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applying for HoD job

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by Sarahanalaila, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. Sarahanalaila

    Sarahanalaila New commenter

    Dear Colleagues

    I have recently been through a job interview where the feed-back was as follows ( not the exact words):

    We feel that you will connect well with the students as a teacher
    we didn't feel that you can lead a team because your focus in the interview was mainly about the students

    I always thought that teaching is about students but now that I'm thinking about stepping up, apparently it's not.

    Can somebody please help with some ideas on how to demonstrate leadership for a HoD in general
    Curriculum wise I'm OK
    It will be very much appreciated

  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    You couldn't have fired back with, "I believe the best form of leadership is by example"?

    If the school believes in a bullying management style then you're better off out of it.

    Don't worry too much about it. Interviews are best at determining who does best at err..... interviews. My interview technique is very good because I spend a lot of time beforehand with a friend who a sales rep (in business to business). I run through the likely questions and he coaches me in the responses. I pay him in beer for this but well worth the few pints. He knows nothing about education but so what, interviews have nothing to do with education. Can you find someone similar to bribe with beer/choccy biccies/whatever?

    Disclaimer: I've never been in a HoD interview or wanted to but I'd be surprised if the interview bit is any different.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    I think the point is that good teaching skills are a given (or at least should be). As a HoD or any sort of manager or leader, you are also fulfilling a different role with the staff and this is where there is a significant change in the expectations of you. To use one of the more common leadership models, your task may well be teaching all the pupils i your department successfully, but to do that you have to focus on the individual staff in the team, and on the team as a whole.
    Try to match the person specifications with your achievements and skills.
    koopatroopa likes this.
  4. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    I agree with John - if that's the attitude of the school management, you're better off out of it.

    <vaguely relevant anecdote>I applied (internally) for a Head of Year post. Didn't get it, but the feedback was that the deciding factor was that I'd put too much emphasis on "listening to students and not enough on leading and being decisive". I replied by asking how you can make decision and lead if you don't know the full details of the issue, to which the Head had no response.

    The following year I watched the extremely well-qualified and brilliant teacher who had been appointed in my place get increasingly stressed by pointless tasks imposed from above, impossible targets, and frustration at not having the time to spend on positive programmes. I felt like I'd dodged a bullet and that not getting that post was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I left that summer to be a HoD elsewhere with senior management that gives me total autonomy over curriculum decisions, allows me to rewrite whole school policies if they are not fit for purpose in my department, and never asks me about data or targets as they trust me and the other teachers in the department as professionals to be doing everything we can to get the best possible outcomes for students. It's heaven. Needless to say I am no longer teaching in the UK. </vaguely relevant anecdote>

    However, back to your original question OP. Can you flag up occassions when you have been the driver of change, where you have lead on a project, unit or aspect of the curriculum? Have you led any CPD sessions, mentored student teachers or NQTs? Any other jobs/roles outside education where you were responsible for line-managing others?
    These would all show leadreship skills.

    Also, with this in mind, can you ask for any extra responsibility within your current setting and role? Does your school have PGCE students? Could you ask to be their mentor? Are there any areas of curriculum you could ask to take the lead on? Any whole school projects/clubs you would like to run? I'd done all of these things before getting a HoD role and they were useful for displaying leadership qualities.

    Good luck.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.

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