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Working under an executive head arrrgggghhh

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by mms1, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    Hi all,

    This isn't my first thread on headship but wanted to revisit something with you all. I have been a headteacher for about a year in a school which also has an executive head. This naturally has its pros and cons. The exec has twenty years experience and that gives me access to a wealth of knowledge. The downside is that I am under constant scrutiny and feel less and less like the headteacher. He picks me up on everything and often in front of the leadership team which really knocks my confidence. He will be retiring in 2 or three years time but that's a lot of criticism and uncomfortable conversations to go. I don't want to quit as a year in I'm guessing it should be this tough but I'm hoping it gets better ( am I right?)

    My questions are two fold; Is a year in the job long enough to have cracked the basics of headship and should I just toughen up with regard the criticism and use it to improve?

    Sorry for the whinge, hope you're all having a great half term.
  2. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    Although I am not a head (yet), reflecting on your situation points as follows:
    • Sounds like a decision between whether the benefits of tapping into the executive head's experience outweighs the criticism they give to you.
    • Have you had the one uncomfortable conversation with the executive head about the criticism in front of the leadership team, the effect it could have on them and how you would like this to change?
    • How do you feel things have gone after one year?
    • Who can give you an honest and discreet appraisal of how you have done?
    Hope this helps.
  3. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    I feel that you need to have a conversation with the executive Headteacher and highlight the issues / concerns.
    It is unprofessional for the exec to be ‘picking things up’ in front of the leadership team. Matters like this need to be behind closed doors.

    You have only been a HT for a year, just highlight the concerns and stay where you are. If you are applying for new headship roles so soon on, questions will be raised on your application.
    Spend at least 5 years at that school that should be a minimum- see out your plan you made when you first took over the role.
    You mention the exec Head is retiring in the next couple of years, that gives you another reason to stay where you are.
    Laughing Gravy likes this.
  4. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the replies so far. I hear what you're saying Jago; perhaps I'm being too hard on myself at only a year in. My confidence is at an all time low and that is clearly impacting on my perspective. I see other heads in their first year and they seem much more on top of things.
  5. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    I am not a head but I am pretty certain that those heads th you think are on top of their stuff,probably aren't. However, they are pretty good at putting out the appearance of being totally on top of things! It's likely to be an illusion.

    Don't be hard on yourself.mtalk to your Exec and share how you value their feedback but you would prefer that they did this in private rather than public. Perhaps you could find time to discuss things away fro others before sharing in a wider context. This would also allow you to have a more 'United' front.

    Hope all goes well.
  6. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    That makes perfect sense to me. I always used to say to my DHT that if she disagreed with anything that I did then do it in private where we could both speak our minds. This worked very well and her sage advice helped me stop making silly decisions on several occasions.

    However, the moment we left my office we were to present an united front to the staff even if we disagreed
  7. themrscoe

    themrscoe New commenter

    I agree with previous comments - you need to speak open and honestly with the exec. head teacher. Are there other head teachers in the mat as well?

    I disagree with the above comment about having to stay for 5 years. I moved schools after my first headship and was there for three years. In that time I moved the school from RI to good and got an outstanding church inspection. i felt i had accomplished a great deal. I also had other reasons to move and if you do as well, 5 years can get you down. You need to put your mental health high priority or you will end up leaving the profession.!

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

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