Pressure leads to bossier heads

8th October 1999 at 01:00
PRIMARY heads are under so much strain, they're getting more "directive" or, in common parlance, bossier say the authors of a new book.

Successive governments have loaded so much work onto heads, they find it difficult to share responsibility with senior colleagues, who are treated as "mere underlings".

The Cardiff University authors found that while schools embrace the idea of senior management teams sharing responsibility, pressure from Whitehall is having the opposite effect.

Faced with a whirlwind of change since 1988, heads have been retreating into a more "hierarchical" model of management.

While they might be tempted to give freedom to staff to express ideas or to operate as equals, pressure from the Office for Standards in Education and the Government means they are more inclined to play safe, says Mike Wallace, professor of education management at Cardiff.

"Senior staff find themselves becoming mere underlings doing their master's bidding," he said. "If you have strong accountability, then heads are going to play things close to their chest."

The findings are published in Senior Management Teams in Primary Schools: the Quest for Synergy by Routledge this week.

It includes four case studies showing how heads tried to run their schools more democratically despite government reforms. "The best solution was the head who operated most equally," says Professor Wallace. "The senior staff accepted her authority but understood that occasionally she would pull rank."

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

Comments

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