Friday, 19 September 2014

How the Pinter got its Head

Weinberg YHS Appointment, Minutes

Having dealt extensively with the anointment of Rivky Weinberg (née Pinter) as Headteacher of Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School it is time to take a closer look at the formalities the school adopted for the process. Famous for its adherence to the letter and spirit of the law, it was a certainty from the start that YHS's selection and anointment process would be entirely above board. But to scotch any doubt we now have the minutes of the meetings of the governing body relating to the appointment (above) to prove the point.

To save you wading through the deliberations, and having to follow Pinter as he moves in and out of the meeting, let me summarise for you the proceedings in what I hope will be a few brief paragraphs.

Mrs Pinter passed away on 12 March of this year and on 18 March 2014 the Governing Body headed by the Adath Burial Society trustee, Tony Bibleman, met to consider the appointment of a new Headteacher. At this very early stage they're already talking of advertising for a replacement 'worldwide', presumably because having interred so many bodies the Chair knows all too well what a rotten crop of educators London has to offer. The Governors are also very concerned about the advert being drafted in accordance with the 'hushcoffa' (sic) of the school. (Making a hush about the coffers is a rather sad pun so let's drop that one.)

Who ever knew that there existed hashkofes on job adverts but thanks to Yesodey Hatorah we are enlightened. We now know that while a hashkofe-compliant ad requires no mention of qualifications or experience as a prerequisite for the job, repeated mention of the former headteacher with a Pinter surname is a must.

A governor also suggested the need for the new Head to be proficient in Yiddish despite the fact that Yiddish is rarely if ever heard in the classrooms of that school. Since the need for Yiddish didn't make it through to the adverts we must take it that the school's lawyers vetoed that one. Nice try, though, and a shame too as it would have narrowed the field even further.

Adverts are duly published around the end of April in the Hamodia and Jewish Tribune and on 13 May 2014 the Governing Body chaired by the Undertaker convenes again. The governors are at a loss that the advert has produced only a 'handful of enquiries' and so they come up with a wheeze: include a photo of the school. Show the world the fortress and gates which are so good at keeping out undesirables and applicants will come flocking in their droves. No one as much as mentions that tinkering with the text of the advert might increase interest, assuming that was their aim, and instead it is proposed -and seconded- that the Undertaker and the Acting Head would put their heads together to find a hashkofe-compliant photograph for the ad. What a relief.

There was another slight problem, as the clerk pointed out, that a Headteacher for a maintained school must be qualified and preferably hold the NPQH. Once again the Undertaker comes to the rescue. Could she not be trained up, he ponders aloud. L'man Hashem, don't mention any such requirements in the advert, it's only a photo that the wretched ad needs and the qualification will follow after. (It now turns out that Weinberg (née Pinter), who is not qualified, has undertaken to acquire the necessary qualifications, which just goes to show how prescient a Chair the Undertaker is. I too am thinking of applying to fill the empty chair on the UOHC Rabbinate on the basis that I’ll 'train up' later.)

But hang on there, there is a far greater problem and which could lead to a serious breach of the peace. In a hitherto unheard of spontaneous outbreak of Pinter fervour 'well over 60 parents' wrote to the Chair/Undertaker demanding Mrs Weinberg as Head Teacher.

I urge you to stop here and pause for a moment. The school has barely started advertising for a new Head, at this stage there has been no mention whatsoever of the appointment process to parents, let alone proposing to them a choice of candidates, and their views have not been canvassed in any shape or form. Yet out of the blue not half a dozen, not two dozen, but well over 60 parents are writing unsolicited letters urging the school to appoint an inexperienced and unqualified candidate who’s been living aboroad for the last decade or so and who just happens to be Pinter's daughter. I have always been an an admirer and an avid reader of Weinberg’s peerless column and I have never harboured any doubt about her remarkable abilities but still this clamour for her Headship has left me flummoxed.

Naturally, and perfectly in line with the famed humility of her family, Weinberg didn't even want the job and 'would not apply.' However, if you took the trouble to ask her, and as an absolute b'dieved, and maybe if you threw in £90,000 per annum and, between you and me, some relocation costs she might just consider the position. Assuming of course that the stains on the wallpaper have all come out by then and the carpet has covered up all that unsightly rot so that she can clear her previous desk.

And so in order to keep the mob from storming the bastille and install their desired candidate, Pinter himself, aka daddy to Wienberg, reluctantly agreed to 'be involved in briefing prospective candidates.' A perfectly logical decision since as we've just heard, Weinberg didn't really want the job anyway.

This, my friends, is how we come to the further meeting of 17 June 2014 when the Head of Hackney Learning Trust (HLT), Tricia Okoruwa and Head of Secondary Schools at HLT, Martin Buck, come along to rubber stamp the process that will in due course confirm Weinberg's anointment. Pinter was not present when the selection committee was formed and with a Governing Body to do his bidding he could well afford to take a break. And avoid any conflict of interest, of course.

Anyway, returning to the meeting, fine words were exchanged, the Undertaker lamented that they had only 2 applications and Mr Buck told the governors that 3 adverts 'demonstrated that they were serious about making an appointment for the best candidate and were not just looking on the doorstep of the school.' As if to prove that point Weinberg/Pinter was duly imported from some 2000 miles away. Even a cynic like me can't call that on the doorstep, can I?

As to where the Buck stops (sorry, but another bad pun) 'Mrs Okowuro (sic) and Mr Buck left the meeting and Rabbi Pinter returned.'

It hardly needs repeating that Weinberg (née Pinter) was duly appointed and let us reflect on the size of the fish-head Weinberg consumed last year Rosh Hashone and over which she sniffled the Yehi Rotzoin to become a Head and not a household tipster. Her prayers have boruch hashem not gone astray and as we say in Yiddish, when a fish stinks it stinks from the very Head. And occasionally from the Principal too.

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8 Comments:

At 21 September 2014 at 00:55 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole appointment stinks.

 
At 21 September 2014 at 08:14 , Anonymous Relocation costs, How much £?? said...

Can the government not do something with this abuse of public funds?

Also I wonder about the "relocation" costs!
Does anyone know how much? Did they buy her a house? Are they paying the mortgage?

 
At 21 September 2014 at 12:55 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its comical how you dramatically paint the picture yet most YHS parents couldn't give a damn. No one knows that Bibelman is trustee and they don't even know who he is. As m Posen wrote in Ami this week there is no one left who wears a hat on shabbes. The new generation have no connection to the old fashioned fogies. The 90k salary doesn't cost the parents a penny as there are no fees. Mrs Weinberg may not be a Maggie thatcher but for our girls requirements she fits the bill. Askunim are always criticized whatever they do and where SH dare to tread gg won't get there toes wet. Yhs is a true jewel in the crown.

 
At 21 September 2014 at 14:03 , Anonymous Sholem said...

Anonymous - can you clarify your views, please? Do you think the process by which Weinberg was appointed was fair and open? What justification is there for it not having been so? If she isn't the best possible candidate for the position, why would you not have a problem with her being shoved in through the back door?

 
At 21 September 2014 at 19:37 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sholem - I am honored you are interested in my views. It is irrelevant whether the process was fair or justified. Whats relevant is that the girls and their parents are satisfied. I am not sure what planet you are on but this universe is unfair. Mr Putin's annexation of Crimea is not fair. Assad still being in power is not fair. Palestinian flags waving from local council buildings is unfair. The Scots who lost the referendum are not to happy either. Very little is fair! Besides, just because its unfair that Pinter got what he wanted does not mean its the wrong thing, as mentioned most parents could'nt care less and thats the main thing. The UK is a Malchus Shel Chessed and we are lucky to have a state funded orthodox school where they relatively let us get on with our 'Hushcoffa' unlike in Belgium where they have big problems.So fair or justified I dont know but its certainly the bottom of the list of grievances in the larger scheme of things.

 
At 21 September 2014 at 22:00 , Anonymous thinker said...

Anonymous 19:37

Why is Putin's maarocho against Ukraine unfair. Study a bit of 1941 to 1944 history and you'll see what I mean.
The reason I mention this is to remind you that Yesh din veyesh dayan (most appropriate for this season) or put another way; payday ALWAYS comes. As it will to all those who have done "unfair" things.
Sometimes it just takes longer. The Lord's mill grinds slowly but it grinds extremely fine and every grain is perfect.

 
At 21 September 2014 at 22:46 , Anonymous Adam said...

Anonymous - you seem to have forgotten that yiddishkeit is about "tzedek tzedek tirdof" not the law of the jungle. It says a lot about Stamford Hill that many seem to be of a like mind.

 
At 22 September 2014 at 13:06 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oish "tzedek tzedek tirdof"

thats a good one.

In GG they are so busy with this they forget about everything else.












 

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