Head's blog

The thoughts and observations of Richard Palmer, the Head of St Christopher School.

Friday 08 November 2013

Come on... toughen up

Taking leadership to gain the respect of your pupils

So, Head Teachers should ‘get tough’ says Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools. Apparently lack of discipline, under-achievement, lack of respect for authority, global warming (I made that last one up) are all as a result of weak leadership of teachers. Apparently this means that teachers are weak at leading children. Some of the comments in the Daily Mail online are hilarious. One suggests that teachers have even resorted to dressing like their pupils….

This really is most bizarre. Think about your best teacher. Regardless of how they taught did you respect them? The answer will be yes. Did you trust them? The answer will be yes. Now think about your worst teacher (and probably therefore the subject that you did least well in) and the opposite is probably true. Real education and learning takes place in an atmosphere of trust and respect. I’m not sure that anyone would argue with this, including Sir Michael who can be an argumentative and grumpy old Hector at times. What we probably do disagree on is how to generate that trust and respect.


  1. Working together

    Saturday 12 October 2013

    The pioneering ethos that founded St Chris remains at the centre of our approach to learning


  2. In a league of our own...

    Friday 23 August 2013

    Now that the annual ‘let’s bash GCSE exams and denigrate all that take them’ season is over for another year I thought that I’d pitch in with my views on League Tables (well, it’s been a while!).


  3. A Sound Investment

    Tuesday 14 May 2013

    As the exam season gets into full swing my mind turns once again to how we often fall into the trap of valuing only things that we can measure.


  4. The wrecking of childhood

    Thursday 14 March 2013

    I hope and pray that one day soon the children of Syria will be freed from their living hell and that, like our own children they too will be able to share in the joy of simply being a child.


  5. We're not all the same…

    Wednesday 06 February 2013

    I did not attend an independent school, I went to my local primary school, middle school and comprehensive Senior School.


  6. Mind your manners

    Thursday 17 January 2013

    Anthony Seldon, the Master of Wellington College was recently quoted as saying that all children should be given lessons in good manners, punctuality and tidiness amid fears that pupils are failing to develop character.


  7. Together

    Friday 07 December 2012

    Oliver is an extraordinary Musical in that when every number starts one realises that one knows it.


  8. Who will buy...

    Saturday 20 October 2012

    4 million children - one in three - are currently living in poverty in the UK, one of the highest rates in the industrialised world.