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What’s it like to work in a Harris Academy?

(46 Posts)
MamaVV Mon 07-Jan-19 19:51:39

Wondering if I should consider it as a viable option or avoid it like the plague?

OP’s posts: |
MrsPatterson2014 Mon 07-Jan-19 20:19:22

Avoid like the plague! Awful ethos. Worked in one for years. Constant scrunity, excessive observations, unreasonable targets. I worked with some lovely people, we were all broken and demoralised by the end.

Cauliflowersqueeze Mon 07-Jan-19 20:20:15

All the people I’ve known who have worked there have absolutely hated it and left.

Pangur2 Mon 07-Jan-19 20:21:28

It was awful. Don't do it.

CherieBabySpliffUp Mon 07-Jan-19 20:25:08

I'm surprised by your responses. I viewed a Harris Academy school in October and the head said that his ethos was completely the opposite with regards working teachers until they break.

IceRebel Mon 07-Jan-19 20:29:07

the head said that his ethos was completely the opposite with regards working teachers until they break.

To be fair the head would say that, he's tying to get staff through the door.

bookmum08 Mon 07-Jan-19 20:33:52

As someone who lives near several Harris School it seems as a staff member you may have to do 'bus stop supervison duty' to stop the appalling and dreadful behaviour of the pupils when they catch the bus. Harris pupils (from more than one Harris school) seem to be the worst behaved school children I see going to and from school - and I live near a large public transport interchange so see pupils from many many secondary schools.

UnderMajorDomoMinor Mon 07-Jan-19 20:34:05

It depends on your style. They have a consistent approach so if that approach gels with your style you’ll like it (and if not you won’t). Best to try to speak to people who joined Harris rather than were in a school taken over by them. Just because the upheaval of being ‘academised’ (if that’s a word...) is bound to be a stressful experience.

GoopIsALoadOf Mon 07-Jan-19 20:34:42

What is a Harris school?

CherieBabySpliffUp Mon 07-Jan-19 20:35:24

IceRebel this was an open day for prospective students

IceRebel Mon 07-Jan-19 20:37:13

this was an open day for prospective students

Ah so he was trying to sweet talk parents. grin

FourOnTheHill Mon 07-Jan-19 20:37:39

DH worked for one and he and I would say avoid LIKE THE PLAGUE. They chewed up and spat out the majority of staff. DH left there on the verge of a mental breakdown. He was in robust mental health before that but still bears some scars from that time. I wouldn’t have thought any HT would say they didn’t value staff retention/ wellbeing/ all that kind of BS would they CherieBabySpliffUp

MamaVV Mon 07-Jan-19 20:38:42

Management say that they want to protect teachers from additional workload so that they only have to plan, teach and mark. Is this not your experience Mrs Patterson & Pangur?
Also do you think it would feel vastly different being in a SLT / schools direct training role?

OP’s posts: |
Lulutheboss Mon 07-Jan-19 20:39:35

I worked for a Harris school. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!
It has taken me four years to get over the trauma of working there and to feel like I’m a decent teacher again.
If you want to be treated like a professional and trusted to do your job, then don’t touch with a barge pole.

Blueemeraldagain Mon 07-Jan-19 20:43:29

I’m a teacher and every teacher I’ve known work there has hated it. It breaks people.

One plus: One friend did her NQT year and she got a lot more provided for her than I did (training opportunities, conferences with other NQTs etc) but she left 3 years later a hair’s breadth away from never teaching again. Luckily she found a much more supportive school and has been there 2 years now.

They certainly seem to have a lot of vacancy adverts...

Cauliflowersqueeze Mon 07-Jan-19 20:58:30

What is a Harris school?

A carpet manufacturer, Lord Harris, set up lots of academies and named them after himself. All have the same “recipe” for how they are set up. Lots of dodgy practices.

Pangur2 Mon 07-Jan-19 21:10:53

You can squeeze an awful lot of extra work into planning, teaching and marking. What was the extra stuff they were claiming they didn't make teachers do?
The amount of paperwork they made me do in regard to planning was obscene. And they they would make you change it all and do it again on the whim of something someone from Ofsted said in an interview. Awful place.

MamaVV Mon 07-Jan-19 22:19:00

Thanks Lulu, do you think you would’ve felt the same if you were in an SLT role? A previous colleague who I really respect works there now and enjoys it but says she think I would struggle with the lack of freedom / choice / ability to individualise.

OP’s posts: |
MaisyPops Mon 07-Jan-19 22:30:53

I've not heard anyone say nice things about Harris but I'm out of the main Harris regions so we're talking a dozen people or so.

On behaviour they get some sympathy from me as they tend to (pleas correct me if I've got this wrong) have taken over schools that had lots of historic issues. I worked somewhere similar (struggling school, academy conversion etc), but the Harris approach strikes me as 'this is our way so either get with it or get out'.

Lulutheboss Mon 07-Jan-19 22:57:16

Most of the SLT were bloody awful. Over inflated egos and rude. I had no respect for any of them. I wouldn’t ever want to work in a place like that again, in any capacity. No, I wouldn’t feel differently if I had been in SLT.
Seriously, don’t go near it. The perks and the promise of promotion can lure you in but you’ll regret it.

MamaVV Tue 08-Jan-19 21:15:31

Thanks Lulu and everyone else. It’s interesting that people feel so overwhelmingly negative about Harris. I may apply and go for a little look and then decide if it’s worth my sanity.

OP’s posts: |
qumquat Wed 09-Jan-19 19:30:06

I agree with others avoid! Everyone I know who has taught at a Harris has hated it. I think their strong behaviour standards are good for students but the expectations of the staff in terms of planning, scrutiny and the hours expected are entirely unreasonable.

Dommina Fri 18-Jan-19 07:50:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Greenandcabbagelooking Sat 19-Jan-19 14:57:49

I had the same question, and now I have the answer! A shame really, as there are many schools near me.

selfishaltruism Wed 29-Jan-20 15:54:46

I am currently training in a Harris to teach Secondary, and I love it. I was a TA to start with, and really enjoy the life of the school environment, so decided to become a teacher.

We are there to educate the children, all the other stuff is crap.. Just dont involve yourself in it.

I think working in a school is like marmite. You either love it, or you hate it.

I suggest working in a school for a while first before training to teach.

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