Choose your mentors well

12th December 1997 at 00:00
So, the latest plans for training heads include using people like me as mentors ("Heads' training to be tailor-made", TES, November 28). I am a qualified middle manager working for a blue-chip company that extensively uses information technology.

I would imagine that I or my colleagues might be the very people who would be approached. But there is one big snag - the overwhelming evidence is that my colleagues would have absolutely nothing to offer a mentee and indeed, a lot could be learnt if the roles were reversed.

The long-held view that the business or industrial world uses skills which could magically improve educationally management is utterly wrong.

To attempt to describe some of the practices that headteachers would be exposed to is to invite incredulity and ridicule.

For example, last week I was asked to pencil in a meeting for Thursday at 9am with the human resources manager - no duration stated, no agenda. It was re-scheduled twice and it was finally announced, on Thursday, that it would be for all managers on the following Monday and it would last all afternoon. I am sure nobody in education would be prepared to take lessons in time management from anybody who operates in such an environment.

The world of education and educational management leads the way in many of its highly professional practices. By all means add to this strength, but for goodness sake be very careful of the competence and relevance of your role models.


4 Johnsons Field Olney Buckinghamshire

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