegs likes this.
  9. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    The problem here, like the problem in many school marking & assessment policies is that it is one size fits all. Is this policy to be applied equally, regardless of whether you are teaching an essay-based A-level class that you see 5 hours / week, or a KS3 Music or Drama class that you see once a week and teach almost exclusively practical lessons? In secondary school, marking & assessment policies should be tailored to the subject and level at which you are teaching.
  10. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    In answer to the original question, yes, in a school down the road for two weeks on a supply teacher sabbatical!
  11. D1p5t1ck

    D1p5t1ck New commenter

    I am a head of 17yrs and 3 schools - i teach and have taught every day in y6 maths.
    This yr 20/21 pupils in my grp reached expected level with 1 of those 20 gaining greater depth.

    Heads should lead by example, we came into the job to teach and if youre good at it why hide a strength in the corner of ur office!
    ViolaClef and Easyasabc like this.
  12. mindylou68

    mindylou68 New commenter

    I have been a HT since 2005 in both a small village school and currently a one form entry primary. I have always had a teaching commitment in my week. Increasingly more from a budget point of view!
    ViolaClef and Easyasabc like this.
  13. azhal-halil

    azhal-halil New commenter

    my old deputy head and many asistant head teachers taught one with an assistant head with a PhD taught even though he didn't need to has he was incharge of behaviour across the academy however the situation regarding head teachers per say is the responsibility across the school/ academy in general ill give you an anecdote the school I finished recently turned into an academy a year before I graduated and the head teacher would've had to finalise the deals with the academy trust aswel as get a school together which was rated inadequate, behaviour was poor rated one of the worst schools in Birmingham staff were leaving left right and centre how do you expect a head teacher to plan adequate lessons have time and have no stress of running a school and planning 5 lessons a day ? they work hard to get into their status position with some head teachers with 15 years+ within the industry. personally I feel they've earned their right to not teach lessons and have a status above other staff.
  14. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Where I come from, it is common practice for primary head teachers to teach pupils on a regular basis. Even where they have no permanent class commitment, a lack of supply cover and budget constraints means they are regularly covering classes at all stages.

    Whilst this greatly increases their workload, it does mean they are well acquainted with all the children and have first hand experience of the sort of challenges that teachers face every day. Needless to say, they don't overload staff with unnecessary, box-ticking bureaucracy and focus on teaching and learning that directly benefits pupils.

    One head teacher I knew followed those principles and tried to value each member of staff. In return, the teachers gave of their best and worked closely together as a team. The school was well supported by parents, and pupils performed well above the national, and local authority, average in assessments. In particular, their very positive behaviour and commitment to learning was highlighted during local authority evaluations.

    It was a happy and positive place to work - until, unfortunately, the school inspectorate arrived.

    Whilst acknowledging that the head teacher was extremely committed and held in the highest esteem by staff and parents, they decided that he lacked the necessary leadership skills for the senior job he had been doing very successfully for 20 years!

    They expected the head teacher to distance himself from staff, and the classroom, and impose top-down, micromanagement of all learning and teaching, with an emphasis on 'pace of learning', 'continuous improvement', 'rigorous monitoring and evaluation', etc. etc. His job, effectively, was to convince everyone else that every new idea passed down from above was the best thing since sliced bread, no matter how ill-thought out. 'Critical thinking' was apparently for pupils - not teachers and head teachers.

    The head teacher, in question, left teaching or, more accurately, was bullied out. It took more than a year to find a replacement and, even then, there was only one application for the post. In addition, during that period, more than half the experienced staff left for other schools. A once very successful school, in anyone's eyes, went downhill very quickly with a deterioration in the standard of pupils' behaviour and general academic performance.

    However, the school inspectorate was, officially, 'happy with progress'.

    It later emerged that the whole inspection process had been rigged by the local authority and school inspectorate in advance. The purpose would appear to have been to replace a successful head teacher, committed to honesty and integrity in education, with someone more amenable, and adaptable, to whatever the political agenda of the day might be.

    In short, it was an act of educational vandalism and those responsible would seem to have had little, or no, concern for the damage it did to a whole school community.
    Easyasabc likes this.
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I don't believe that is true. The LA have no ability to do any such thing. The LA don't even know in advance that the inspection team is coming in. Whatever else might be the failings of Ofsted inspections I do not believe they employ crooks to carry out rigged inspections as part of a conspiracy with the LA.

    How did it "later emerge"? What evidence did you personally see? Did you tell your union? Or make a formal complaint about the conduct of the inspection?
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  16. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    They were not Ofsted inspectors.

    They were school inspectors working for Education Scotland. The evidence of the rigged inspection came to light following a freedom of information request which showed that the school pre-inspection report (PIR), containing all available data, had been secretly altered before being sent on to Education Scotland. The original (and correct) report was kept on file at the local authority headquarters.

    Education Scotland did everything possible to avoid releasing their copy of the PIR arguing that it might cause distress to the people who had provided the altered information but they were compelled to release it by the Scottish Information Commissioner.

    The local authority and Education Scotland were unable to explain why there were two versions of the PIR and the Senior Chief Inspector agreed to review their procedures to ensure such a serious irregularity would never happen again.

    No-one in Education Scotland could remember who had sent them the altered PIR or even the identity of the senior officer who would normally send them such reports which is strange to say the least.

    The Head of Corporate Services at Education Scotland has admitted that some local authorities in Scotland have not been open and transparent with their schools and this has been confirmed by the Scottish Government.

    The altered PIR exactly matched the final inspection report and was clearly intended to influence the inspection proper. Although the managing inspector had copies of all the original documents upon which the PIR was based, she claims she did not notice the alterations even though they should have been immediately obvious.

    The Chief Executive of the local authority in question eventually admitted that the PIR had been secretly altered by the Head of Quality Assurance. She argued that the Head of Quality Assurance was 'authorised to do anything she thought appropriate' but she declined to inform the school community of the alterations.

    Like you, I never believed school inspectors would collude with senior officers in a local authority to rig a school inspection in advance. I was proved wrong and, in the last 10 years, I have met others who have had similar experiences.

    Of course, I'm not suggesting it happens all the time but there have certainly been occasions when it has happened.

    School inspectors at Education Scotland have been encouraging local authority staff to send them confidential information prior to an inspection without there being any checks and balances to ensure the information is accurate and open to scrutiny by those directly affected.

    That situation is totally unsatisfactory and wide open to abuse.
  17. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    That is so nice to hear, @sparklepig2002. More recently the Heads I’ve encountered have definitely tried to pick the easiest possible ride in their once-a-week brief encounter with a class of children. And any planning is done by the class teacher for them. And Assemblies are cancelled for no good reason - except, I suppose that the Head doesn’t feel like it or hasn’t bothered to prepare one.

    I’m afraid I do expect a Head to lead by example - to be able to teach effectively (I don’t mind if it’s only one or two lessons a week, but it should be done properly), take Assemblies, work at least as hard as their staff and set a good example which the staff can respect.
  18. Easyasabc

    Easyasabc Occasional commenter

    I worked in a school years past where the govs and the LA were in cahoots to get rid of the ht. But then that ht was too distant from the students, the staff, the govs and the LA.
  19. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You didn't say that - this isn't the Scotland Forum!
    Easyasabc likes this.
  20. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    The TES community education news forum is of interest to teachers throughout the UK and beyond, as is the thread 'Should Headteachers teach?'

    Note I began by saying 'Where I come from...' and I made no reference to Ofsted.

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