When I started work, the headteacher stood behind their staff’s decision. When I started work, the headteacher was the last instance her employees could rely on. When I started work, the headteacher greeted you with a smile, no matter who you were.
In those years, children got booster lessons where they needed them. The “value added” to the school was sky high as a result of this. Behaviourwise, there wasn’t a policy for bullying – there was a culture of stamping out that sort of behaviour immediately instead. The paperwork was modelled from what was happening in the school already.
New head, new rules.
No more “removing barriers to learning”, everyone has to conform. Extra lessons have to be carved out of classwork time, giving the teachers and TAs even more of a workload when the lessons are already differentiated to at least 4 or more levels for every type of lesson.
No more support for teachers who are trying to handle behaviour in the classroom. No more backup when children with difficult behaviour get out of control. Instead, teachers get questioned as to whether they have “followed procedure”?! Said document, like many newly written policies, are beautifully phrased and have nothing to do with what is actually happening at school. As a result, bullying flourishes.
No more smiles and hellos for every member of staff, only teachers can get a greeting out of the head. It took the head 10 months to realise I existed and to start greeting me. A colleague of mine waited nearly 1 1/2 years for that privilege despite always greeting the head who just walked past her, completely ignoring her existence.
No more “We are a team”, “Can all staff pull together and jointly make Ofsted a success”. Instead: “Can staff and TAs please do this that or the other?” When one or two colleagues protested that TAs used to be part of the team, they were told to either like things the way things were being run now or go somewhere else to work! When TAs were left out of the loop in bigger decisions and found out information from parents who had been informed before members of staff – – – oh no, we were not part of the team any longer, were we. Well, why was I surprised and annoyed?
As the school I worked for has less than 100 pupils, everyone knows everyone which can create an almost homely feel and nurtures not just village children but also those with behaviour problems as the students are just so kind and caring, wanting to help these children adjust and learn to control their anger or deal with other issues. All TAs were always willing to put in more hours than necessary, mucking in when extra curricular activities demanded it.
Now, all the TAs – bar one – from the earlier years have left, feeling unappreciated and despondant.
I wish the school all the best and pray that the children will still find a nurturing environment at the end of the day, even with a head who is clearly just out to tick boxes for Ofsted…