Have you noticed?

30th October 1998 at 00:00
My husband, a business studies teacher, tells me there are two breeds of manager. Type A believes that all workers are shiftless, lazy and untrustworthy. They require close supervision, firm discipline and clear instructions from above. Type B bosses believe in shared decision-making, corporate loyalty, team building and management by consensus.

Unsurprisingly, most managers believe they are caring, sharing Type Bs. Most staff however are convinced their bosses are following the mushroom-growers' approach: keep them in the dark and throw manure over them occasionally.

Schools are no exception to this rule. An survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers shows that about half of primary teachers do not believe their heads are doing a good job. About the same proportion feel unable to talk about problems and challenge the way their schools are run.

As governors we should be able to bridge this gap. Genuine consultation, discussion and revision of all school policies should do away with staffroom muttering as well as festering discontent at the school gate: but too often, staff and parents see governors as the head's poodles. Perhaps it's time we started snapping at their heels.

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