Stress of running a small school

I AM writing in support of teaching heads in small primary schools - those with four days or more class-teaching commitment.

I have just resigned my post as head of Buildwas school in Shropshire. This was following six months of absence on ill-health stress and a very negative Office for Standards in Education report which said that I was a failing headteacher.

The sadness of this is that I cannot really argue against this judgment. I was head of Buildwas for 11 years and became ground down by juggling the pressures of being a class teacher and head.

I wrote repeatedly over the past seven years to Shropshire education authority and the Government to ask for more release time but to no avail. No money was available so we were stuck with one day a week to do all the jobs of a head.

I could not do it. I make a plea for all heads of small schools to have a minimum of two days per week non-contact time so that they do not have to sacrifice themselves and their families and become failures.

I now no longer want to teach but hope to find something to do which allows me to have a life as well.

Nigel Sharp 13 Jockey Bank Ironbridge, Shropshire

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