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".

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today