Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Say Hello. Wave Goodbye.

So. Farewell, then. Our brave and orangey comrade. As one of the SLT quits Hampstead to go to pastures new, to be Head of Regent High School and hopefully make another group of kids slightly less miserable in their formative years, the school is left scrambling to fill a deputy headship place by the summer.

Despite the sour tones of the Head’s remarks in the job application pack, there were a great many oddities espoused in such a document, not least of which being the “2.8 Deputies and 3 Assistant Heads” the school currently has. Last time I checked, 0.8 of a person isn’t a person, unless one of the senior team is just some legs and a torso and no one has yet to notice. Or, perhaps, the school wants to make clear its equal opportunities for dwarves.

The Head also remarked that he wanted his management to join him in his “ambitious vision for the school as we become outstanding”, rather telling what with the last Ofsted inspection’s grave let down for him. We know other leaders have had an ‘ambitious vision’, but they normally involved the annexation of the Sudetenland. Readers will notice the frequency of the word ‘outstanding’ becoming more commonplace in school literature, as if they can somehow trick the inspector through exposure.

The Head said he would “need someone who will also have their own challenging ideas to contribute”. Bollocks to that, mate. We all know how the Head reacts to being challenged, and by his cohort no less. The last thing the Head will want will be anyone ‘challenging’ his grand ‘vision’.

Of course, he had to sign off with the phrase “a commitment to improving the life chances of all our students”, lest ye swear and doth write blogs.

The job description itself required candidates to be “totally enthusiastic and optimistic in your aspiration as to what is achievable”, as if one part of that sentence doesn’t slightly contradict the other, and “driven by moral purpose”, which obviously isn’t a criterion for a Hampstead headship. A lot of the criteria were meaningless jargon that combined buzzwords in ways that just about made grammatical sense, such as “To ensure vision ownership and engagement from staff”, however, under the “Marketing” section (because, apparently, a state school needs marketing) it asked for candidates “To actively promote the school and its corporate well-being at every single opportunity”. ‘Actively promote’ we will put to one side, as readers can try to imagine what passive promotion is, but it is funny that it asks to promote the school’s ‘corporate well-being’; not the students', the school’s corporate well-being. Something tells me the unwritten word here is 'defamation'. 

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