Parents, teachers, governors - has your school introduced a new head? What worked well for you?

(14 Posts)
Puringmary Wed 16-Jul-14 20:12:34

Letters in book bags (what to say?), PTA/meet the parent sessions/evenings, something on the website?
How did you introduce your new head to the wider school community (I am assuming staff sessions, assemblies for children etc)?

What worked, what didn't work so well?

I'd love to hear about your experiences or thoughts.

I am a gov at a primary with a new head starting in Sept so just looking for MN top tips!

Thanks!

TeenAndTween Wed 16-Jul-14 20:17:00

Our new head came to the end of term production just before he started. He wasn't introduced, but word got round!

Letter in book-bag would be good, saying where HT has come from and any special expertise etc.

Being very visible in early weeks, e.g. being in playground at start/end of day.

Puringmary Wed 16-Jul-14 20:29:23

Yes, I was thinking about a carefully judged, appropriate mini biog - maybe same thing on website and book bags
Or a guardian question air type thing (nothing too personal) or a couple of questions from children ('what's your favourite colour' sort of thing) along with mini biog.

It's up to head, of course, I just wanted to gather some ideas to kick discussion off.

Puringmary Wed 16-Jul-14 21:12:43

I guess we'd like to improve on the 'word gets round' model of communication if possible!

Galena Wed 16-Jul-14 21:13:26

School council interviewed each of the candidates and fed back to the interview panel. Candidates also did a presentation to all staff and governors as part of the interview. Since the appointment in Feb, the head, who will be starting in Sept, has been in to various staff meetings, etc. She has also been in weekly for the past 7 weeks working with head and staff and also getting to know the children. She held a 'meet the new head' session a couple of weeks ago where she also explained the new arrangements for Foundation Stage and has also been involved in recruiting new staff. She came to a gov meeting tonight too.

She plans on being in the playground morning and afternoon at the start of the year and to have a complete open door policy for the first few weeks.

IsItFridayYetPlease Wed 16-Jul-14 21:27:07

There could be a letter / website update with an introduction by outgoing HT and a "I'm really looking forward to ... and this is a bit about me" by the new HT. We added a photograph of the new HT to our website with a brief bio and "hello" statement as soon as she was appointed (a term before being in-post). This went down well as parents could then put a face to the name and felt a bit of personal info (e.g. I have two grown up children, I like cooking and sailing) gave them more of connection.

TeenAndTween Wed 16-Jul-14 21:27:30

Actually I think people really appreciated the fact he came to a school event before he was even officially in charge. But it wasn't the right event for him to be introduced formally to parents.
We did have formal intro stuff the next term, I just can't remember what it was.

Puringmary Wed 16-Jul-14 22:34:40

Some good ideas there - our outgoing head has been keen to be seen as the head until the end so although there have been some handover meetings and the new head has been involved in new appointments, the incoming head has been kept at arms length from parents (although new head did do reception parent session, so has had some contact with new parents, which is great).
I like the idea of the outgoing head doing an 'introduction' in last newsletter and will suggest that.

We could also get something on the website over the summer ready for our fresh start in Sept.

Thanks to all!

noramum Thu 17-Jul-14 14:51:20

Our new head was the previous deputy so no real new person for the school.

But, the school did a good job keeping the parents informed by regularly updates that interviews were being conducted and then the official appointment letter.

The new head then took over around the last weeks of the Summer term in being more visible in the playground, taking over assemblies and organizing the Summer fair.

For a totally new head I would appreciate him/her being visible in the playground, a short letter from him/her with a small bio and ideally being there before the old one goes. But latter could be difficult if he/she is still employed somewhere else.

Rowgtfc72 Fri 18-Jul-14 22:29:33

We've just become a federation so have had to explain all that to the parents. We sent letters home in book bags and held a meeting for questions. The federation head is in school once a week and I think most parents have met her now.

Rowgtfc72 Fri 18-Jul-14 22:30:00

We've just become a federation so have had to explain all that to the parents. We sent letters home in book bags and held a meeting for questions. The federation head is in school once a week and I think most parents have met her now.

PastSellByDate Sat 19-Jul-14 07:08:55

PuringMary:

I think the reality is the new HT will have a lot of his/ her plate - and a steep learning curve. Getting to grips with the school culture/ managing changes/ introducing the new curriculum/ learning the local politics/ etc... is going to take up the majority of their time.

So it seems to me you wnat short but effective bursts of time from the HT.

Three ideas occur:

Be visible: With Year R - they're new too - so you can celebrate that. The HT can get a certificate for settling in well, etc... I'd encourage the HT to be visible especially with this new cohort on the first day of school - meeting and greeting parents can create a lot of good will.

Make a point of being there for assemblies and talking with parents. I realise these conversations can simmer down to talking about the weather and avoiding the elephant in the room - but nonetheless it does send the signal I'm approachable (which may be important in future).

--------------------
Why not incorporate finding out facts about the new Head into writing tasks - so children could interview the new HT and write an article. Ideal for KS2 - you can prime the kids for the type of questions - anything from favourite book/ sport/ song - his or her childhood hero/ heroine - to aims for the school - top tips for being a good student.

The kids can add a page to the school newsletter or prepare something for the school VLE (e.g. Moodle).

---------------------------------------------

This year the new national curriculum is being rolled out - but it won't totally apply to all cohorts (Y6 rising will take old style SATs I believe) - so you could consider a curriculum meeting early on where the Head can also lay out his/ her 'vision' for where they'd like to see the school going.

Finally - it never hurts as a new Head to look around the property and see if there is something needed & fixing it. A new bench in an otherwise seatless playground - a sunshade - or repairing a broken gate. Something achievable, not horribly expensive - but shows you're noticing things.

HTH

2cats2many Sat 19-Jul-14 07:44:40

Nothing beats being visable and approachable in the playground at drop off and pick up time. Letters, etc are essential to, but I'm always amazed at how many headsdon't want to actually talk to their parents.

Icimoi Sat 19-Jul-14 10:59:47

When we had a new head, dealing with parents was the least of our problems. ISTR she had special assemblies, made it clear that she was available for anyone who wanted to meet, and made herself very visible.

However, I have to admit it was a bit of a nightmare with the staff. Previous head had deservedly been very well liked, but it has to be admitted he had let things slide a bit - there were some staff members who were being allowed to get away with being very lazy or, in one case, with total prima donna behaviour because she thought she was indispensable.

New head had to get a grip on this, and we had to go through a long and unpleasant competence procedure with one of the lazy ones. The other main culprit saw the writing on the wall and left anyway. Prima donna tried to wangle herself a pay rise, had a total huff when she didn't get it, and behaved disgracefully going around badmouthing head to staff and parents (including one gullible parent governor) before she left to general relief all round. There were a number of other staff resignations from people who felt if they had to get used to a new regime anyway they might as well move, or who felt uncomfortable, as well as those who would have resigned anyway due to having to move away etc.

We all breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the school year, and the following year everything settled down and was fine. What was in a way comforting was doing a bit of research online and discovering that our experience was in no way unusual. So be prepared!

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