October 2010

The know zone

  • Who's the boss?
    A disciplinary issue involving a school leader highlights important questions about the respective legal responsibilities of governors and local authorities, says Richard Bird. More
  • Your number's up...
    While no one likes to consider the prospect of redundancy, there are measures you can take to ensure that your finances are in the best possible state should the worst happen. More
  • Recipe for success
    Sam Ellis invites ASCL members to submit their own data and experiences to help provide the coalition government with expert guidance as it cooks up new ideas for education. More
  • Personnel shopper
    After working in transport, retail and local government, Tracy Nash is now personnel manager at Horbury School in Wakefield and a training consultant for ASCL. A food and wine enthusiast, she and her friends recently staged their own version of the TV show Come Dine with Me. More
  • The great call of China
    The British Council is inviting students to enter a Mandarin speaking competition and schools to apply for funding to develop partnerships between China and the UK. More
  • Lost in translation?
    The government is reviewing the teaching of languages in schools following a continued decline in the numbers taking modern foreign languages at GCSE. So what should be the future for languages in schools? More
  • Friends, romans, citizens... lend me your presentation techniques
    LEADERSí SURGERY: The antidote to common leadership conundrums... More
  • Filing down bureaucracy
    Proposals to reduce bureaucracy were at the centre of debate at ASCLís September Council meeting, as was ensuring fairness for all in the education system as the academies programme begins to gather steam. More
  • To 'B' or not to 'B'?
    While the Secretary of Stateís announcement of an English Baccalaureate could have signalled a move towards a broader, freer curriculum, the current proposal is a performance measure rather than a new qualification, says Brian Lightman. More
  • Band on the Run
    Leaders of schools and colleges have a lot in common with leaders of rock and roll bands, says Ziggy Flop, just not the sex, drugs and rockíníroll. More
  • Lead vocals
    Quotes from John Fogerty, Robert Yates, Teddy Roosevelt and Rosalyn Carter. More
  • Engaging with all students
    Many teachers have taught year 11 pupils who fail to engage in learning or are consistently disruptive in class. More
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After working in transport, retail and local government, Tracy Nash is now personnel manager at Horbury School in Wakefield and a training consultant for ASCL. A food and wine enthusiast, she and her friends recently staged their own version of the TV show Come Dine with Me.

Personnel shopper

Arenít personnel managers rare in schools?

Schools are recognising that itís an important function in its own right rather than something thatís simply bolted on to the assistant headteacher role. We also have a business manager and ICT manager and all three of us sit on every SLT meeting.

What does the job entail?

As an HR practitioner, itís a policing role and a monitoring role. You have to ensure people are trained and understand the HR policies for sickness, discipline and performance management but also the school policies on homework, literacy and numeracy SEN. You are a kind of enforcer.

But equally, if thereís a Ďpeopleí problem, you have to use judgment and look at individual circumstances. You canít just apply a policy.

I also oversee the CPD budget and feel I need to lead by example in terms of trying to enhance my own practice, so Iím aiming to do a masters in HR next year.

When I first started in 2006, I managed the sickness absence of all staff. Our middle leaders are now fully trained and manage effectively their own teams. I facilitate the data, provide guidance where needed and become involved with long-term or difficult cases.

You worked for the supermarket chain, Morrisons; did you do time on the check-out?

Retail was a challenge but I loved working for WM Morrison which rewarded well those who worked hard. I have always felt that if you can succeed in retail you can work anywhere. I began at the Pontefract store as a lowly personnel and payroll clerk and was promoted to head office after two years and held a variety of different roles.

But, yes, I did my stint on the shopfloor, too. When we were short-staffed, I would spend half an hour on the check-out during peak times; every Christmas, the company made sure all head office directors and staff went back out into shop for a week to show their support. One year I did wines and spirits Ė back-breaking work!

Sometimes, the school reminds me of those days; before all the customers arrived the store would be clean and lovely with everything perfect, a bit like before all the students arrive. The general store manager is a bit like a headteacher, both with deputies. At Morrisons, the regional directors checked up on all the supermarkets in the manner of Ofsted inspectors.

Did you win your version of Come Dine With Me?

For our second round, we had an international theme and I was given France. My French onion soup was too pale and my coq au vin too red and the whole thing was a disaster. I really wanted Mexico.


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