YOU ARE NOT ALONE … In your office no one can hear you scream!


Knock, Knock.

‘Come in…’

Having been a headteacher for two years, I feel able to say how lonely the job can be sometimes. A lot  of those moments last year were when the DfE or Local Authority dropped some new-found  horror on you. At times it felt almost daily.  Challenges came flying at schools so regularly, it’s no wonder that headship recruitment is becoming a massive challenge especially in the primary sector.   Every-time the feeling of helplessness was almost overwhelming.

All the time as a head I had to consider the impact this could have on my staff. My job was to be the ‘Crap umbrella’ to deflect the worst from staff and let them get on with doing their job, the most important job in the school…teaching. I think last year I did an alright job at this given all the chaos. We just got on.

In terms of me there were lots of points that were hard.

It often felt that I was


That I was on my own with nowhere to go and often know one to talk to about it. I become so wrapped up into trying to keep my school on an even keel that I forget to look outside.

fortunately I then had a moment…an accidental moment admittedly…but still a moment.

The Local Authority asked us for prediction data for KS2, this was about two weeks after the writing framework and the exemplification dropped. I had one of my silent screams, then I decided to email the local authority with my concerns.


After this I felt a bit better and left it at that.

Now this is a cautionary tale. I would like to warn anybody sending an email to make sure that they don’t click reply all. Always check who you’re sending that email to.

Ten minutes after sending the email my deputy called me into the office…replies-1replies-2replies-3replies-4replies-5replies-6

My computer was running overtime. Smoke was coming out the back. The Whitby internet hamster was running his little legs off. (Our internet is powered by hamster…fact)

I sat and watched as all the heads sat in their offices, breathed out and shouted at the same time.  It felt cathartic and brilliant and for a brief moment I felt supported. Equally it made a difference. We didn’t send pointless nonsense data in. Following the tests I can assure any predictions I might have made would have been quite wide of the mark.

So why am I writing this?

Well really just  to say to others out-there not to forget that  you are not on your own even if it feels that way.

Whatever challenges you may face, there are lots of us in the same boat. We all have the same worries and I know we’re all trying to get it right,

So as I sit and look at the writing framework and scream, I know now there are a hundred Headteachers doing exactly the same. It helps to think that, honestly it does.


‘That’s it  please shut the door when you leave….’




7 thoughts on “YOU ARE NOT ALONE … In your office no one can hear you scream!

  1. Totally understand the sentiments and anxieties expressed, Simon. I must admit that I have started to think less about me being the defender of all other staff in school, although that remains necessary in filtering and dividing the absolute absolute rubbish from the absolute rubbish from the rubbish we are subject to. Rather, I am working more on the WHY, and we work on that together. After that the HOW, and how we can get better at getting better at that. As for the numbers stuff. I have spent the last 5 years imploring LA visitors (e.g. school ‘improvement’ partners) not to sit talking data with me but to spend a day in the classrooms, sharing the learning experience with teachers and pupils alike. One of them did, a couple of months back. First bit of feedback? “By, you’ve got some very skilful teachers in this school.” “I know,” I said. I am beginning to realise that the perfect antidote to the loneliness of the office is the buzz of the learning spaces. I sense you totally get that anyway.
    I enjoyed reading and thinking on this – thank you.
    Simon Feasey


  2. Thanks for posting this – I really enjoyed reading it, especially the torrent of support which poured back to you.
    It felt like the beginnings of a revolution for a moment there …
    Keep going and please keep sharing!
    Take care


  3. Really interesting to read, Simon. I think it illustrates a number of things – the power of collaboration, the importance of being open and honest in our communication (which we can still do while remaining calm and professional, as you were here) and the need for the right balance of support and challenge for heads. I think all heads should have individual coaches – it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take a huge amount of time, but a regular conversation with a detached but interested professional who can help us to clarify our thinking, talk through experiences (challenges and successes) and reflect on and process our learning would help heads to feel less isolated and might make headship more palatable for future generations.

    Very best wishes for 2017.


    • I agree with all that you said. I had an absolutely fantastic mentor-head. I have cried, sworn quite a bit and laughed with her. Ultimately she coached me brilliantly to my own solutions.

      without her I wouldn’t have made it through some of the really tricky bits.


  4. Pingback: Getting rid of staff isn’t the answer…TES article archive #3 | Being Brave! a first time headteachers blog.

  5. Pingback: What I learnt from picturebooks…My Top 10 tips for leading a school. | Being Brave! a first time headteachers blog.

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