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Headteacher feeling under pressure and needing sorting

(21 Posts)
Headspaceneeded Sun 16-Nov-14 20:28:47

I wondered if anyone could help with some words of wisdom.

I am the head of a medium sized primary and have been in post several years but am feeling like I have can't see the wood for the trees at the moment. For various reasons (I have had a terrible 12 months), I have got a bit back logged with certain things. I don't have much senior management support (for reasons I can't explain here) and feel very alone most of the time in making decisions and moving things forward.

I am struggling to get my head round the new curriculum and new approaches to assessment and just feel out of control.

I would be very grateful if anyone can offer some words of wisdom or could PM me so I could talk more specifically.

Thank you

ilovemonstersinc Sun 16-Nov-14 20:30:41

Didnt want to read and run. I have absolutely no experience in that field at all.

feelingunsupported Sun 16-Nov-14 20:32:39

Speak to your staff - call a meeting and explain to them that you're struggling.

I'd much rather my Head did this than hide from it and end up risking us being in trouble as a school.

I'd respect you for it and help in a heartbeat.

Finola1step Sun 16-Nov-14 20:32:45

You can PM me.

Do you use The Key? I find it invaluable for breaking down lots of info into manageable chunks. It's my go to resource if I have got questions.

But it does sound from your post that the big issue is perhaps a lack of a SLT who you can confidently delegate to.

Strictly1 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:32:50

I'm sorry that you feel like that. There have been so many changes recently. Have you looked at the Sheffield stat site for assessing without levels? For the new curriculum cornerstones is a good purchase if you are short of time and support. Hopefully once you've made a few steps forward again you'll feel more positive. I'm yet to feel on top of it all - I don't think you ever do in the constantly shifting sands of teaching.

SweepTheHalls Sun 16-Nov-14 20:34:20

How on board are your governors and the rest of your staff? Is it just the other SLT that are blockers? Can you bring get in an slt to support?

lougle Sun 16-Nov-14 20:36:03

Can you identify key members of staff with growth potential and give them development opportunities?

Build the support from beneath you?

Headspaceneeded Sun 16-Nov-14 20:50:29

Thank you everyone. I wasn't expecting so many responses so quickly.

I do use The Key and also find it really helpful. The SLT issue is tricky because my Deputy really needs to leave and doesn't set a good example to others. Whilst it isn't anywhere near a disciplinary or competency issue it makes it vary hard to insist on things from others.

I think I am feeling a bit low because I seem to start things but never get them finished because of interruptions to deal children (nothing terrible) and quite a bit of staff illness recently.

I also struggle with confrontation and dealing with difficult parents / staff. I had thought I would get better at this over the years but in fact it has got worse!

lougle Sun 16-Nov-14 21:20:06

I'd try and build a stronger team around the deputy so that it dilutes his/her impact.

Finola1step Sun 16-Nov-14 21:25:28

Agree with lougle.

Just a thought re difficult conversations. Have you had any coaching in this? I can thoroughly recommend a coach I have previously worked with. PM if you want details. Even if he is not working in your area, he may be able to recommend someone.

funchum8am Sun 16-Nov-14 21:34:28

If the deputy is not meeting the senior leadership standards you can take action - these days there is more support for dealing with under performing staff than there ever used to be. Certainly they should not have got pay progression this year.

Can you consult anyone at your LEA (if you are not an academy) or a school improvement partner (if you still have them where you are) or ASCL or the NAHT to get some guidance?

Headspaceneeded Sun 16-Nov-14 22:03:31

Thank you again for all your responses and very practical advice. I am looking at where I can go with my slt and I will look at the advice of the bodies you have suggested funchum. Thanks

Finola - I have messages you for you coaching details. Thanks.

Cataline Sun 16-Nov-14 22:06:20

Do you have a SIP with the local authority? They should be able to help you. Our last head totally buried his head in the sand when he started struggling and it nearly destroyed our school so it's great that you're reaching out for help at this early stage. Good luck!

funchum8am Sun 16-Nov-14 22:07:33

Best of luck!

Maidupmum Mon 17-Nov-14 18:01:17

I'm a HT, you can PM me for support if you like smile

HopeClearwater Tue 18-Nov-14 18:20:20

Dear OP, I wouldn't rush to admit weaknesses to the staff. If they're anything like the nest of vipers you get in some schools then they won't support you. Also, teaching is so hard these days that it can be very discouraging to feel that even your boss is struggling. But good luck - it's not a job I'd want for myself.

junkfoodaddict Wed 19-Nov-14 15:21:18

Actually HopeClearwater, I hope OP is going to be honest with staff! I am off work with stress due to the craziness of my HT and in all honesty, I think she is the way she is because she is feeling bogged down and stressed herself and would WISH my HT was honest and open and admit that she isn't perfect and needs help. The staff inmy school hate my HT because she is so nasty, ruthless and cold but if she opened up and told us she was struggling, she would actually find that we are ALL supportive and caring and would LOVE to help her out professionally and emotionally. It is the dreaded 'head hates staff' and 'staff hate head' situation and by asuming we are all 'vipers' is really counter productive to school harmony.
Headspaceneeded, hope you get the support you are looking for.

HopeClearwater Thu 20-Nov-14 22:01:04

junkfoodaddict that's a really interesting point. But would you all be able to forgive her for the nasty things she's done? Not all of your colleagues might be as charitable as you.

MissMillament Thu 20-Nov-14 22:10:29

What is your chair of governors like? I have been a CoG in the past and I would hope that the working relationship I developed with the head would have enabled them to share any issues of this kind with me. In this case I would probably be suggesting bringing in some outside support whether it be coaching, LA advisor or consultancy to help with specific issues such as bedding in the new curriculum, skilling up your leadership team etc.

junkfoodaddict Fri 21-Nov-14 08:33:56

Hopeclearwater - knowing my fellow staff members, yes. Most would almost immediately and some may take a little longer but would certainly be a bit more approachable.
I met with my head yesterday and it is clear she doesn't know her staff all that well. They won't open up to her if she won't be open and honest with them. My colleagues are actually a down to earth and caring bunch of folk but fear of the head at the moment hampers everyone from expressing themselves.

junkfoodaddict Fri 21-Nov-14 08:46:01

For me personally, I would forgive. I forgave the deputy head when she ended up as the cause of my depression and I went on antidepressants 9 years ago. Now, I have actually entrusted her to be my support colleague when I return to work.
I don't believe in holding a grudge. I think it is unhealthy and actually serves no purpose than to make yourself feel awfu about the 'world'.
My head has said some things to me during the last few weeks that have hurt me immensely and damaged my confidence. But I still think she said it due to stress herself and she is worried about OFSTED. She is the type of person who is thick skinned and would deny she is scared and being a bit of a bully but deep down, I don't think she is doing it on purpose.
I accepted and admitted I was struggling and am getting the help I need and feel like I will come out of it stronger and happier. Just wish ALL heads who are struggling would do the same. I think they could end up being the influential driving force in 'bog standard' teachers getting the help them seem to want to deny and ignore because stress is seen as something that is weak and a taboo and it shouldn't. It takes a strong person to admit they are struggling.

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