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Terrible Exec Head

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by dizzymai, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    I am new to a Head of School role and early on realised that the Executive Head who is in charge of where I work and the other small school doesn't really know what she is doing. She lies, she pretends, she schmoozes, she hides. I often don't know what she is doing or where she is but have to run pretty much everything by her. She is either in a hurry, angry and shouty or high as a kite and fake happy. It's exhausting. I feel I am learning nothing from her other than how NOT to do it.

    Now, things are starting to go wrong. No one trusts or respects her and data at our federated school this year looks very bleak. She is not providing much leadership at all, other than panic and last minuteness.

    What to do? I am presuming that it will all fall apart and I should just stand back and watch? She has already shouted at me and others for, well, saying things she doesn't want to hear. Help!
    ViolaClef likes this.
  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Does the governing body have any say in all of this? Can you use the same networking skills that got you to being a good Head to ensure that this waste of space is eased out?

    You'll notice that I'm not suggesting anything 'proper', I suspect that at this exalted level it is purely who you know and how you work it.
  3. fingertapper

    fingertapper New commenter

    Many years ago I worked in a school with a terrible Head. He had no clue, made things up, tried to bribe people with promotions to SLT etc. The vast majority of the staff were concerned. Several of us approached a friendly governor and after a few discussions we got our Unions involved. In the end we had a vote of no confidence - governors fired the Head. Wasn't quick or pretty but it did work. Took the school a few years to recover completely.

    Would this work with an executive head?
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  4. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    Have you sat down with her properly and outlined your worries and feelings about her demeanour/actions?

    If not, do this as soon as possible but if you have, her response should be a good indication of what to do next.
  5. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    Thanks for your responses.

    On 2 occasions recently I have tried to broach how I, and colleagues, feel about things. The first time, as I was speaking, she gathered up all of her belongings and charged out of the building with no explanation. The second time, she went very quiet, thanked me and then, in tears, begged 2 members of staff (whom I told her were upset with her behaviour towards them- shouting and accusatory) for forgiveness, in front of their classes. I get emails from her in the middle of the night.

    I am scared of going to the governors because I think the Chair is actually her friend. She has, since I have challenged her/given her feedback, been very passive aggressive and on the defensive. I'm fearful of rocking the boat and then being seen as a troublemaker. I can't see her being able to continue in this way.

    I think it's a storm I might have to weather. I am hoping that the Academy Trust will take charge because results are very poor at one of her schools and there's a dip this year at ours. I worry that she lies to the trust about things and I hope they can see past her blag.
  6. christubbs

    christubbs New commenter

    KEEP A DIARY, I REPEAT KEEP A DIARY... or record of events as accurately as possible timed and dated. get others to do the same ! print/forward any incriminating e-mails she has sent etc.
    ViolaClef likes this.
  7. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Do nothing...smile sweetly and understand the Exec Head does not care. But do not be with the Exec Head on your own - witnesses are important.
  8. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    What's happening in the other small school she's exec head of (is that the one where the results are poor?)? If there's a head there that you could talk to, you might find an ally.
    When you describe that sort of behaviour (begging for forgiveness) in front of classes, it doesn't sound as if this is something can be ignored, waiting for the Academy Trust to act.
  9. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Wow, what a horrible thing to do fingertapper

    Where is everyone's compassion? Perhaps she is having a difficult time too. Perhaps she needs support and training.

    There are two sides to every story.
  10. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    @dizzymai I don’t understand how some people land roles as Heads and Executive Heads. Some of them also seem to lack self-awareness to such a degree that they do not see how unsuited they are to the job.
    I don’t think telling people what they should be doing works - tempting though it is. They either become defensive, apportion blame or it goes in one ear and out of the other.
    Sometimes you wish things would fall to pieces because they do not deserve success, and success is only achieved by everyone else running around picking up the pieces for them.
    Definitely keep a log of all the things which happen, dated and signed, in case you ever need a record of how you perceived events and conversations.
  11. fingertapper

    fingertapper New commenter


    How was it a horrible thing to do? Bit judgemental aren't you?

    The school was being run into the ground and students were being moved to other schools. Over 95% of staff (about 70 teachers and I can't remember how many support staff) voted for a no confidence motion. Does that not tell you things were pretty bad?
  12. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    It seems that you and your colleagues were the judgemental ones!
  13. notreallyme75

    notreallyme75 Occasional commenter

    I’m in a school a bit like this. I understand why people would stand up and be counted, and it’s rare for a whole group to do that.
    There always are two sides to a story though, that’s very true. Am not sure it was horrible though... in the end did the result benefit the children? That’s what we are here for.

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