When minuses outnumber pluses

27th January 1995 at 00:00
Paul Fisher finds money is not everything as headships go unfilled in the wake of funding curbs and staff cuts. "There were four new sub-committees for buildings, finance, staff and curriculum. I said I'm not attending four more sets of meetings and do you know what one of the new governors said? He told me that I'd do what I was told."

At 52, Peter Wayth had had enough. For l7 years he had been head of St Andrew and St Francis, a Church of England primary in the London borough of Brent.

"I even used to yearn for the old days of the political governors," he says. "At least they knew how to conduct a meeting. They knew how to phrase things and they had an inkling of what they were talking about. I had nobody to turn to. We might have treated the advisers with contempt but I missed the informal support that used to come from the LEA."

Money became tighter and he had to sack a nursery teacher and a welfare assistant. "As a young teacher," he says, "I was keen to get back to work but I got to dread Mondays. I was doing l4-hour days and hating every minute. Once you get into negative mode, you've had it." Like every other primary head, he felt weighed down by legislation, although he concedes that changes had to come. "Our school was hopeless at science, we couldn't get the teachers interested, so by and large, we ignored it. It was right that that changed. "

But the minuses outnumbered the pluses. Eventually Mr Wayth "felt beaten by a mixture of governor power, parent power and staff power".

He took the early way out and is now back in harness doing supply work. "The only part of the job I really missed was the children. It's great to get back to proper classroom teaching.

"At 4 o'clock, I can look at the heads and giggle. When I've done my day's work, I know theirs is only just beginning."

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