Dancing out of red tape hell

28th April 2006 at 01:00
It was a dramatic exit that heads in Hull will remember for years.

Midway through a meeting of local heads, Alan Smith, head of Buckingham primary, rose to his feet. "I am slowly losing the will to live," he said.

"It was lovely knowing you - goodbye." And with that, he left the room performing the exit dance made famous by Morecambe and Wise.

Mr Smith, aged 62, said he had been hoping to remain as a headuntil he was 65. But he decided to announce his resignation at the meeting when a local authority adviser started to speak about target-setting.

He is far from being the only head to quit: 13 others in Hull, out of 70 in the city, are also planning to step down in July. Mr Smith stressed that he is in good health and has plenty of energy left - but is fed up with the number of government initiatives.

"The situation has become totally intolerable," he said. "I spend my time protecting my pupils and my staff from initiative after initiative. I wish they would just leave us alone." But he said that initiatives such as the new self-evalation forms had made him spend too much time on bureaucracy.

"On top of that they want all schools to become 'extended'," he said. "What are we becoming? A childcare service?"

Inspectors have praised Buckingham school's work with pupils from one of Britain's most deprived areas and described Mr Smith's leadership as "sensitive and supportive".

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