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Vote of No Confidence

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Choppyisbest, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. I've been in post 12 months and it has been a rocky year to say the least. It's a one form entry primary school, with a very stable staff. No new appointments for 10 years.
    I've been through an Ofsted after 4 months in the job, it went ok, as the governors were convinced we were going to be put into Notice to Improve. In the end the school was judged to be satisfactory with some good elements. I was mentioned in a very positive light in the report. This didn't make me very popular. Teaching was judged to be satisfactory.
    The staff think the school is great and that it should be outstanding. In fact the last 2 inspections have been satisfactory. The last head was very much loved but wasn't particularly effective, his main priority was to keep the teachers happy.
    The problem I have is someone has 'tipped me off' that the staff will give me a vote of no confidence in September and that they have been meeting over the summer to plan this. Before the summer they have written unsigned letters to the governors complaining that I'm unapproachable.
    What can I do if this happens ?
    To be honest I've just tried to get my head down and do the job under difficult circumstances, but I think there are some teachers who are determined to get rid of me. I'm easy to get on with but I'm dealing with some very strong characters who gang up against me.
    I have very good working relationships with parents and children (and previously, very good relationships with staff in other schools).
  2. Since when have schools been a democracy!? Vote of no confidence indeed!!
    Get straight on to your LA HR dept and let them know what is going on. Also get on to your union / association and ask to talk to a regional officer for advice and support.
    Do it now.
  3. Hang on in there! Bullies. No other word for it.
  4. Well, there is another word...
  5. I'd have a word with the COG, review the school's m and e, up the performance management stakes, look for possible leavers and get my own people in. Use the Ofsted report as reason for change and explain to govs why.....Be very, very proactive!

  6. What would that entail?
  7. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Giving the offending staff almost impossible targets to meet so they fail. Nasty but may do gthe trick. I think around 6 or 7 targets each should do the trick.
  8. I would have thought that even if you wanted to go down this route, it wouldn't be effective. Performance management generates a paper trail. Setting someone excessive targets or impossible to achieve targets would leave you open to a grievance proceedure. If you chose to pursue this to a disciplinary process, the unions and human resources would have something to say about it. You would need to prove that you had provided a reasonable amount of suppport to enable your staff to achieve their targets - if you had deliberately set them up to fail, then this support would be lacking.

  9. If staff have all been there 10 years then I would presume all UPS. If teaching is only satisfactory, then lessons, data and work scrutiny should all be good, UPS standards should do the trick.
    But a good strong sniff of reality should be shared with staff, training should be given that shows what outstanding is and how to get it, if triangulation of evidence shows that is where they are, all well and good, tell them, if not, then their PM should be the guide they follow. Not constructive, but positive and building over the next 3 years. High expectation is the way forwards!
  10. It is a pity that the agenda and advice is less about improving standards and more about punishing staff who have crossed a HT and how to get shot of them.
  11. As a Head you are vulnerable to this and other types of group action whether you are guilty or innocent. The presumption in this kind of case is usually guilty until you can sit it out and prove your innocence about 1to 2 years' later. There may be 5 Teacher unions behind the group of Teachers and most probably a ring leader. There may even have been secret union led meetings. The only course now, if mediation not possible, is that if a letter is received by the COG they should be advised to ask each person who wrote the letter to be offered to attend a grievance meeting with unions and HR & Gov's. At this point, if it is an anonymous letter, some often think twice. If allegations are false then staff have to answer for this. This Head sounds like he/she is being held up as a scapegoat and singled out to divert attention. Such a waste of valuable school funds and everyone's time. I advise him/her to carry on as normal and deal with each individual allegation as it comes with a union rep. , HR and Gov's. There is no process which includes anonymous action or group grievance. People need to make a grievance as an individual in confidence!!
  12. I'm sorry, but what do you expect on a HT forum....The op gave out their issue, posters answered it. By the sounds of it staff have a need to focus on improvement, staff don't like it, have a motion of no confidence....I don't personally believe this action has any legality, unless govs support it. then I can't see what they can do about it...Nice case of collective bullying, which is fine when carried out by the teaching staf, who, it would appear, are decidedly average.
    Just another example of the sub standard attempting to protect a nice comfy little earner....
  13. Thrupp, I entirely agree that the staff were out of order and deserve to be told so. However, some posters are much too keen in offering advice that is more to do with revenge rather than improvement.
  14. In terms of people management, these posts are, unknowingly, a series of ironic coments....... and quite worrying!
  15. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I'd speak to the chair ofgoshs and raise their awareness of what " good" and "outstanding" teaching should look like. The new criteria from ofsted (they're moving towards them now but coming in officially in January) are extremely demanding. To get an outstanding 97-100% of pupils have to make better than expected progress in a lesson. Anything below 79% is deemed satisfactory.
    Then I'd share the criteria with staff at the first staff meeting/ inset day. I'd say something along the lines of ," I know we were disappointed to be judged satisfactory, and obviously that leaves us vulnerable to a visit again this year. I want us to be able to show what a good school we are, so I've put devised a school development programme to help us show how good we are next time."
    Set out a month by month WSIP which involves visiting other schools- find a good/ outstanding school
    With a similar catchment and ask the head if you can visit. Each teacher should visit at least once and be accompanied by you so you can have a discussion about what they saw and what they could implement in your school to move on a stage.
    Don't let staff go alone otherwise the ones who don't want to change will tell you that the school/ teacher didn't do anything that they weren't already doing themselves.
    Release staff (by teaching their class yourself) to visit other classes in school - explain that you want to share and build on the good practice which is already taking place. Schedule staff meeting time to discuss and share the good practice seen.
    Carefully timetable staff meetings with a clear agenda and purpose, make sure subject co ordinatirs write action plans which include staff development, and use staff meeting time to deliver.
    Contact HR at the LA to inform them and ask advice, also governor support and your union.
    Share the information that schools who receive too many satisfactory ofsteds are pushed to become academies and show them that you are part of the solution, not the problem.
    Be strong, develop a support network out of school, it can be very lonely.
    PM me if you like I have lots of other advice but don't want to post too much on here.
  16. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I find some of the replies here not only worrying, but downright dangerous for Choppy. If Choppy followed some of this advice the staff would be completely alienated thereby making the HT's position even worse, and, possibly,creating a situation where they could lose their job. (Sorry, I'm not sure if the OP is male or female.)
    What the staff have done is just plain wrong. If staff have a problem, they should tackle it in a much more mature way. For heaven's sake, they're being more childish that their own students!
    That does not mean that they can be treated in a cynical way-being given unachievable targets etc. What message does that send out other than proving the teachers' point?
    Should the threat happen, then obviously the CoG, HR and HT's union should become involved.
    What some of the advice given has proved to me is that there are some bullying heads out there and that is worrying in the extreme. Deliberately setting someone up to fail? Where is the maturity in that? If heads cannot deal with staff in a professional way, they don't deserve the job. If a teacher treated their students in this way there would be justifiable outrage-and rightly so. If a teacher is not cutting the mustard, there are authorised ways and means. Yes, they take time and effort but if HTs aren't willing to use them, again, they don't deserve to be HTs.
    ...and calm............!

  17. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Curlygirl, what excellent advice!
    I'm not a HT or SLT but as a chalkface operative ([​IMG]) I can see the importance of all of this. As such, it's often very difficult to know what is in the mind of the HT. The best HT I worked for always explained the bigger picture. I didn't always agree with where she took us, but we always knew where and WHY we were going there. We were always encouraged to approach her with own own concerns or ideas. She'd go away and think about what we'd said and then come back, ALWAYS, and tell us her 'take'. If our idea didn't have 'legs', she'd explain why. I found this feedback so useful.
    Yes, it took time, but we always felt we were part of the process and not part of a mushroom management system.

  18. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Thanks, Dragonlady. Sometimes the pressures of the job mean that we forget to share the bigger picture ( I bet an NCSL *** would talk about "vision") but it's so important.
    I'm not suggesting for a moment that the OP hasn't done that.
    I've just suggested some of the strategies I used when taking over a school where the staff thought they were good, but were in fact mainly inadequate (as confirmed by our lovely friends the inspectors). It's possible to turn things around but you need to get staff to understand why things need to improve and that it's not just you as HT "with your fancy ideas".
  19. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Is t.w.o.n.k. A swear word?
    My the TES filter is a sensitive little soul
    Isn't it?
  20. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Ha ha ha!!! The word 'vision' should be confined to RE lessons only!! [​IMG]

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