Suburban myth of the "bullied" rector

12th September 2003 at 01:00
It seems a new suburban myth is being propagated through your columns - that of the "bullied headteacher" (TESS, August 22).

Given the powers of patronage available to the modern headteacher, which include a praetorian guard of largely non-teaching deputes, it is difficult to lend any credence to the image of a beleaguered headteacher whose writ runs no farther than the corridor outside his office - the more so since the present-day Scottish staffroom is a sea of middle-aged conformity not prone to insurrection.

Indeed it is arguable that managing teaching staff, the majority of whom are female and traditionally more likely to seek consensus, has never been easier. Temporary contracts and appraisal for life have drawn the teeth from any prospective young turks. And all this when the financial rewards for headship have never been greater.

The bullied headteacher's lament sounds very similar to that of the staffroom bore - the class teacher whose classes are uniquely awkward but who would be succeeding manfully were it not for a lack of "back-up" from management.

Take all this with a pinch of salt along with the "democratic process which put the head in post". I have worked under five headteachers and neither I nor any pupil ever voted for one of them.

Ewan Chalmers

Balgeddie Gardens


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