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How quickly can a school change once the headteacher has left?

(9 Posts)
Holymoly321 Sat 07-Nov-09 11:20:32

There is a primary school we like for our DS, and the headteacher is amazing - warm, caring, strict but with kindness. But she will be retiring in a few years. How quickly could the schools ethos/vibe change once she has left?

MissAnneElk Sat 07-Nov-09 11:26:20

Potentially very quickly I think. We had a similar situation when choosing a school for DD1. Much of what we liked about it was because of the head teacher and we knew she would be due to retire before DD2 finished and even possibly earlier as she had some health issues. She did retire about 18 months before DD2 left and athough the new head teacher did make some changes they all turned out to be positive. I'd say if you like the school send your DS. Remember that if the head teacher was younger they could easily leave for another job.

sausagesupper Sat 07-Nov-09 11:41:29

as a teacher, i can tell you that a school can change very quickly. you may find that some staff leave who do not like the new head etc... Also new head may have different priorities/targets to act on and will want to jump straight on it e.g. they may want to tighten up discipline and will want to implement the new rules very strongly very quickly.
However, the change may be for the better and the school could change in different ways. Without sounding patronizing, although you love the school there may be underlying problems which you are unaware of as a prospective parent which need to be dealt with and the new headteacher would be appointed to sort it out for better or worse.
At the as MissAnneElk pointed out, there are no hard and fast rules, you could have a young head who moves on for promotion, all you can do is what you think is the best thing for you and your child with the info you have.
sorry if have confused you, i never realised what a hard decision it is to choose a school till i had kids of my own!
However, you could make sure you are involved in the school, e.g. joining parents groups etc so at least you can know what's going on and have your say!

elvislives Sat 07-Nov-09 11:46:30

The head makes the school, purely and simply. Our DS2's primary Head retired and the whole school kind of imploded in on itself

The (secondary) school DS1 went to was fantastic, with a long waiting-list. Then the Head retired and the Deputy died. Within less than 3 years it had a huge bullying problem and became the school no-one wanted to send their kids to.

BrigitBigKnickers Sat 07-Nov-09 13:02:20

7 years ago the school where I work had many difficulties. We had a head who wasn't that great for the 2 years before she retired. We then had simply the worst head you could imagine. Someone who had been promoted up through the ranks because it was the only way to get rid but someone who also is very good at the bullsh*t so shines at interview. Our deputy at the time wasn't much better.

Our lovely school plummeted and we ended up in special neasures. The head resigned (before he was sacked)and we ended up with a temporary "super head" who put many people on long term sick leave through stress.

After 2 years of hell, we finally got a fantastic head. Within 8 weeks the school was a different place. Happy staff, well behaved children. 6 months later we came out of special measures. Now 4 years later we have been rated as a good to outstanding school.

Yes a head can make the most tremendous difference.

pugsandseals Sat 07-Nov-09 15:37:02

A bad head can kill a school in weeks IME! Very sad, but true.

Squishabelle Sat 07-Nov-09 15:41:11

Weeks. dds primary got a new head who came with absolutely glowing references from previous school (very bad sign as I later founds out they were desperate to get rid!). Wrecked the school almost immediately.

throckenholt Sat 07-Nov-09 15:47:33

depends a lot on the governors - they are the ones who select the new head. If they select the head to carry on the same ethos then it should stay reasonably similar.

I would go for the one you like and if things change then is the time to think of alternatives.

dilemma456 Sat 07-Nov-09 21:15:50

Message withdrawn

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