How to achieve ‘Outstanding’ stress levels – Ten Tips for School Leaders

stressOur esteemed leader from OFSTED hit the headlines last week when he dismissed the stress of 2012 as being ‘inadequate’ when compared to the standards of stress he endured back in the 70s and 80s. He commented further, stating that schools where staff were not suitably stressed would ‘require improvement’ from September under new proposals.

Clearly this decline in standards in schools is highly regrettable and we must all work harder to ensure that the level of stress is increased immediately. My own 10 ‘top tips’  for making sure that stress levels reach ‘outstanding’ and move the UK beyond other nations in the PISA (the ‘S’ stands for, yes you’ve guessed it, stress) rankings are as follow:

  1. Introduce a ‘rapid response’ inspection regime that has no interest in the context of the school
  2. Judge schools in a rigid formulaic fashion, regardless of socio-economic background, so the leafy suburbs of Kent are equalled by the inner city poverty of our struggling conurbations
  3. Remove the vast majority of vocational courses from the curriculum to make sure that many disinterested  pupils are studying courses they have no interest in whatsoever
  4. After two years of pay freeze for staff, follow that with repeated increases in pension contributions so their take home pay drops rapidly
  5. Confuse mathematicians by suggesting that being ‘at the national average’ is only satisfactory,  ignoring the basic nature of an average which will ensure that half schools will be above and half below and that will be the case ad infinitum
  6. Keep making announcements on Radio 4 about policy instead of showing the courtesy of writing to headteachers first to allow them to plan and prepare
  7. Trash the morale of the profession on a weekly basis through repeated attacks via the media
  8. Encourage staff by making them fully aware that they can be sacked in the shortest possible time frame
  9. Make the role of the Headteacher so entirely precarious that no sane middle leader would take up the reins of a struggling school if they have a mortgage to pay or a family to feed
  10. Raise the retirement age to 68 – ah, but, if the above proposals are successful and stress reaches the national target of ‘outstanding’, perhaps 50 would be better? And a BUPA scheme thrown in!

(Readers may note that the ‘suggestions’ are strangely familiar…other reader ‘top tips’ to raise the stress benchmark to ‘outstanding’ will be gratefully received. )

Contributed by an under-stressed Headteacher who wishes to remain anonymous to avoid bringing his school’s ‘satisfactory’ stress levels to the attention of the inspectors.

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