Fake Headteacher: Under New Management – Newsletter No.15

Dear Staff,

As you know an academy chain, that is too big for its boots, took over the school in September and sacked the previous Fake Headteacher. I am sorry there wasn’t a chance for the parents, teachers or children to say goodbye.

As you know I have implemented a lot of changes since I was headhunted by the academy and placed in your school. They knew I had a reputation of destroying the morale of the staff. I am slowly moving up the ranks in the academy chain. I won’t be here long as I expect to be an academy director soon, overseeing several schools at once and enjoying £100k a year for the privilege.

The previous management focused too heavily on developing positive relationships with difficult parents and nurturing challenging pupils and not enough attention providing all day booster groups to improve the SATS scores. I have been informed that this is something I need to change.

A few weeks ago I carried out a mocksted. I understand you resented this; especially as ofsted do not recommend them. However, I needed to do it so I can prove my impact over time. I appreciate many of you were upset when I graded every lesson inadequate even though most of you have a history of good to outstanding teaching. Don’t worry because I said at the time 25% of you would be good by Christmas. I am pleased to say that 25% of you are indeed now good. By Easter, 50% of you will be good teachers again. Hopefully, you’ll be one of the lucky ones. If not, I will put you on a coaching program.

The academy are very pleased with me. I know you are still very upset with how transparent these ‘proof of impact’ tactics seem to be but that’s how it goes. You have to remember that the academy are in ‘requires improvement’ too so we have to show we are making good progress in improving the standards of teaching and learning.

Many of you resented being sent to other schools to watch teachers teach lessons that were not particularly special. But at least I can tick a box to show what strategies I have put in place to help you all improve. I apologise you had to spend two hours travelling to the school; it was the nearest school in the academy chain. We don’t have anything to do with our local schools now.

I also understand that many of you despise typing up daily A4 planning sheets for every lesson; each with three learning objectives. You said you felt like a student teacher again and felt patronised. You often complain about the excessive workload now being placed on you. But please understand it’s the best way I can prove my impact. It’s a very easy strategy for me to administer at your expense. Sorry.

Your lessons still need to be taught in the academy approved manner. It’s just an academy thing. One model fits all 345 schools, staff and pupils. It can feel a bit regimented with very little room for creativity and originality but it’s the only way. Sorry.

Book scrutinies will continue every week. I will use a long checklist to criticise your ability to teach. Progress over time will not be on my list. Instead, I will be looking for things I can easily measure such as typed up learning objective slips, use of highlighters and purple pens, regular next steps seen, peer comments etc. I am too scared to scrap the excessive marking policy to a more effective and less time consuming feedback policy that involves less marking. The list is too long to include here but I have stapled it to your white board so you can refer to it.

My  weekly learning walks have proved extremely popular with the academy as they provide me justification for implementing more policies and non-negotiables. They are a great way to prove my impact. I will pick holes in lots of things. By Easter, you will have all improved. Funny that.

Anybody on UPS should be warned. You will be on coaching programs first. The academy simply can’t afford you anymore. It’s much better if we weigh you down with excessive responsibilities with no time to carry them out. The aim is for you to burn out. Your well-being will be affected and you will hopefully leave. The academy are extremely keen for me to employ five new teachers this year. I can use the academy working model to mould them. They won’t know any different. Genius.

As you are aware, due to the scrapping of year 6 foundation subjects, excessive lunchtime and after school booster groups and two hours of homework set every night, our SATS results will almost certainly improve. The academy doesn’t really care about the stress levels of the children or staff. They only care about the data. They are under so much pressure. All being well, I will not be here in two years so it doesn’t really bother me.

Kind Regards

Fake Headteacher

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