Keep thee out of the monastery

22nd October 2004 at 01:00
What a sad state of affairs that in 2004 apparently one in three female heads chooses to live alone in order to best cope with the demands of the job (TES, Friday magazine, October 8). Prior to headship, I worked with a head in the single mould described in the article and learned some important lessons for headship regardless of gender.

On a personal level, long hours focused on the job do not help maintain a well-rounded personality and a good model for school leadership. Most schools would profess to aim to develop children as well-rounded people well able to play a positive role in society. What an irony if the lead learner is the antithesis of this.

At school level, there is the danger that the head expects the same level of commitment from the staff that they display. This is often implicit rather than stated, but over time it breeds resentment, dissatisfaction and alienation among staff willing to give a honest day's work.

Heads who choose an almost monastic devotion to their job tread a dangerous path for their own well-being and that of their school. Wouldn't it be better if they devoted just a little of their undoubted energy and drive to campaigning to keep the job manageable, their lives balanced and society generally sane?

Mark Alston Head, Holme on Spalding Moor primary school East Riding of Yorkshire

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now