It boasts of being the ‘friendliest school in Great Britain’ – thanks to a Friends Reunited survey showing it has the most former pupils still in touch.Sounds like a microcosm of any other small organisation, doesn’t it?
But according to angry staff, The Misbourne secondary school should be ranked among the most miserable because of the climate created by the headmaster and his lover, the deputy head.
Teachers held a series of clandestine pub meetings with union chiefs and the chairman of governors.How convenient…
In the dossiers, they complained that the relationship between the two people running the school had for years made it impossible to complain about their ‘dictatorial’ management, which staff claim led to growing numbers of resignations through stress.
Shortly after the dossiers were handed in, Mr Howard-Drake suddenly announced his retirement – and Mrs Bates, who lives with him, last week resigned and left teaching.
Staff said it was obvious they were lovers but nothing was done despite a county council rule banning ‘individuals in a close personal relationship’ from working closely together.Ah, yes. ‘One rule for them, quite another for us..’
Haven’t we heard that one before?
Among the dossiers’ allegations were claims that:These people were wasted as teachers, anyway. They need to get into politics, quick!
• ‘The head and deputy live together as man and wife and share the same authoritarian management style’.
• Staff were sometimes ‘refused permission to attend medical appointments and funerals’, but the head and deputy had been known to ‘take half days before a school holiday to facilitate holiday arrangements, and leave early to go away for the weekend’.
• ‘The head and deputy have a strict policy not to meet or talk to parents’.
• The head used ‘foul language’ while the deputy sometimes ‘berates staff in front of colleagues and students’.
• When Ofsted was due to visit, ‘all staff were warned not to speak to the inspectors’.
• Staff were told there was no training budget, but the head allegedly went on a course in America, and the deputy went on one in South Africa.
• The head refused to close the school when there was a rat infestation.