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Acting HoD

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by catherine_ann, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. catherine_ann

    catherine_ann Occasional commenter

    I started at a new school in September as 2nd in department and since returning after half term I have been asked to 'step up' as acting HoD. I am ok with this but as acting HoD I expected to get the same non contact a HoD would. I also have a tutor group as 2nd in department which I would not have as HoD. Therefore I am currently running a department on less time and money. I have been told that this will be reviewed after a month. Is this reasonable?
  2. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    Yes, that's standard practice. Most LA schools operate on a principle of covering for one month and then offering payment for acting up. There's no obligation to match time but most schools will try to do something equitable, especially if it looks like being a longer term situation such as a long term absence cover.
    midnight_angel likes this.
  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Make damn sure you hold them to things... keep things in writing...

    It might be the norm as veneris rightly explains but that doesn't make it right. They are getting you on the cheap. Simple as that.
  4. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I expect your management quite like it
  5. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    If you are still doing it in a months time ask for the proper salary and for it to be backdated to when you started.

    You need to ensure that they know you expect to be treated as a professional and not fobbed off into doing it for the experience....

    “Looking? Found someone you have, eh?”

    – Yoda
  6. midnight_angel

    midnight_angel Senior commenter

    Too be fair (and people may hate me for suggesting this), but a month doesn't sound unreasonable to me. As a 2ic, it will be part of the job description to deputise for the HoD when they are absent, and your usual pay is reflected to allow you to do this. Yes, I do realise that stepping up for a day or two, whilst HoD may be on a course or off ill, is different to a whole month, but it is still part of the normal 2ic role (same as a DHT would be expected to deputise when the head is out). A month gives the school time to figure out what's happening with the absent person as well, and be able to sort things out in a formal manner, which it then should be done after that month, and OP, please ensure it is (any more than a month on no additional pay, and I agree they are really taking the pee).

    As for having no additional time to take on the extra responsibilities, well that just sucks, but I assume is the case at the moment because you have been asked to 'step up' mid - year, and have had your own 2ic timetable since September. This would be something to discuss when your role is up for review in a month. If your HoD off off, then surely they have someone in to teach the HoD's timetable (or should insider getting a long term supply, if they haven't already). In theory that person should take some of your timetable from you (as I'm guessing at the moment they will be benefitting from the extra frees, on rhe HoD's original timetable, yet with no extra responsibility). Of course, things may then get complicated depending on when your HoD plans on returning (if he/she is planning on doing so).
    I suggest you figure out a solution to the timetabling issue etc, and go into your 'review' with a suggested plan, which could then be negotiated with SLT. Also make sure you discuss pay when you do this ad well. Finally, as another poster has already stated, make sure you get everything in writing!
    marlin and ilovesooty like this.
  7. midnight_angel

    midnight_angel Senior commenter

    *To be fair
    *Penultimate sentence should say 'as well', not 'ad well'.
    Too late to edit, that first mistake is just embarrassing *blushes*; the second one, I'll just blame on late night typing on the phone.
    Still, you get the idea of the post above, and all the points still stand.
  8. catherine_ann

    catherine_ann Occasional commenter

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. At least I know I'm thinking along the right lines. I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed this week as its my first post where I have had to manage and direct staff. Hopefully next week should be a little easier.
    midnight_angel likes this.
  9. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I agree with midnight_angel - not unreasonable for a time, and, tbh, expected that a 2nd in a Dept would do this (otherwise why have second in departments?)

    My suggestion would be to monitor carefully how much extra time these new responsibilities take, keep a record, and perhaps ask your line manager whether some extra time could be found for you (more likely than money!) - perhaps relieve you of some tutor duties, keep you 'off cover' etc.

    As regards the extra work & managing people - are you friendly with any experienced HoD you could ask for advice/get some mentoring from? Ask your line manager, perhaps?

    BTW This should look good on your CV in the future, so keep a note of what you learn & what you achieve...
    midnight_angel likes this.
  10. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    Not unreasonable for a 2nd to do that. A month is on the long side but I can see why SLT may need the time to work out what's happening and it might be that the HOD also needs a bit of breathing space to know what they want to do on return etc.
    After a month, you need the pay and time to match. It may be more difficult to reduce your teaching allocation but being temporarily removed from your pastoral duties doesn't seem unreasonable. Keep detailed notes of what you're doing and when and also put things in the 'I'm great!' folder that Theo recommends keeping. It sounds like quite a good opportunity as long as you make sure you don't get taken advantage of.
    midnight_angel likes this.
  11. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Similar thing happened to me (many years ago) started as 2nd in dept in Sept, HoD left at Christmas and I was asked to stand in. I said I expected to be paid as HoD as long as I was doing the job, especially as I didn't have any extra non-contacts.

    If they hadn't done so, I would have declined to take it on, I think the OP should do the same.
  12. lizgaskell

    lizgaskell Occasional commenter

    Ok, breathe.

    Don't know why your hod not about but I would expect my second would do similar. Big difference is she would get recognition. THIS I expect was the issue here. As you say, to be 'needed and acknowledged. ' did it myself for a bit and it's one of the reasons I got the HOD role.
    To be honest, after tax your not that much better off but the extra money is recognition.

    You needed a thank you, support and the promise that if this became longer term you would be rewarded with cash basically.
    Sorry I can't be any more help.
    a_muse likes this.
  13. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Well that's ****.

    At least you now know what the rules are and where you stand, even if it's just a poor consolation prize. Thing is if you hadn't have raised it, they would have continued to take advantage. Makes the future a little ambiguous maybe until you decide what to do.
    a_muse likes this.
  14. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Best of luck @a_muse such stories are all too common these days, don't make any rash decisions in the heat of the moment but put yourself first.
    a_muse likes this.
  15. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    Was in a bit of a rush there. Should have added that reasonable behaviour in terms of expectations of someone acting up in the first month covers only the absolute essentials in my view, with quite a lot of support and TLC with it from SLT plus using the supply cover for the absent HOD to give some time back to the person acting up. Especially for someone quite new in post. I expect there are Heads out there who expect something else but I don't have much time for unsupportive school leaders. If someone is getting paid for the short term because a sick colleague may be coming back soon, they should be looked after! If it's a known long term absence of months, paying from the start or back paying asap is completely appropriate.
    a_muse and DYNAMO67 like this.
  16. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    Sorry, not getting paid for the short term - doh, on a tablet and rubbish at typing quickly on it
  17. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter


    Depending on your circumstances etc. I would seriously consider whether I want to stay in this school. At the very least I would go back to simply doing the job I was employed for, and refuse all extra (i.e. HoD) tasks. Refer any requests to SLT/Line Manager.

    PS I'd keep a careful note of all interactions with SLT, write up as much as you can about previous ones, send e,mails home and save them there, and contact my Union, just in case.
    a_muse likes this.
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @catherine_ann Just got round to reading this post. Been a bit overwhelmed . . . My apologies

    Yes, I agree that Acting-Up is hard, and it is disappointing for you not to get it recognised financially nor with the time. But as others have said, it is normal practice to do it on your normal contract for a month or so. Can you imagine the mayhem if they had to calculate it from Day 1, when someone might come back at any moment? So normal and reasonable practice, don't feel that you are being hard done by.

    But you must also look at it from the other side. yes it's hard work, especially as you aren't experienced in the 2 i/c role yet. But you are getting accelerated professional development, so accelerated that it's leaving you breathless, but nonetheless a very positive thing. You will include it in your first application for a HoD post Less than half a term after beginning my first post as 2 i/c of a department of X staff, I had to begin Acting Up as HoD due to the ill health of my line manager. In this period I managed successfully to . . .

    Is there another HoD that you feel you could approach and ask to have a bit of time together one day after school just to give you a few pointers? Perhaps to keep you up to the mark on standard things that need to be done that you might not think of? That would be very helpful too as part of your accelerated training!

    Keep strong!

    Best wishes


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