Heads alarmed at rise of employer 'bullying'


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The Independent Online

Headteachers will be drawing up a blacklist of poor employers after complaints about the use of bully-boy tactics to get rid of heads have soared through the roof.

Leaders of the National Association of Head Teachers will be drawing up a nationwide “ leadership compact” to be signed by both employers and headteachers to guarantee good employment practices in schools.

They will expect all local authorities and academy sponsors to sign up to it after it emerged the number of calls to the association’s hotline to help out stressed headteachers had doubled in the past year to 250.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “We will publicly endorse employers who join in this compact and, if necessary, we will warn about those who repeatedly violate it.”

The move follows figures which show primary schools are facing increasing difficulties in recruiting headteachers – with 26 per cent of the 261 schools who sought replacements failing to find them in 60 days compared to just 15 per cent the previous year.

Mr Hobby said he was concerned about the activities of government-appointed “academy brokers”  appointed to encourage schools to join the Government’s flagship scheme.  In an interview with the Independent, he said they were taking heads aside for “off-the-record” chats – saying their jobs would be safe if the volunteered for academy status now but could not be guaranteed if they hung on for another year.

Mr Hobby said local authorities who allowed such activities to go on could be amongst those named for violating the compact.

He added: “There have been many concerns , though, about how heads have been treated. This is not just about what we want from employers but what people have a right to expect from headteachers in return.”

The Department for Education has said any allegations of malpractice against academy brokers would be viewed seriously – but that they could be of vital assistance in helping schools switch to academy status.