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Friday Five: Euphemisms used by senior leaders

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Interpreting the language of your senior leadership team can be challenging. When I was a head, I was obviously never guilty of using euphemistic language, but I do know it is common. Every school has its own unique vernacular, but here are five universal phrases to watch out for:

  1. “We have some exciting times ahead!” The funding freeze means that we have no money and we'll be making cuts. And it's likely to be a bit more substantial than reducing the number of dessert options in the canteen. .Stay calm  
  2. “You’ve made some really helpful points in this staff meeting.” We only held this meeting out of courtesy as we've already made our decision.  Feign interest  
  3. “We have some really interesting students joining us this year.” Dig out your best behaviour management techniques and lock away anything of cursory value. Be prepared  
  4. “Here’s a great CPD opportunity for you…” I really don't want to rewrite the stretch and challenge policy/head up an assessment working group/mentor a PGCE student. Could you do it instead? Lovely  
  5. “Sorry, I would love to meet this afternoon to discuss your difficult class, but I’ve been called to an urgent meeting at county hall.” Can’t stop, there’s a buy-one-get-one-free deal on wine in the local supermarket that I must take advantage of. Get out

John Perry was talking to Nicola Davison.  He is an education consultant and former headteacher

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