Headteachers should not, and cannot, carry the burden of accountability alone

As Joni Mitchell said, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” – and I found out the truth of this very recently. To be precise, it was at 2am, on Friday, May the 11th, and I was sitting in the chair at my kitchen table where I had spent four or five nights a week, for months, trying to work out what else I could do to help the school get the outcome from Ofsted that our hardworking staff and students deserved. Vic Goddard, headteacher featured in Educating Essex and  author writes in Teachwire

At 2am on that Friday, though, I pushed my MacBook forward and said out loud, “Have a word with yourself, Victor.”

The truth is, this conversation with myself took place at the end of the long-dreaded inspection; and I simply hadn’t realised just how much it had been affecting me over the previous six months or so.

I had become fixated with the P8 score that put us closer to the floor target than anyone could be comfortable with. I knew we were working flat out to improve the situation, but I had lost sight of the amazing service that we provide for our community.

I know the leadership of Ofsted are working hard to convince us that the accountability system is flexible and mature enough to see beyond only the big data outcomes – and, being totally honest, everything that Sean Harford has been saying was indeed true of our inspection team.

They were human in their approach. They did get under the skin of the school. We were open and candid about our strengths and weaknesses and they agreed with us.

However, we’re not there yet. I think I am reasonably robust as a leader, but the waiting was not good for me. So many people have told me, since we were inspected, how worried they had been about me over the last few months.

They said that they tried to help but I never made them feel I wanted them to. So if that has happened to me I wonder how many of my colleagues are going through similar or worse as they await their ‘call’.

Read the full article Headteachers should not, and cannot, carry the burden of accountability alone

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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