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Q and A

Q: I have been accosted by the assistant head who complained that he hadn't seen me do a plenary at the end of a lesson. Should I do one if he walks in or should I stick with my normal teaching style?

Margaret, Lincolnshire

A: If the assistant head concerned is one of the increasing numbers of younger upstarts, often promoted far too early in their careers and, sadly, way beyond their competency, I'd tell himher to go and take a running jump.

I've not had anything like that experience but we've got a younger assistant head who seems to think he's God's gift - but it is so easy to expose his weaknesses. You have my sympathy but whatever you do, don't let him get you down.

Nick, Norwich

A: Our assistant heads are always popping into classes, but never for longer than five minutes or so. I like it to be honest and find it reassuring, and so should you. Your assistant head seems to be picky and on a mission.

Jules, London

A: My deputy head used to pop in for five to 10-minute "informal observations", complete with clipboard and tick boxes. My head of department soon put a stop to it. Occasionally, the headteacher pops in. However, more often than not, the Senior Management Team just lurks rather furtively around the edge of the door frame, peeking in at the pupils. Not sure what they're looking for - we all ignore them

Margaret, Kent

Coming up

Q: Our citizenship department and school council organisers arrange for pupils to go on school sanctioned trips to protest and demonstrate on political issues. Is this ethical?

Q: Do we need heads of year? In other European countries there is much less emphasis on pastoral care. If we do need them, should they do that job only and no teaching at all?

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