chapter  6
23 Pages

Managing marginality: aspects of the career of a primary school head

ByPeter Woods

So far, the analysis has been, on the whole, optimistic in terms of teachers achieving their aims in education. However, many teachers have been frustrated and alienated by the changes. Cusack (1993, p. 7) is 'almost scared to do anything creative in case I fall foul of the law'. Some have felt compelled to leave the profession (see, for example, Anon, 1993; Jarvis, 1993). These have been among what many would regard as the best teachers. As Fullan (1992, p. 121) observes:

Intensification-type reforms focusing on narrowly defined and imposed curriculum and teacher competencies repel good people from entering and/or staying. Bureaucratic reforms may be able to guarantee minimal performance, but not excellence in teaching.

One such teacher was Peter, who has decided to take early retirement from his position as a primary school head several years earlier than he would have wished. This chapter tells his story.