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Some advice please

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by atang, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. atang

    atang New commenter

    I have recently taken on another HOD which overall i am fairly pleased about. I feel that this is a school where I can develop my middle leadership skills.
    HOWEVER, there is one small issue. I will give you some background. There has been a number of HoD that have been and gone on the last 3 or 4 years. I am in fact the 5th one. Initially I felt it maybe perhaps the behaviour at the school and to some extent this may be the case. However I believe it maybe due to the teacher that I am require to lind manage.
    This teacher has been at the school as a student and teacher for a long time and is also a local ‘celebrity’. The teacher is popular amongst staff and I recognise the problems he has encountered with the continuous changes in HoDs.
    With that said, he opted not to be trained as a teacher and this has come up in recent observations and learning walks I have undertaken. He is antagonistic towards instructions given to him and recently walked out my meeting with him citing that he needs to be involved in everything. This incident referred to an intervention idea that was agreed by the head of faculty and meant myself giving up a free period. He also cites that I have no authority though it is well known to him that I am his line manager. Personally I feel he is ‘protected’ due to his status in the community but I feel his curriculum (that’s another issue!) lacks evolution as he is not willing to expand his music knowledge. I do not feel the students are getting a rounded knowledge of the subject due to his own stubbornness.
    I am at the point at the moment where I am keeping a diary of communication/ issues that arise and having spoken to my union rep, he suggested I should raise a greviance which I am reluctant to as it will change the dynamics of the department.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think you need to talk to your own line manager before looking at things like grievances. For all he is popular, SLT may understand that he is a bit of a liability in some respects. They must be aware of the quick turnover of HoDs, so may have some idea of the problem. They may agree with you that some things need to change, and give you some support with implementing this; they may suggest that some issues are best left for the moment. If curriculum needs to be developed, maybe there is a topic he could take a lead on, while you take a lead on the areas he doesn't know enough about - so that it's not just you saying "I don't like what you're teaching".
    caterpillartobutterfly and atang like this.
  3. atang

    atang New commenter

    Thank you for this advice. My line manager is aware of these issues and recently there has been a conversation with him about the issue that raised in my previous thread. This may be an ongoing issue with this. I have asked him to lead on certain areas such as a list of started activities for 7 weeks which would give him some ownership and also for him to do some research work for me as he knows the community far better than me. However, on both occasions he has not given me any information back regarding these two requests. One of these requests he volunteered and the other I suggested. I have said to my line manager that rather ask him again, I would rather do the work/ research myself.
  4. Fedupwith

    Fedupwith New commenter

    Doing the work yourself is effectively giving him the right not to do as asked. This will eventually have an impact on the rest of the team. After all, if one can get away with it why can'tthe rest?
  5. atang

    atang New commenter

    This is indeed quite true. However, I am always concerned that as a HoD I am in the firing line for whatever goes wrong. Must be the 'controlling nature' I have. My philosophy is that I will trust a member of staff but if they don't do what they ask, I'll do it myself therefore trusting myself to do it correctly. I will admit it is not necessarily the right thing to do but sometimes when you are going back and forth with a situation like this, nothing is actually going to get resolved so there is no one benefitting at all!
  6. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter


    First, Make sure that your line manager supports you in your management decisions so that this laggard won't jump your authority, and then conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Does this teacher produce significantly better results than qualified members of your department? If so then let him get on with things. A good HoD will allow his good staff to do good things to make your department look good. You get the credit irrespective of his "celebrity". Take the strain but when he wants something frivolous from you as HoD, some kind of perk or preferential time-tabling, you can refuse these citing quite innocently and possibly correctly the needs of the department. Visibly prefer others citing their demonstrated ability to complete tasks, don't make it about his lack of willingness or perceived qualification. He'll get the message over time that he can't take his position for granted. You can wait him out.

    If he does not produce results at least equal to those in your department of similar experience and workload, but drags it down, put him on a plan.

    "Celebrity" be beggared. If a teacher isn't pulling their weight in one form or another then they have no right to be treated as those who do.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  7. atang

    atang New commenter

    Thank you for this sound advice. I will certainly take all of this aboard. Head of faculty has recognised the tricky situation that I am in but it has also shown me that I may need to improve on certain areas!
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  8. atang

    atang New commenter

    In reply to your advice. This teacher was never allowed to teach exam groups and I felt that if he was given this opportunity he would feel more responsible overall. However, head of faculty and I had a 90 minute meeting with him about understanding KS4 protocols and I think the penny dropped that there is a lot of admin work attached to it. I have explained to Head of Fac that I am covering my back because I feel I cannot trust this teacher to be successful in the responsibility I gave him. His success has been in instant practical work but for me, it is about the long term picture, i.e. providing skills from KS3 to KS5. This clearly represents the change in levels, etc which we are aware of. In the short time I have been here I have improved success dramatically so depending on another teacher who at times does not work for the team is a little worrying.
  9. Mrs Grumpy

    Mrs Grumpy New commenter

    Does he teach at all in any other subject area?
    That may provide a "reason" for his line management to be "shared" with another member of staff.
    That may assist both you and the person who is being assessed to break free of the cycle you seem to be in - it really sounds to me as if there is a real breakdown here, and quite honestly why can't the Head of Faculty have taken him in hand directly, at least for a while? It's what I've done in the past, gives everyone a break ( especially if you all switch a few more things like that round at the same time so it doesn't look too pointed)
  10. atang

    atang New commenter

    Thank you for your reply.
    I am now working closely with the Head of Faculty to manage him. We also ensure that our line manager (SMT) is aware of the situation. The Head of Faculty passed this responsibility to me as they are not a subject specialist and so it did make sense why I am line managing him. The Head of Faculty did also line manage him for a while due to the continuous changes of Head of Subject and also he was non-responsive to any of the Head of Subject.
    He is very much a law until himself and what I have been advised is to pamper his ego which I am not prepared to do as I feel this is something that he responds to which I think is not very fair!!!

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