Jump to content
The Education Forum

Management


Audrey McKie
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am afed up with the lack of transparency from members of the management team in my present school. What they is at best contradictory: on the one hand, we are told that due to the unions (and thereafterthe government too) workload has got to be reduced, and I am greatful for the little amount of cover I have done this year, but on the other hand we are thrown a vast amount a small or large tasks to do, most often administrative and always extremely obscure. And at worst it just does not make any sense...

For example, all teachers at my school are being observed by SMT, however, the reason for this new measure has never been discussed with middle management or the rest of the staff. It has left the staff on the whole feeling spied upon and mostly it has a certain whiff of forthcoming Ofsted Inspection.

Secondly, for the rest of the term, all staff have been asked to produce a weekly chart of self-evaluation: How many of my lessons this week have been

outstanding?

good?

satisfactory?

poor?

Although, I think that in itself and for personal reasons, self-evaluationis a good idea because it enables people to move forward, I do not understand why it has been imposed by SMT without any reasons.

Does your school do the same to you? Do they provide exlanations? Have you got an opinion about this issue?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bad management is commonplace in schools where there is no strong union presence. This does not necessarily mean just membership. If you have 50 percent plus membership on the staff but nobody wants to be rep you can imagine the management find it easy not to discuss issues.

The union rep can ameliorate some of the wackier ideas of management and refocus SMT on their job which is supporting the staff. They need to be reminded of this at least once a day <_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The union rep can ameliorate some of the wackier ideas of management and refocus SMT on their job which is supporting the staff. They need to be reminded of this at least once a day  <_<

I'll suggest that next time we have a meeting, which is not even once a year.... Although I am French, I am not a great Union person, but I agree with yur view and i wish that they could make themselves heard. The trouble is that one of our reps is retiring and the other one (from a rival company!) took over two years ago from a retiree and is doing that job the same way as he does his teaching one: he just doesn't care......

I'll stop being cynical for a minute and will submit your idea to my colleagues.

Thanks Derek.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...
The union rep can ameliorate some of the wackier ideas of management and refocus SMT on their job which is supporting the staff. They need to be reminded of this at least once a day B)

I'll suggest that next time we have a meeting, which is not even once a year.... Although I am French, I am not a great Union person, but I agree with yur view and i wish that they could make themselves heard. The trouble is that one of our reps is retiring and the other one (from a rival company!) took over two years ago from a retiree and is doing that job the same way as he does his teaching one: he just doesn't care......

I'll stop being cynical for a minute and will submit your idea to my colleagues.

Thanks Derek.

There are two serious problems associated with the management of most schools. Most holders of senior positions in schools and colleges have never been trained in management but much more destructively a significant minority have only been "trained" in the 10 winning secrets of the National College for School Leadership - a really quite embarrasing organisation whose raison d'etre is to enable the really quite hopeless to rise throught the ranks and cause mayhem for the rest of us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We actually have two very good members of SLT in my school.

One is still a member of NUT, and believes strongly in the organisation of the workforce (hey what do you know, a historian too), the other was my line manager for a year, and knows better than to suggest stoopid ideas like weekly self evaluations (in what time would they want that carried out? instead of marking? planning? report writing?).

New head starts January (internal 'training' will commence with TLR revisited) and another member of SLT needs to be recruited...

Like any bully any where, they look for easy targets and tend to avoid those who don't respond with the 'yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir' mantra.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

It is a great shame that the collegiate model of managing a school appears to have been lost for good.

In its place we find the Blairite cult of leadership informing the activities of most modern senior managers. Visions, strategies, and their pursuit of awards and logos for letter heads are all in vogue when undoubtedly we would all be better served by them just concentrating their time and efforts on balancing the books, recruiting the right staff and supporting the professionals in their work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like any bully any where, they look for easy targets and tend to avoid those who don't respond with the 'yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir' mantra.

Exactly right. I would recommend that all teachers should take on their head at an open staff meeting during the first few months at a school. Always be polite but make it clear you are not someone to be intimidated. It works wonders. You will never be bullied by anyone who attends the staff meeting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As some of you know, I'm the fulltime paid President of our state teachers' union here. We only have one national union, therefore avoiding the competition of having more than one and consequently having more power with the govt/DoE. We have 93% membership in the school K-12 sector, not quite so high in the vocational FE Colleges which we call TAFE.

So, it's a fascinating subject for me. I know to varying degrees almost all of our 300 Principals and many of our SMTs. I know roughly what all of their staffs think of them. Some of the causes of bad management have already been mentioned and I agree with them. In our system which is small and bureaucratically top-down driven from the Minister, through the Secretariat, down through the Directors, down to the Principals and onwards down to the teachers, it is sad but true that this very system causes some of the bullying and intimidatory management styles. However, it is my observation that those who follow this pattern are either those who have driving ambition and have been promoted beyond their capacity, those who are insecure about their own ability or those whose innate personalities tend towards the domineering and confrontational. They are the ones who see this style as "strength" and that perception is supported by the hierarchy who will ultimately promote them.

When I consider those whose staffs respect them and who have a general reputation for being a "good" Principal, they are generally those who are confident of their own capacity, old enough not to care what happens to their careers and/or innately wise and intelligent people who understand that bullying and intimidation is weakness, not strength and that proper delegation, respect for teachers and what they do, supporting them against the outside world, treating them as equal professionals and not patronising, are all signs of intelligence and wisdom. For some of them, nothing would do except a frontal lobotomy and a personality transplant. On the other hand, thank goodness we do have some good ones!!

PS I meant to also say that I absolutely agree with John. That's what our union suggests (it's easier here because all will be members of the same union) is that the rep holds a meeting of members and as a unified group, they spell out to the incoming Head or SMT exactly what they see as good management and what they expect to see from them. This can be done in writing and formally put on the staff meeting agenda if people are a bit timid. They can all sign it, but the rep can present it. Strength in numbers and unity of purpose is usually the answe to these types. If that doesn't work then a union officer should be called in to facilitate and mediate at another meeting. it's a very unwise head who decides to disagree with a whole of staff approach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few years ago a friend of mine was trying to work out why there are so many useless and authoritarian managers in the public sector. His conclusion was that they were trying to emulate the private sector … but the only role model they had for a private sector manager was JR in Dallas! You can learn lots of things by modelling yourself on JR, but you won't learn how to run an oil company …

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
It is a great shame that the collegiate model of managing a school appears to have been lost for good.

In its place we find the Blairite cult of leadership informing the activities of most modern senior managers. Visions, strategies, and their pursuit of awards and logos for letter heads are all in vogue when undoubtedly we would all be better served by them just concentrating their time and efforts on balancing the books, recruiting the right staff and supporting the professionals in their work.

I totally agree that the focus of leadership should be on the things that make a difference to classroom practice. However, without a vision, how does one know where to take a school. Recruitment and support are essential, undoubtedly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree that the focus of leadership should be on the things that make a difference to classroom practice. However, without a vision, how does one know where to take a school. Recruitment and support are essential, undoubtedly.

The things that make a difference: smaller class sizes, bureaucracy limited to what is functional, decent resources, non-stressed teachers. If it is the case that students learn best when teachers use their skills and resources to facilitate this, it surely follows that good 'management' is that which enables teachers to develop their practice.

The recently published contextual value added figures that show how wonderful (sic) independent schools are vcompared to their state 'rivals', have no indicator for class size and resources and similar 'extraneous' factors.

And when it comes to looking at management, it's always a heartening thought to consider the Peter Principle tha 'in a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their "level of incompetence" '. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree that the focus of leadership should be on the things that make a difference to classroom practice. However, without a vision, how does one know where to take a school. Recruitment and support are essential, undoubtedly.

The vision for any school is self evidently the furtherance of the education (in its broadest sense) of the children.

I believe this is best arrived at through a collegiate approach to managing and organising learning. The leadership thing is just a bit of a fad. The Reverend Blair is a "visionary leader" therefore every public institution must have one or several. It will go out of fashion in time.... perhaps when his "visions" have driven us all yet further into the mires of war and Thatcherism. We may wistfully even remember one day the wisdom of collective decision making.

'in a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their "level of incompetence"

I feel I may have gone rather higher :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The vision for any school is self evidently the furtherance of the education (in its broadest sense) of the children.

I believe this is best arrived at through a collegiate approach to managing and organising learning. The leadership thing is just a bit of a fad. The Reverend Blair is a "visionary leader" therefore every public institution must have one or several. It will go out of fashion in time.... perhaps when his "visions" have driven us all yet further into the mires of war and Thatcherism. We may wistfully even remember one day the wisdom of collective decision making.

It may not have appeared crystal clear from my earlier post that I am in the fullest agreement with the concept of collegiality. Its absence from the public sector has its origins in Thatcherism (and the 3 years before Hilda) and persisting with this absence goes to the core of what is wrong with New Labour - its lack of trust in the people and in their abilities.

Edited by Ed Waller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree. The trouble with "visions" is they are usually the personal vision of the leader based on what is the leadership/vision fad of the moment, and what will get them promoted even further above their level of competence, rather than the collegial vision of the members of the organisation.

Our last Sec for Education was asked, on taking up his appointment, : What is your vision for education in this state? He replied: My role is to facilitate the visions of others.

At the time I thought he was being a bit pompous but on further reflection, I came to realise he was actually being very wise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...