A year in the life of the primary head teacher

2010-11-18T10:59:17Z (GMT) by Derek Lever
This study was conducted to establish patterns of Primary Head Teacher behaviour over a complete school year, including weekends and holidays. Certain aspects of the role of the Primary Headteacher were also investigated. Two Head Teachers kept diaries, recording daily the nature of activities being undertaken and the length and frequency of them. A group of 25 Head Teachers also participated by completing diaries for periods of 2 weeks each - at different times of the year. The diaries were analysed by classifying recorded activities against category criteria, which had been agreed and devised with the Head Teachers prior to the commencement of the project. The evidence, once interpreted and collated, was brought to the attention of the two principal respondents one year after their diaries had been completed to assess their response and seek their views. This was repeated after a further period of twelve months had elapsed. The study shows that Primary Head Teachers' behaviour is characterised by long hours spent on multifarious tasks and activities of varying importance, with frequent interruptions and often brief duration. One of the main diary keepers was an experienced Head Teacher, the other was beginning her first Headship, whilst the remaining Head Teachers had a range of experience. The total amounts of time devoted to school-related issues, the range of activities being undertaken and the frequency of activity change were remarkably similar for all Head Teachers. Head Teachers bring experience, knowledge, skills, beliefs, attitudes and values to their schools and attempt to recreate these in the hearts and minds of those associated with their schools.