14th March 2008 at 00:00
The new headteacher at our small rural primary has asked all staff and pupils to address her by her first name. This breaks a long-held tradition and staff are concerned. We don't want to follow suit. How does this work in other schools?

Helen, Lincolnshire

A: Attitudes are generally changing and we live in a less formal society - just look at how call centre staff immediately call you by your first name, as if you have been a friend for life rather than someone who is paying their wages.

Some will feel comfortable and others uneasy when a venerable office-holder such as a head elects to be known by their first name. Many CEOs of big companies are also on a first-name basis with one and all. It's "progress", I guess.

Graham, Crowborough

A: We live in an age when everyone is everyone else's best mate. I suppose it was only a matter of time before heads became known by their first name.

This will inevitably be followed by the shortened version of the name, then morph into a nickname.

Quite what dignity will be sacrificed in this process is a matter of opinion. But I think you can guess mine.

Richard, West Sussex

A: It sounds as though you are not just in a rural area but in a time-warp. If the head wants to be known by her first name, then why not? Your natural sense of deference to authority should ensure her wishes will be respected.

She sounds to me like a breath of fresh air - and possibly just what the school needs.

Margaret, East Sussex


Q: I teach Reception and Year 1 and I feel like I am constantly neglecting one or the other. I have support only three mornings a week. Without support, I find it impossible to let pupils have access to the outdoor area as there is no one to supervise. How does anyone else manage?

Q: How many teachers stay in touch with pupils once they leave their school? When I left school, a few of us frequently met up with some of our A-level teachers when we came home from university or college to catch up. Can you be friends with former pupils?

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