They’re the most senior person on the staff and usually the best paid but head teachers increasingly find themselves doing tasks you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the role – from catering manager, to odd-job person, to emergency social worker. The BBC reports.
To an extent, heads have always taken on extra tasks to save money or helped out in a crisis, according to Jim Nicholson, head of Mellor Primary School, in Stockport.
One basic example would be helping clear up sick if a child has vomited, he says.
“We’ve all rolled our sleeves up… because it’s just part and parcel of mucking in with our colleagues and doing what needs to be done in the immediate situation.”
But he says he is being taken away from the day job ever more frequently, blaming a squeezed budget and the increasing needs of children and families in austerity Britain.
For Mr Nicholson, one memorable extra-curricular job was laying the concrete floor of the new school bike shed.
Emily Proffitt, head of Tittensor First School, in Staffordshire, says she and her school cook were unhappy with the service from the company supplying the school. Being asked to cut portion size was the last straw, so, after much research, instead of paying £7,000 a year to an external company, they took “the very bold decision and risk” to bring catering in-house.
“And instead of paying out money, we are now actually more of a business and we’re looking to make money and try and top our budgets up,” says Ms Proffitt.
“I’ve done the tiling round the sink and, with my dad, we’ve replaced the cupboard doors and refitted the sink and the worktop… projects that would cost thousands of pounds if we got tradesmen in.”
She has been asked to step in as mediator when family relationships break down and to advise on how to access services in a crisis. “We’re not trained to do it… but there are less and less services available for people, so it makes it hard.”
If there’s a child with special educational needs or mental health issues “in meltdown in the foyer, you need somebody who can go to them and deal with it,” says Mr. Patrick Foley, head of Southborough Primary, in the outer London borough of Bromley,
“I can’t do my other stuff, I can’t do my paperwork or observe a lesson or meet with the local authority or analyse data.
“And that could be a commitment of hours and hours and hours of time sitting with a child.
“I’ve spent five hours in a day sitting playing Lego with a child because there was nobody else who could do that, which was great fun but really it’s not my job to do that you know.
“I’m quite an expensive play leader.”
Read the full article Seven unlikely jobs heads do besides running schools
What have you found yourself and other staff doing as well as teaching? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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