Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Daventry Years (2)

During my time at Daventry Tertiary College the industrial relations “atmosphere” was never particularly happy. Indeed for much of the time it was fairly toxic and the reason for this isn’t hard to find. The college was always going to struggle financially because of external constraints (too few potential students in the catchment area) but also because of top-heavy management structure that had been agreed when the college was established.

Even if the Principal and the four Assistant Principals had been stunningly talented and universally admired and respected by the staff and the local community it would have been a major struggle to maintain the viability of the college. The college didn’t need five such expensive members of staff soaking up resources that could far better have been allocated to improving the quality of teaching and learning. Inspirational leadership – even if had been available – was never going to be a substitute for qualified and experienced teaching staff!
In reality the Senior Leadership Team were not “stunningly talented”. Three of the five seemed to have no relevant experience or qualifications in the areas in which they were supposed to provide leadership and so they sought to hide their ignorance under a veneer of macho management posturing.
Local politicians and the Governing Body (later the Corporation) were warned again and again of the inevitable consequences of the ill-conceived staffing structure that had been imposed on the college as part of some bizarre educational experiment in the west of Northamptonshire. Unfortunately they had staked so much of their personal credibility on making the project work that they were totally unreceptive to any views that differed from their own.

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