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Family man with little time for his children

Dave Fann missed his daughters' Irish dancing show last week because of commitments at school.

And when his teenage daughters wanted to go to a football match, it was Julie, his partner, who took them, because Mr Fann, head of Sherwood primary, in Preston, was at an after-school governors' meeting.

"There have been moments when I haven't been as supportive to my children as I could have been," the 47-year-old said. "I do feel guilty. Heads are good at organising the staff timetable, making sure everyone is off-site at a reasonable time. But we're not good at following our own advice."

Often he will leave home at 7am and return at 8pm. This week only one night is free of work commitments. Other evenings are taken up with governors' and union meetings, and coaching the infants' football club.

"I start every term with good intentions," he said. "My family does get resentful. They say, you can find time for school, but not for us. You can get uptight in the job, but you don't want to show it. So when I get home, all those emotions come to the surface. Julie calls me a grumpy old man.

And my daughters comment that I'm short-tempered."

Now, when he returns home, they steer him into the conservatory to unwind on his own over a cup of coffee.

"When I look at other jobs, in bigger schools, Julie tells me money isn't everything," he said. "It's about quality of life as well.

"People should come into a headship later in life. Have time with your family, because when you become a head, you won't have that time. You really won't."

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