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Sexist headteacher

(7 Posts)
GladbagsAndYourHandrags Fri 07-Oct-11 13:26:52

I'm a bit new to this section of MN but often lurk. Am hoping that you can help me think this situation through.

Been looking at schools for DC, and there is one which I would like to prefer. However sadly the headteacher (male) seems to be rather misogynistic. Or maybe just an idiot. I am basing this on a talk he gave at their open evening which included:

Joke about how he worries about what his wife will have cooked him for dinner
Comment re. boys would rather play football than read books (along with a lecture about getting rid of TV to get boys to read)
Remark that there is no excuse for not walking to school (I wondered if this is because he sees a mums role as SAHM not WOHM that needs to get to work on time!)

I'm wondering how much this is going to affect the school? It has really put me off. I have one DS and one DD and don't want either of them thinking the above sort of attitude is normal/acceptable. Then again am I overthinking things... arrrgghh

Is it better to enrol DC at the school and challenge this sort of attitude, or just not go there in the first place?

I feel really annoyed that sexism is affecting my DC education.

(Yes I have namechanged in case anyone recognises the school/me)

CailinDana Fri 07-Oct-11 13:53:13

I can understand your worry but as a teacher I'd say that the headteacher has very little direct contact with individual children so I don't think it's a big issue. It'd be more of a problem if the teacher your children were going to have had this attitude. Still, it is annoying that a person like him is setting the tone for the school and you might want to check out further was the atmosphere of the place is like - a headteacher who isn't well liked by the staff can create a very tense atmosphere that can affect the children.

thechairmanmeow Fri 07-Oct-11 13:55:45

i dont know if this guy is sexist or not, but from what you have said it could all be explained another way.
if he works and his wife doesnt, then she will probobly do the cooking, this would be the situation regardless of gender or has he mentioned anything about thats the way it should be ?
sounds like he is concernd about boys not reading, girls are out-performing boys at allmost every level of education, it isnt sexist to be concerned about that unless it went with a disregard for underperfoming girls .

as for walking to school, if he gets everyone reading and not playing football then they will need some excercise.

i'm not defending him, he may well be a misogynist for all i know , it's just i see no evidence of it from your post.

GladbagsAndYourHandrags Fri 07-Oct-11 14:18:16

Thanks both.

Re. atmosphere, the staff didn't seem that enthusiastic (compared to other schools) which is a concern but I am going to visit on a school day to see the place in action.

Re. potential explanations, I can see what you are saying. The overall tone though struck me as sexist. The boys/football thing seemed a negative thing to say. And unneccessary to tell boys or girls that their gender determines how good they are at something/what their interests are.

lovecat Fri 07-Oct-11 14:19:26

Hmm.

First comment = somewhat sexist but possibly true to his RL situation. Context/tone important here, difficult to judge without knowing exactly how it was said.

Second comment = the first bit (boys would rather play football than read) would worry me because of the sweeping nature of the comment - not all boys like football and many of them like to read, again without tone it's hard to tell, but it does seem to indicate a rather rigid mindset and possibly the prevailing culture of the school. The second bit I actually agree with - when we turn the TV off, DD reads a lot more!

Third comment = I do think children should walk to school unless there's absolutely no way of getting them there except by car. Is this primary? If not, they should be walking/bussing it anyway. If it is primary, then I don't think it's a dig about SAHM/WOHM - DH drops DD off to school x2 mornings and I do all pick up because it fits in with both our working lives, he drives her (much to my disgust, we live 5 mins away!) and I walk her.

More importantly, how did you feel about the school, did it appear to reflect any rigidity on his part about male/female roles/expectations? A headmaster/mistress will set the tone of the school to some extent, so trust your judgement. I personally do not have the energy to be continually challenging attitudes (DD's homework schedule is enough to defeat me!) so would look elsewhere if I really felt it to be impinging on my DC's education.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 07-Oct-11 17:34:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

confidence Fri 07-Oct-11 20:51:09

It's astonishing how dinosaurial some of these guys are. At the various open days and pre-starting functions for my DS's secondary, both the head and deputy said some appallingly sexist things. The head's were kind of jokey so I could possibly write them off as being inappropriate but not really affecting how things are done. But the deputy described with no touch of irony whatsoever how because the girls' and boys' schools had recently merged, and boys were now educated on the girls' old site, they'd had to get proper science equipment installed there.

For various reasons it wasn't really an option to choose a different school. I agree with previous posters that it's questionable how much of this attitude will trickle down. The attitudes of your DC's class teachers would probably be a much bigger factor, and you can't possible predict who they will all be or know enough about them. You don't know whether another school will be better, or possibly worse.

I'd suck it up for now, but keep a close eye and strenuously object to anything like that that comes up, letting them know it won't go unchallenged.

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