UK

Fed-up headmaster tells ‘highly critical’ parents they should retrain as TEACHERS

Colin Dowland, headmaster of Woodridge Primary School in North Finchley, London, revealed that parents had been writing in to question teachers’ competence and tell them ‘how to do their jobs’

An angry headmaster has hit out at ‘highly critical’ parents in an acid-tongued letter are sent them a UCAS link to apply to become teachers.  

Colin Dowland, headmaster of Woodridge Primary School in North Finchley, London, revealed that parents had been writing in to question teachers’ competence and tell them ‘how to do their jobs’. 

All schools in Britain are now closed except for the children of key workers – with the majority of the country’s pupils now learning from home through online classes. 

In an update on remote learning Mr Dowland turned his wrath on critical parents, saying those who are unhappy and consider themselves to be ‘educational experts’ should consider signing up for teacher training themselves. 

Mr Dowland said parents can now message teachers directly, watch pre-recorded lessons, and comment on live lessons. He added: ‘I hope you have found this unprecedented access to teachers helpful.

‘However, a number of parents have taken advantage of this new access to send highly critical messages of advice to teachers about how to do their jobs and questioning their training, skills and competence.

‘Can I encourage all those particular parents, who now consider themselves to be educational experts, to sign up for teacher training at their earliest convenience.

‘There are never enough teachers and I suspect many will be leaving the profession after this year.’

In an update on home learning Mr Dowland turned his wrath on critical parents, saying those unhappy parents who considered themselves to be 'educational experts' should consider signing up for teacher training themselves

In an update on home learning Mr Dowland turned his wrath on critical parents, saying those unhappy parents who considered themselves to be ‘educational experts’ should consider signing up for teacher training themselves

Mr Dowland said he knew it was an ‘exceptionally difficult time’ for parents with home learning still relatively new for everyone involved.  

‘There are now a number of different access routes into teaching and I have included the UCAS link below which explains all the options,’ he wrote.

‘I will also update you if we have any teaching vacancies at Woodridge over the next few weeks, which if such messages continue, I am thoroughly expecting.’

The letter was leaked on Twitter by a fellow headteacher, where social media users congratulated Mr Dowland for taking a strong stand.

Teresa Ellis said: ‘Heartbreaking to read that your staff are under a constant Ofsted-style monitoring from families.

‘The stress on you and your teachers must be appalling.

‘You educated my children at your previous school and I still have a copy of the book you published.’

Susie Haslam Lund commented: ‘Crikey! You can feel the emotion coming from this headteacher can’t you?

‘He’s made his point very well.

‘It must be so utterly frustrating to have parents criticising his hard working staff.

‘Good on him.’

Celia Cross said: ‘Love it ! I’m saddened that in these times parents aren’t more supportive of teachers who are doing their absolute best under the circumstances.

‘Good for the author of the letter to make a stan.’

And a fellow headteacher in the North East commented: ‘Absolutely agree.

‘Why should our profession bend over backwards to be ‘nice’ when we are not afforded the same.

‘We should not have to worry about complaints or, heaven forbid, Ofsted shopping!’

Mr Dowland responded to the reaction on Twitter, saying: ‘I think this might have struck a chord.

‘I’m getting such lovely messages from colleagues from all over the country in my school inbox.

‘Clearly a national issue.’ 

Mr Dowland’s letter comes after another headteacher became an internet hit after she penned a heartfelt note telling parents they would ‘get through this together’ during the third lockdown

Sarah White, 40, was so moved by a conversation with a parent who had had a ‘really tough’ time during lockdown she decided to write the letter to say that it was ‘okay’.

The mother-of-two had only intended for her words to be read by parents at Coates Lane Primary school in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, but it has touched hearts across the country.

Sarah told parents how she was also a mother struggling under the current circumstances, and wrote: ‘If your child has had lots of microwave meals, stayed up too late, played too much on the Xbox and not finished all their school work – that’s okay.

‘We know our pupils are safe, loved and cared for and that is the most important thing at the moment.

‘We know that we’ve got high expectations here and we’ve set a lot of work each week.’


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