So, why am I telling you all this? I have used up 184 of my 550 words to set up a rather flimsy parallel between the separate parts of a Viking’s life and the separate parts of your professional life (your day job and your membership of AHDS)…don’t worry, no need for swords or longboats!

All of you seek to be relentlessly professional. I am constantly impressed by the commitment members demonstrate to their school, staff, pupils and employers. This determination to do the best at all times can result in a can-do approach which leads to taking on too much or accepting too many things being added to your task list. This effect seems to have grown in the last period and I think it might be time for those of you not already doing so to ‘go on a Viking’ to challenge unrealistic expectations and workloads.

One example of potential workload pressures coming your way is set out on pages 14 and 15 of this edition. The implementation of the Donaldson Report could have a considerable impact on your workload – depending on how it is implemented in your area. Another such example is the local authority budgets recently unveiled around the country – when resources fall is it realistic to keep asking you to do more with less?

‘Going on a Viking’ as your local AHDS group means getting together to discuss the issues you face as school leaders and then robustly and constructively engaging with your local authority to ensure that apparent pressures are not simply overcome by unrealistic additions to your workload. This is my call to arms:


–          You can’t do this while operating in your day job, you need to take yourself out of that role and ‘go on a Viking’!

–          You can’t do this on your own. You need the strength of a local group.

–          If there is a local group in your area, get involved.

–          If there isn’t a local group, start one. You can get help from your AHDS Area Officer (see page 23).


Greg Dempster

General Secretary