The loneliness of the headteacher

25th February 2005 at 00:00
* I fully endorse the sentiments of your article "When headteachers disappear into the night", having recently left a headship myself.

Most heads have systems in place to ensure staff well-being and are available if there is a problem. But who does this for the head? Governors? The schools adviser? The local education authority?

In my experience, no one. This is particularly the case when the head is away from school on long-term absence, then has to leave without returning to the school. No contact; no support; no one to talk to. In my case I was grateful to my union and a few other colleagues for keeping in contact with me. But why should it get to that state?

Would it not be good PR, a boost for headteacher morale and financially good sense if all LEAs had a dedicated officer whose responsibility was "headteacher welfare"?

I'm not talking "adviser", whose job is different, comes with targets and is focused on school improvement, but someone who has a finger on the pulse of the well-being of headteachers.

And surely with the current difficulty recruiting headteachers, pastoral care of senior managers would make sense?

Dave Beck Ex-headteacher 25 Clent View Road Norton, Stourbridge West Midlands

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