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A 29 year old inexperienced Deputy Headteacher...fresh ideas or a big mistake?

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by cleproy, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. I am currently part of the SMT at a East London Secondary School. I have been an Assistant Head for two years and have been a Head of Faculty (Maths) for six years before this. In September a new Headteacher began. He has brought the school from Special Measures to Satisfactory and has now restructured SMT. In this restructure, he has re-employed three of the four Assistant Heads and one of the current Deputy Heads is remaining. The other is retiring. After open interviews, he failed to shortlist any internal applicants and has opted for a 29 year old as his Deputy Head. This man has never been an Assistant Head and has only previously been a Head of Dept (Humanities) for two years. How on earth can somebody with such little experience have the required skill set for this role? How can the board of governors have managed to be so blinded. This new Deputy who does seem intelligent and has enormous amounts of presence already (and ideas), has only been teaching for 6 years having worked in recruitment previously... is this the youngest most inexperienced Deputy in the land? Frustrated.
     
  2. I am currently part of the SMT at a East London Secondary School. I have been an Assistant Head for two years and have been a Head of Faculty (Maths) for six years before this. In September a new Headteacher began. He has brought the school from Special Measures to Satisfactory and has now restructured SMT. In this restructure, he has re-employed three of the four Assistant Heads and one of the current Deputy Heads is remaining. The other is retiring. After open interviews, he failed to shortlist any internal applicants and has opted for a 29 year old as his Deputy Head. This man has never been an Assistant Head and has only previously been a Head of Dept (Humanities) for two years. How on earth can somebody with such little experience have the required skill set for this role? How can the board of governors have managed to be so blinded. This new Deputy who does seem intelligent and has enormous amounts of presence already (and ideas), has only been teaching for 6 years having worked in recruitment previously... is this the youngest most inexperienced Deputy in the land? Frustrated.
     
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Not even close. There is a long-running thread somewhere on TES (might be this forum) called something like 'Youngest ever deputy?' and so far the winner is no more than 26 and there might even be a 25 year old. Granted, these are usually in primary, but it's not unknown for someone in their 20s to be appointed to a deputy headship in secondary.
    Is it too young? For most people, yes. Ideas, enthusiasm, charisma, whatever cannot - in most cases - make up for the lack of practical experience at managing people and (most crucially) situations that can go 'nuclear' if not handled properly.
    But having said 'For most people', I cannot rule out the occasional individuals who do manage to make a good job of it even at a very young age. I know of one such person - appointed to deputy headship within 5 years of starting teaching, acting up to headship two years later (because that's one of the biggest issues - with all your ideas, enthusiasm and charisma, are you a fit person to be head if the head is hit by a metaphorical bus?), made permanent head within months and now principal of a large and difficult academy. He's still younger than msost people are when they get their first headship.
    I was deputy at 34 and ready for it, after 4 years as AHT. I was a head 3 years later and it was too young - for me, frankly, but not for this person I was talking about above, who was made a head several years younger.
     
  4. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    Agree with you that there is no alternative to experience.
    Please be careful that you may have given too much information about where you work. Would only take a few minutes to actually follow your clues.
    Some HT's can be really vindictive!

     
  5. Exactly what I was thinking! Let's hope the OP doesn't find his/her job being 'restructured'.
     
  6. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    Within a large SMT there is more scope to help the new person move into their position, and depending on the context of what their role is they may not encounter certain 'tricky' scenarios.
     
  7. Couldn't agree more! In the private sector 29 would be a very normal age for an ambitious and capable person to get a senior management position. This guy has worked in recruitment prior to teaching, so probably has additional experience of managing different targets, potentially managing staff, dealing at length with external contacts/clients/suppliers etc. The OP doesn't seem to have said anything negative about the new DH other than his age. He says he has energy, ideas, enthusiasm etc.
    If you have 5 years of experience in the same role, it is not necessarily 5 years' experience, it is 5 times the same experiences. Shorter stints in a variety of roles can give you a far greater breadth of experiences compared to doing the same role for 10 years.
    It is about what you have learnt in the time you have done things, and what you can bring to the role. Sounds like the OP is just disgruntled at not being given the post over someone younger.
     
  8. Not at all bitter towards him; I wish himwell and think he lust have heaps of potential and from what I have seen so far he does... perhaps there is an element of dissapointment on my behalf... Re: in private industry it would be a normal age; I guess so.
     
  9. Perhaps try and put this into perspective and a long term view. Don't measure your own considerable achievements next to this person. You have a lot of experience and expertise which they will admire and require as part of a successful team. There is always someone younger with new and unique talent seemingly coming up behind us all. That's life.
     
  10. jermar

    jermar New commenter

    We all rise to the level of our incompetence!
     
  11. jermar

    jermar New commenter

    Consider why they want to move up so quickly. Desparate to get out of the classroom!
    I have a solution to this!
    I have been wondering what people think about the following. After 17 years of teaching here and abroad, and time in SMT/SLT, I have come to the conclusion that it would be great for all concerned to have all inspectors and SMT/SLT to have a year as a classroom teacher every 5-7 years (they can still keep there pay!). There are a multitude of reasons of which most should be obvious!
    The best analogy I could think of was after having my second child. I had memories of the things we went through with my first but the day to day reality and the memories were miles apart. There is only 2 years between them. I remember asking colleagues for advice with my first and they struggled. I thought the memories would be so vivid but other important things take over apparently.
    This appears to be evident in schools too.
    SLT/SMT work incredibly hard but sometimes need that reminder. The boss needs to go back to the shop floor sometimes to enable understanding and then get the best out of the workforce!

    I am more than happy to accept this may be impossible but would make for an interesting trial, especially if inspectors had to as well!!!!
     
  12. Whaaat! bring the second nervous breakdown on!
    On the other hand it might retire the treacherous lot off for good
     
  13. By the time people reach forty they have already jumped ship into another profession or the private sector.
     
  14. jermar

    jermar New commenter

    Only 5 months to go then!
     

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