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I’m a Primary School Headteacher. Ask me anything!

(185 Posts)
RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:15:17

This is not a TAAT, but I’ve just read one in AIBU about teachers/wine/holidays and it got me thinking.
What do you really want to know about us? Obviously I can only answer from my own personal experience.

BBQueen Sat 30-Jun-18 07:19:16

How generous of you! I’d like to know how frustrating it really is having to tow the line (be it OFSTED, Academy rules etc)? I always wonder if our head secretly seethes having to enforce uniform rules handed down by the Trust...

WhiteLily83 Sat 30-Jun-18 07:19:40

Do you enjoy your job?

In our Senior Management team at our school many are Teacher parents how do you advise they balance this?

Do you think a school needs a Facebook page to ‘celebrate our children? Our school have one and I don’t understand why.

What’s the hardest part of your role?

Do you think schools should be run by people with a more commercial background?

What’s your perfect governor?

Solasum Sat 30-Jun-18 07:22:53

Are governors a help or a hindrance?

Katescurios Sat 30-Jun-18 07:23:14

Honestly how are working parents perceived by teachers.

My DD is starting reception this year,we've already had 5 daytime events scheduled in by her primary school which we've had to arrange time off for. Realistically if this level of involvement keeps up we will not be able to attend most of the activities without risk to our employment. Will we be seen as bad/uninvolved parents?

WordWeasel Sat 30-Jun-18 07:23:20

This isn't really what you were asking for, but please can you tell your entire staff that they're amazing, ridiculously hard-working, and they all deserve a bloody medal. (Just projecting, based on the staff at my children's primary school.)

CatchingBabies Sat 30-Jun-18 07:24:35

Why is it that primary schools seem to assume all children have a non-working parent? In primary school almost every event that parents can attend, coffee mornings, performances, art displays etc. are all within the usual 9-3 school day whereas once they get to secondary school they are always around 6-7 pm. What’s the difference? Is a funding issue or do primary teachers just not like working later? I’m slightly bitter after no one was able to attend yet another of DDs performances.

CatchingBabies Sat 30-Jun-18 07:25:37

Good idea for a thread though, I’d do a midwife one but seeing as we’re not particularly liked on here I’m too scared of the questions 😂

KateGrey Sat 30-Jun-18 07:26:04

I’d like to know whether it’s true that a teacher keeps all the pupil information in their head and that’s how they monitor children. Especially those with Sen. I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts on inclusion of children with Sen.

RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:26:31

@BBQueen Ofsted frustrates me as I don’t agree with the gradings and I don’t think it measures what’s important. Saying that, I should be held accountable for the performance of the school. I actually love inspections! Great professional discussions, if you get a good inspector.
(My trust is great. No silly policies and a lot of autonomy to make decisions that are right for my children in our context.)

endofthelinefinally Sat 30-Jun-18 07:26:47

I love these threads.
Maybe MN should have a section just for these.

TopDog123 Sat 30-Jun-18 07:27:32

I hate these threads. Such an odd concept.

MissEliza Sat 30-Jun-18 07:28:03

What do you think of parents who come in and complain?

ItsalmostSummer Sat 30-Jun-18 07:29:38

How much wine can we send you grin, or in other words, how hard has your year been? (Just kidding) wine

RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:34:44

Do you enjoy your job?
I absolutely LOVE it.

In our Senior Management team at our school many are Teacher parents how do you advise they balance this?
Accept that the hours are long and there will be work to do at weekends and evenings but prioritise well and never neglect your own family.

Do you think a school needs a Facebook page to ‘celebrate our children? Our school have one and I don’t understand why.
We have FB. It’s very much expected by parents and an easy way to communicate. I don’t like it.

What’s the hardest part of your role?
Managing the budget and dealing with angry parents. We have all been annoyed by school decisions at some point but increased access to school through email and social media means people act in anger. There used to be a calming off period until the next morning, or until after the weekend, and most people tend to lose the anger by then and act more rationally.

Do you think schools should be run by people with a more commercial background? No. Education is a unique business and has to be about children and not money.

What’s your perfect governor?
Not driven by power and ego.

RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:36:53

At best they are a source of support and challenge, and another person who wants the very best for the kids. At worse, they want a power struggle and take too much time away the core purpose.

headinhands Sat 30-Jun-18 07:36:54

Is your job purely more business/management than education?

RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:39:25

Not in my school. I’m a working parent too! If I have to make events in school time I put them at the very beginning or end of the day. If a parent tells me they can’t make it, I accommodate them at another time as much as possible. We make sure children are never disadvantaged when a working parents forget nonuniform day!

RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:41:17

Thank you! I tell them every day. We work in a very disadvantaged community and they go over and above to make sure our kids are safe, valued and fed, let alone educated.
I love my team 💗

Nonky Sat 30-Jun-18 07:42:21

Do you agree with this - if a parent forgets to sign their child’s reading diary, the child as a punishment has to miss 5 mins of play? Just trying to work out if I’m being too precious?!

Aspieparent Sat 30-Jun-18 07:43:02

From another question you answered about education being about the child not money. Why is the excuse from headteachers always that they don't have the money to do it. Have a sn child starting reception he's done to transition sessions so far 2nd one o left him for 2 hours no one checked his nappy (he's struggling with toilet training had no physical feelings of when he needs to go) and he can home in a absolute mess. Of they can't manage it on 2 hours how can they do a full day? I have tried to get him additional support but failed so he has no support than any other child would have. So I am getting the excuses of we have 30 other children in the class and 2 class to deal with already.

Littleredboat Sat 30-Jun-18 07:43:48

But events at the end of the school day are no bloody use if both parents work. In what world can working parents get to something that starts at 2.30 or thereabouts??

RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:46:25

This is one we can’t win! Most of our parents have more than one young child and for many of them, 6-7pm hits bath and bed time. In my setting, evening events are never well attended.
Saying that, I did them more in my last school where parents preferred it. The school should do what’s right for their community.
I’m conscious though that my staff have been in school since 7.30am (often earlier) and I am responsible for their work/life balance.

tomhazard Sat 30-Jun-18 07:49:11

Hi OP. Thanks for this! With DC at the beginning end of the system I am interested in the target culture, which I know is stressful for staff.
Is there any truth in more able children being 'held back' or not being given the opportunity to exceed targets, for fear of having to make sure they continue the trajectory?

RonnieOnion Sat 30-Jun-18 07:50:04

I run a fully inclusive school. SEN children are fully integrated into class and I also reintegrate kids who have been excluded from other settings. Love, acceptance and very firm boundaries works for all children.

SEN children are carefully monitored as their progress is often measured in much smaller steps. It’s all written down but yes, we know our kids so well the information IS in our head!

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