Dear all - advice on this appreciated...
I am due to start a position as HoD at a well respected, successful and well known girls' school in the south east after two straight-forward teaching posts at two other independent schools. I am delighted to have obtained the position. However, it has always been my ambition to scale the heights of SMT and to (eventually) become a Head. I have seen a number of excellent ambitious / careerist HoD colleagues fail to move beyond HoD despite inordinate numbers of applications and / or interviews. They have remained 'stuck' to their great frustration. Therefore, even though I haven't actually started the HoD job yet and am relishing the prospect of starting, does anyone 'in the know' have any advice on what to do (or at least what would help) to make sure that I can build towards an eventually successful application to SMT in the time ahead as HoD? I am aware that I do not have an Oxbridge background (Russell group inc. postgrad) nor did I go to an inde. school and I have seen this on several occasoin in inde. schools carry weight when arguably the candidate did not in terms of suitability for the position. However, that's a debate for another day.
Advice on what I guess could be called 'CV building' greatly appreciated. Please note this would be in an independent school as this is the direction that my career has gone in and will now remain...as far as anyone can predict the future!
Congratulations on your new job. The first focus will be to do well as a new head of department. To move on you will need some understanding of leadership and preferably some experience of whole school projects. You could look to do a MA in education at a Russell Group university as this might help with those governing bodies that are concerned about such matters. As you move up the leadership tree you will see that independent schools are very much businesses and how you relate to the customer is important to such schools. Some parents, and no doubt appointment panels, feel more comfortable with heads from a similar background. You just have to be able to convince them you can lead a successful school that can attract pupils. Start by doing this in your subject as a head of department.
These replies are incredibly helpful and thank you.
I really can't wait to get started, but it's just that I have seen excellent HoDs get stranded even though they are ambitious to get on and, as I'm younger than they are and am just about to start my first HoD position, I was keen to reflect on what it is that they had not done to move up to SMT and that I can make sure that I do so that in a couple of years time I don't have people saying you should have done x, y or z when you started. I think your advice has been excellent though and year 1 should probably just be about asserting status (in a positive way!) as a HoD with maybe an eye here and there for what else is around in a whole school capacity (ICT modernisation seems to be big in inde. schools at the mo as many realise that they are lagging behind).
Keeping my CPD up to date I assume is to keep atending those ultra pricey insets on things like leading departments, improving pass rates etc.
Innovative T and L...now there's a whole can of worms! I was on an ICT Steering Group at my last school involved in moving the school's use of ICT on and was asked to give a presentation about incorporating it into every day teaching...I got a very interesting mix of responses!
I'm on Twitter already, but was thinking about starting a purely school based one and encouraging the students to sign up with their school email addresses and follow the latest History and Politics information through Twitter. They can then also follow me on there, but it'll be purely school things. A separate one will be maintained elsewhere for more personal non-school you don't need to know I follow the local curry house type thing.
Top of page
TES Editorial © 2012 TSL Education Ltd. All pages of the Website are
reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit any material on the
Website for any commercial purposes. TSL Education Ltd Registered in England (No 02017289) at 26 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4HQ