As many of you are aware the academic year 2016-17 was quite turbulent: with many staff changes, restructuring, re-designation, accreditation from Cambridge and new staff (myself included) arriving at Royal School.
We are currently in a process of change at the school – all designed to ensure that there is stability, continuity and development at the school. Staff members are undertaking CIE training in their respective subject areas, we have had quite an intense week of staff training, delivered in school over the 21-25 August period and, in general, things are looking quite rosy: our secondary department is beginning to flourish, student numbers are growing steadily on a daily basis and the general mood amongst the staff is positive and embracing the subtle changes which are afoot.
Whilst all of this is very positive news, as with most things in education there comes a darker element. The normal expectation of a school, on the International circuit, is to have a full cohort of teaching staff to deliver all areas of the curriculum as required – this is the case with Royal School. However, the reason I find myself writing this newsletter is in the interests of complete transparency and clear communication and, in this regard, it has become very apparent through information garnered from our teaching staff and outside sources, that there is a ‘project’ which is intent on not only approaching the teaching staff of Royal School but also attempting to poach the teaching staff for their own means.
In school and educational circuits in general, this is unheard of in such an open and seemingly punitive manner – particularly in the same city or town. It is considered to be immoral and unprofessional to adopt such an approach. It is not illegal but the damage which may be caused to both a school and the teacher can be profound. If a teacher opts to follow a tempting pathway to what might be perceived as greener pastures, and does so in the middle of a term, then this can have serious implications on the future career prospects of an individual – potential employers are likely to perceive the prospective teacher as being disloyal, dishonest, noncommittal and of questionable professional and moral fibre. On top of this, references will not be given in the future, for the incumbent school has the right to refuse such a request (one cannot write a negative reference but can politely refuse to offer one). As you can imagine, this can mean the professional death of a teacher and those who would make such an offer need to think long and hard about the effects of their ‘attractive’ offer.
From a school perspective, I state again that whilst this has happened and continues to happen in schools around the world, in professional circles this is behaviour unbefitting that of a school and school administration. The normal pathway is to approach the school Head and ask if she or he knows of a candidate for a particular role.
At Royal School we have fallen foul of such an unscrupulous approach to the majority of our teaching staff and measures are being taken to ensure the staff in situ remain with the school, wherever possible. However, it is feasible that during this period of settlement and development we will lose a small number of staff members. I stress here that it is the decision of the individual staff member whether to remain with Royal School or to leave and has nothing to do with the working conditions, development opportunities, pupils, parents or colleagues associated with Royal School.
I apologise for the nature of the newsletter this week but I felt it important for all members of our community to know and understand what was actually happening and to also reassure all of our parents that, regardless of whatever happens in the near future, the education of your children is, and will always be, at the heart of everything we do and we will continue to stabilise an amazing project and, where necessary, recruit fully qualified, experienced, tried and tested teaching staff members.
Should you or anyone you know associated with the Royal School feel the need for a further discussion on this topic then please do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and a meeting can be arranged.