Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

Centre Director Scenarios – Questions

Another management training aid aimed at summer schools based on inductions I used to give as Academic consultant at Bede’s where I spent 5 summers in the role of Centre Director. A few of these overlap the Academic Manager Scenarios but most are the unique remit of the lucky Centre Director. You’ll notice most of the problems are about managing the staff not the students!

These scenarios can form the basis of a staff training session (allow more than an hour) or, if you’re heading for summer school as Centre Director, think about them by yourself. Not all schools have brilliant training. Good luck!

In printable format (2 pages): Centre Director Scenarios

What would you do if …?


  • Another manager undermines you in front of other staff and questions your decisions.
  • On arrival at the centre you start getting some bad vibes from one of the other managers. As the weeks go on you realised you almost never see them during the day and when they end their shift you don’t see them either. There’s starting to be an uncomfortable atmosphere.
  • There is a disagreement between other managers and it’s clear they don’t get on well with each other.
  • Some staff refuse to wear shoes while working.
  • Staff want to use the pool when they’re off shift.
  • Staff are having a morale and energy dip a few weeks before the end of the summer school.
  • You suspect a staff member was drunk on returning from their day off during their last week. You were not witness to what happened but you were told by another member of staff.
  • It’s time to let a couple of staff go as the numbers are dropping and contracts are not for the full term. There is the possibility of work at one of the other centres which are different age groups to yours. You have the usual range of staff, some very strong, some weaker, some very well liked and great additions to the staff atmosphere, some quieter and keep themselves to themselves. How do you make your decision?
  • One of the staff you’ve chosen to let go doesn’t take it very well and demands to know why.
  • Some of the staff go out to the pub one night and one gets really drunk and behaves offensively/aggressively towards you or someone else. It’s their day off the next day so they don’t return to school drunk. Do you need to do anything?
  • A staff member leaves in the middle of the night and you realise at breakfast.


  • Your petty cash or student pocket money is way off what the computer is telling you when you have a count up.
  • Staff are requesting days off to go to weddings or graduations. You’ve said yes to the first person.
  • After week 3, you find you’ve not got as much work to do and are twiddling your thumbs a bit.
  • A student wants £1000 of their pocket money to go to a. London b. a theme park c. an evening excursion to a pier or similar.

Airport transfers

  • A taxi/bus/minibus doesn’t turn up to do one of your transfers, either arrival or departures.
  • You haven’t passed on the right UM (unaccompanied minor) information to the person picking up a child from the airport and now they’re at the airport and having problems being checked in for their flight. The staff calls you and doesn’t know what to do.


  • Students come to you and say someone has been stealing from their room and their iPad etc. has gone.
  • A parent is calling and insisting their child sees a doctor. The child only has a cold.
  • One of the students gets drunk when they’re offsite.
  • Two of the students are caught having sex on the grounds. Assume they are a. underage b. overage in their own country c. overage in the UK and think about each case.
  • A students sleepwalks to the point they can get themselves out of the building.

Host school

  • The Head at your host school is upset with the way the children are behaving e.g. too loud, in places they shouldn’t be, damaging property etc.
  • The cleaners come to you saying the toilets are disgusting. Assume “disgusting” means a. within the realms of normal human toilet use b. within another culture’s realms of normal human toilet use c. outside all realms of normal human toilet use (Yep! ‘Fraid this happens!)
  • The school isn’t being locked up properly at night. You don’t know if it’s your staff coming and going after lock-up or host school live-in staff.

I can come and train your managers for summer school with an additional session similar to this for Academic Managers. Strictly speaking I am on maternity leave right now but if you’re in the Madrid or Barcelona area I can squeeze in a few hours. The UK, well … maybe! Contact me and we’ll see if I can do it. Next year, I’ll definitely be free. I was Centre Director at the “wildcard” inspection visit centre during the  British Council inspection. My centre aced the inspection, there wasn’t anything to improve upon for another year and I was personally commended for the “inspiring” induction by a teacher in the focus group. Contact me here.


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This entry was posted on June 26, 2015 by in Summer School and tagged , , , , .
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