DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: SCHOOL LEADERS

Karen Edwards, headteacher of The Heights Primary, has taken her free school from a blank piece of paper to a fully functioning institution, but it hasn’t been without its challenges.

If you’re a subject leader, you have to make friends in school strategically. If you’re the head of English like me, you firstly need to befriend whoever guards the gate to reprographics needs the bounciest, sunniest, most dribblingly sycophantic version of you that you can muster. We’re talking bottle of wine at Christmas, chocolate egg at Easter, flowers on their birthday. Because they can do something that you could never do since the highest qualification you’re likely hold is in English Literature (or the one pertaining to your subject), a degree that required you to pontificate on postmodernism for 2 hours a week – they can fix the photocopier, a machine so psychopathic, so actively engaged in the utter destruction of your soul, that it makes HAL 9000 seem like a Care Bear. “I’m sorry James, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” you imagine it says as it mangles your Year 10 mock exams in its hot, metal, inky gob.

I don’t believe any educator or administrator wishes to start a cult, but far too often our leadership approach mirrors this kind of approach. Without knowing it, we can create a school or classroom that depends on us; one that revolves around our personality, our authority and depends on our presence to run smoothly.

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