I would like to think I am an experienced head MASTER (as I am continually addressed in my new school). I have led in four schools from special measures to outstanding. I have seen many of the things that headship throws at you from tragedy to  jubilation and I am still here… So, as I sat within the rather regal surroundings of a Somerset country house last week listening to my induction, why was it I suddenly felt SO daunted by the task in hand?

I am NOT a new head… I AM OLD PRIMARY HEAD! With the mind of an ancient sage and the heart of a mountain lion. Where I walk others follow. And yet speaker after speaker last week filled me with an impending sense of dread at the utter mind boggling enormity of the role a school leader takes on… I’ll try to paraphrase it.

A nice man from the LA spoke about LA structure. When I say LA structure I mean four passionate educationalists trying to strategically manage hundreds of diverse education establishments in a time of fracture and change. It’s as though the government have been fracking education for years and we have now realised that we need systems to hold us up but… ‘Opps’ – too late; the LA are ghosts on our periphery vision and their ethereal hands have no substance and can no longer hold us up.

After this a stream of people from Acronym Valley told us about headteacher well being (we need it apparently), support services (I gained FOUR new user names and passwords… JOY!), school funding (DOOM!!!), Safeguarding (MORE DOOM!!! I memorised the headteacher wellbeing number), ESafety and Information Management (I was dribbling a little by this point)… HR (DOOM and FEAR and DOOM!), Payrole (We get paid! Hurrah!), Learning and Achievement (What? We are accountable for learning? What is this learning you talk of?), Property and Admissions (Can.t … keep… eyes… open), Health and Safety (Noooooooooooo!!!!!! Nooooooooooo! Damn you! I want to sleep at night! Sleep! Sweet Jesus no MORE!)…

It is often said that headship is NOT a sprint, it is a marathon. Well, I feel it is more like a triathlon. A triathlon organised by the devil in which the swim is through shark infested waters, the bike ride is over the Sahara Desert and you have to run bare foot upon wasps for the final stretch whilst being whipped by evil clowns (Is this just my dream?)…and then start again the next day. Now, I am not sure if this is experience speaking but the new heads next to me seemed to take it all in. Was it just me? When I was a new head I stood in front of my colleges at a conference and asked the question, “When does a new head become an old head?” Maybe experience has taught me the roads I do not want to go down if I can avoid them. Maybe I am tired of the same battles? Maybe I am pacing myself? Maybe I want a quiet life?

NO, it is none of these things that fill me with dread. In case you are worrying (thank you for that @theprimaryhead) I am not about to implode, jump off a bridge, break down or lose it… In fact I have never felt more excited. My experience is telling me that these things COULD make me lose sight of the important thing. The learning within my school. The progress that children make, the daily experiences they have that are about their LEARNING. This is what I am about and there is SO much in headship that can rip you away from it. I really hope the new heads next to me did what I did during the induction. Take notice but dug deep into the heart of what they believed in when they were a teacher. Those moments in the classroom when you saw the power you have to make a real difference. I hope they see the power they now have to do that on a scale that burns away every doubt, fear or insecurity… There is much to worry about in headship but much of it is common sense and system led. We can not ignore it. But we must not let it drive the kind of heads we are…

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