How can I find a job at a nice school?(20 Posts)
Came home in tears yesterday after seeing a much loved senior colleague torn down and slated by the executive headteacher as part of a staff meeting. The atmosphere is toxic, people crying in the staffroom and generally everyone looking like they want to flee.
This is my second time in a school like this, and I actually came here hoping it would be different. I asked all the right questions about work-life balance and the union rep and marking expectations and I was basically told a pack of lies. This is my second year here, and after last night’s tirade and my colleague walking around red-eyed this morning, my mind is made up. I need to go. I have anxiety and this place is making me worse.
My boyfriend told me to talk to the union, but I personally do not have a grievance with my head. I am in a Year with no major tests (I’m primary) so I have managed to avoid her wrath. There’s nothing I can really say to my Union apart from anecdotes of other people’s lives and my comments on the atmosphere.
I really want to be a Numeracy lead for a school, but I am finding it impossible to find a school that I want to put roots down in and progress. I have just taken out a mortgage as well so I can’t go on supply until I am more settled.
Can I please have some advice please? Currently sobbing in the PPA room. Is there anyone I can speak to who can tell me where the nice heads are, or if anyone has any anecdotal evidence? I am in south London.
How far will you travel? I know a lovely, lovely school with a vacancy but it's to the west of London. Depending on where you are, it might be commutable??
Thank you so much for replying toomuch. Bit too far for me, I wouldn’t be able to afford the travel costs.
Would my union be able to help me with suggestions of schools where they’ve had no issue? Is there anyone impartial I can ask?
I’ve considered it roloisking but I’m worried that I could still walk blindly into a similar situation no matter the sector.
I just want to work somewhere where the staff are happy
I've got lots of lovely CE primaries looking for staff.
My DD's primary school is lovely, All the staff seem very happy and get on well, I never detect any atmosphere, they all seem to get on very well, And it is a fab school, I couldn't be happier with it, It is a primary school.
Sorry just seen you can't travel, I am in Reading, so not too far from London, there are loads of teacher vacancies in many schools currently.
It's a shame you can't travel, I hope you find a nice school to work in soon
I am currently doing supply and think this is the only way you can get a taste of what schools are really like. Sadly, happy schools are few and far between but something will have to change.
I teach secondary op but my life has been transformed by moving to a private school. And I mean my life, because my anxiety levels are at a normal level and I do not leave crying on any day.
Yes the classes are a bit smaller and facilities better but that's not why I'm happier. I'm happier because I have some autonomy, i and my colleagues are trusted to do our jobs, I am not being constantly observed, teachers set their own target grades based on the children they know, not based on random data from years ago that can't be disputed.
There's always something to grumble about of course but basically it is a better quality of teaching -life.
I would recommend having a look round if any private jobs come up.
I'm so sorry to hear your situation. Been there, and hated it so much. That kind of atmosphere and approach to staff is soul-destroying to watch, and even worse to experience.
Unfortunately I think the only way to truly know what a school is like to work in you either need to do supply there over a few weeks, or know someone who teaches there who will give you honest from-the-horse's mouth information.
Could you really not do supply for a term? Take the risk, knowing that in South London there's probably a lot of work, enabling you to work practically full time? That's all I did, when I left a hideous school with no job to go to because I resigned last minute when it became unbearable. I was offered four jobs by the time the term was up, and could choose the school which I knew had a healthy and positive approach to staff well-being, and a sensible approach to workload (and an LEA school to boot, not an academy...)
What's your own teacher network like in your local area? It's worth net-working whenever you can (courses, moderation, Facebook groups) building contacts in other schools as it's a good way of getting to know when vacancies arise, and what the current staff think if the place.
I agree local courses/ network/ group meetings are a good way to sound out schools- not by asking other staff how their school is, but by watching how they interact with each other and the kinds of things they say. I recently went on a course for NQT mentors and it was an eye opener. Wrote of at least 3 schools as potential places to ever work!
Obviously that's not a quick solution as there's only so many local outings you can go on!
Have a look at your appraisal targets and identify a couple of local schools doing well in related things and ask to go on visits maybe?
I teach secondary English in an IB international school in Asia. I'm also HOY. The job is stressful at times but the kids are amazing and so are my colleagues.
I was in the same position as you until recently, new mortgage and all (head finally understood that various staff wanted to leave and changed her ways so am hanging in there for now) and I was all ready to go on supply and find somewhere else. I last did supply ages ago and said to them that I'd stay long term at a school and also do their planning for the class (over and above what supplies generally e expected to do) if the school let me join in training sessions so I could stay up to date. It worked a treat.
Was talking to manager of supply agency last week and she said heads are crying out for good quality supplies at the moment. I reckon it's worth doing - don't get bogged down in one place; you can look round and see what other types of school are out there.
Also, I genuinely think you've been unlucky to find two schools in a row like this. Sorry it's giving you a hard time. There's better out there
I agree that supply is the best way of finding a school that suits you as an individual, unions and supply agencies won’t tell you which schools are ‘nice’ . You’ll have to find out yourself, but it’s the only way to really know. If you are in S London, there will be a lot of choices.
I recently moved to the independent sector to an amazing school where there is high trust, lots of PPA time, no fear culture, respect and a really positive vibe. I was previously at a hell hole school very similar to what you describe.
I don't know if it is the independent sector or the school in question - perhaps a bit of both - but I would recommend looking at private schools highly. Take care to check pupil numbers and ask around but generally it isn't all about Ofsted, Government floor targets and lesson observation gradings... more about the pupils and parents. Yes parents can be tricky but you feel more you are working for the child and a rounded education - NOT a SATs score or trying out a new fad in the name of 'ofsted really like... X Y Z' type statements from SLT.
Sorry not an agency, are you looking in London?
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