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"Three heads forced to quit by stress and bureaucracy reveal how they recovered in new roles"

Discussion in 'Education news' started by FrankWolley, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    nomad and drek like this.
  2. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Three horror stories with happy endings.

    Does anybody think that the DfE and the education minister has not read this?
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    They won't admit to reading it.
    drek and FrankWolley like this.
  4. Sally006

    Sally006 Occasional commenter

    So sad to have lost such people to the profession. Similar stories for teachers too no doubt but they may not have such financial security with which to retrain or the managerial credentials to offer.
    drek likes this.
  5. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Can't bring myself to read it at the moment:(
    drek likes this.
  6. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    I hope that the HT haters on here read this, but don’t expect they will.
    D1p5t1ck likes this.
  7. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    It’s good to hear some stories and positive outcomes from ‘the disappeared’. I’ve sat in meetings each September and looked round the room to see who was still there and who has gone. So many have suffered from the pressures of the job. Like all other roles in teaching, the job should be doable and people should be supported not hounded out.
    eljefeb90 and D1p5t1ck like this.
  8. Sally006

    Sally006 Occasional commenter

    It is never right to generalise and indeed there are good HTs out there and from all accounts these were such. Principled individuals who did NOT compromise either professional or ethical integrity and had to leave. Sadly, this is not the case with many of the “new breed” of HTs I hear so often about.

    My mother was a well respected and much loved HT and I stayed in touch with my secondary school HT for years until a few years ago (suspect the silence in terms of letters and Xmas cards is due to the inevitable consequence of age). The first HT I worked for as an NQT was an excellent chap likewise my Principle in the Canadian school I worked in. I do feel that as those generations retire and move one we have lost something.

    There will be a lot of teachers on here bitter at the treatment they received, when their HTs compromised their own integrity, for their own survival. If only they rallied against the nonsense on mass years ago we might have got somewhere, teachers too. It’s criminal really that the profession has become so scared.
    drek likes this.
  9. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    With a new govt and new policies I can only concur that through 15 years of teaching, these stories were my pain, my sorrow and sadly at times my shame.

    Will new dfe staff and policies bring back more of the old that saw many struck off for no reason and others cave under the sheer mountain of admin demands and increasing poor behaviour as a result of everyone being ‘busy’ deciphering’ and delegating the burden of proof to others to meet policy changes.

    So that some secondary teachers are left ‘performing’ for over 800 hours with large groups of students whose behaviour no one in the school can change, whether it’s because of fear of parental complaints and abuse or dfe demands that schools put up and shut up.

    For me the shame factor reduced to zero since so many started sharing their stories.

    It started with colleagues on Tes with enough self belief, braving the preachy sly comebacks to stand firm and share their stories, the secret teachers sharing theirs and finally the real drive - staff shortages - that got the dfe listening.

    That has been the game changer. No one has smarmy comebacks anymore when people express themselves regarding lack of support for very poorly behaved groups or large groups peppered with a range of special needs.

    In the last three years I have heard less of the ‘what more can you do, do you need support with lesson planning, follow the school, behaviour policy over and over again’ and other such BS....

    .....and more of the ‘sorry we are short staffed. No one is applying,....we’ve had to put all the behaviour issues in the same 2 or three groups to reduce staff sickness and resignations, you’ve drawn the short straw this year.......etc).

    Much easier to deal with the truth.... no one likes to be made to feel that the faults lying within the ‘system’ are somehow their ‘fault’ and can be overcome with weekly ‘training’!

    That’s the psychological reasoning behind every successful cad. Lol

    Back when Gove’s policies were first being enacted the trauma was a lonesome burden as ‘lead teachers’ were given promotions based on how well they could smother any teacher who raised issues with performance management ‘grades’ similar to ofsted’s use of the same. With the same level of ‘confidentiality’.

    Some schools still adhere to that practice. If the policies revert back to the old 24/7 workload then they won’t miss what they never knew in the first place.
    Catgirl1964 and afterdark like this.
  10. Easyasabc

    Easyasabc Occasional commenter

    So sad - and it isn't just well paid headteachers going through this. It is lesser well paid teachers too who often endure long hours, stress, depression and little respect.

    Teaching is a job - no more, no less. Those who set their clear boundaries and say 'no' more seem to survive a little longer if they are lucky. Still well done to those that found better jobs and a happier place.
    D1p5t1ck likes this.
  11. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Headteachers could of course do more quite easily for their special needs pupils. I discuss this with them at every opportunity.

    Someone was enthusiastically riding a minibike alongside the pupils at a MLD/SLD/PMLD school the other day. "Who is that?" I enquired. "The headteacher" was the reply. He was really enjoying himself! I had to wait quite a while before he got off and I could speak to him.

    He did listen as I explained what he needed to do. Autistic pupils I made a special mention of. Although he listened he didn't particularly seem to understand. I did enquire of other teachers later what his background was but they did not know.

    I did the ring the school again yesterday with a further invitation for him to ring for a chat. So far he hasn't.

  12. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    I am not sure what you mean. Most teachers just hate HT who bullies, psychopaths or tw@ts.

    Whilst it is indeed easy to criticise. Few teachers in UK state schools have it easy.

    I am sure that there a good HT out there. But I think this comment in post 9 is most telling.

    I too have found there is lot less smarm. Hypercritical comments seem to mainly come from those that are clearly not teachers.
  13. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Occasional commenter

    "Principal", not "Principle".
    "en masse", not "on mass".
    nomad likes this.
  14. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Occasional commenter

    I don't understand the thrust of this post at all. Maybe you could explain a bit? Are you a teacher or an HMI? Do you work in education, or perhaps for the council or the government?
    nomad likes this.
  15. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    So you explained what he needed to do. You a unicyclist and he a headteacher. You explained what he needed to do.

    Strange that he did not call you back. I would have thought that he would be eager to take further advice from you.
    nomad and Jonntyboy like this.
  16. baitranger

    baitranger Established commenter

    Some of the reasons given for quitting in the accounts in the Guardian raise questions. Mr Thomas, 56, tells us :"I became quite ill when I left teaching and had six coronary stents put into my heart because of an undetected cholesterol problem." So he reached the age of 55 without having an NHS annual medical review with standard blood tests? He never had a cholesterol blood test? Really? You don't get seriously blocked arteries, needing stents , in just a year or two. And he had zero symptoms until the age of 55? Not out of breath walking up stairs at all? Didn't he ever see his GP?
    And then we have Emma Payne, doing an extremely responsible job as a police dispatcher, making very fast life and death decisions, who goes home at the end of a shift without a heavy burden on her shoulders.She quit her Headship after being clinically depressed following her former school being put into special measures. So how did that happen? Was she held responsible?
    "I no longer feel a heavy sense of responsibility when I’m not working." She seems to have no problems at all with worrying about the truly life changing decisions she makes. Making a hapless teacher redundant is surely child's play by comparison.She does say she gets excellent support, so it must be needed sometimes. So is it not possible to be a failure as a police dispatcher? I'm not saying she's not good at it, just that the responsibility of the job is extreme and potentially very worrying if something goes wrong and a dispatcher makes the wrong judgement call.
    Then there is Nigel Utton. He left his headship at the age of fifty. He doesn't say how many years service he has , but he does say he has a pension to look forward to."Besides, I have savings I can rely on and my pension to look forward to." So someone who has, presumably, been receiving a relatively high salary and who has substantial savings, has left his headship and retrained as an osteopath, although he says he doesn't earn much from it. What he earns as an osteopath barely covers his bills. Sorry, but that sounds more like a hobby than a job. He has long term financial security by dint of his previous head teacher job, presumably. Is he in the final salary scheme and what will be his lump sum at age 60? He sold his house-so what happened to his wife's share? Did she get anything? And why didn't he come out as gay while he was a head teacher? There's no law against it.
  17. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    1. Maybe Mr Thomas was too busy to go to any health checks he was invited to; or maybe (like a fair number of men) he doesn't like fussing about one's health...
    2. Maybe Ms Payne is less stressed because she is only responsible for what she does, not how other people (teachers, TAs, pupils, parents etc.) behave, and she doesn't have to take her work home with here?
    3. And your problem with Mr Utton is?
  18. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Just take the post at face value. That way you know exactly what Circuskevin is!
  19. baitranger

    baitranger Established commenter

    OK, sorry I didn't make myself clear enough. We are told they were "forced to quit by stress and bureaucracy". I'm questioning that and suggesting that there could have been more important factors involved.

    I don't believe that "stress and bureaucracy" caused Mr Thomas's need for stents, presumably because of partially blocked arteries. He himself describes it as a cholesterol issue. Would he not have had a health check before being given his job? Needing "six coronary stents" in the arteries to his heart must mean the blood flow to his heart was restricted.That would have caused serious symptoms. Surely he had symptoms for a long time before he had the stents. Did he avoid going to see his GP? So did "stress and bureaucracy " stop him seeing a doctor?
    I could go on , but my point is that stress and bureaucracy is involved in many jobs and there are clearly other factors involved with these three individuals.

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