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Applying for sideways move - what to tell my Head?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by ga8g08, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. ga8g08

    ga8g08 New commenter

    I used to really love my school but, after only three years as HOD, I feel like all my energy and enthusiasm has been sapped. I don't feel I am getting anywhere in my leadership of my department, because there is no time to give to anything that would move it forward. At the moment I am running a department of nine in a core subject, with two unqualified instructors and two non subject specialists, and I've spent a whole term with no KS3 coordinator, despite asking for one every fortnight since September. I had a meeting with my headteacher before Christmas, who told me that he would look into appointing someone to KS3 (there is an appropriate candidate in the wings), but that he "really didn't think that would make much of an impact on my workload". He also asked me exactly what I thought a coordinator would be able to take off my plate, even though I was asked to rewrite the job spec so it could be adverstised and it was sent to him for approval in October. I am struggling in my current role and feeling unsupported, despite the fact that I have a great team to work with and we are doing well in terms of results. A job as HOD has come up in another school and I would like to apply, but I don't know what to say to my head about it, or what to say about my reasons for applying at the new school if I got called to interview. I don't want to rock the boat too much where I am, especially if nothing comes of my application, but I also don't see the point in lying when I would love to be able to resolve my situation where I am. If I could feel my Head listened to my concerns with an open mind rather than scepticism, and if I had any positive encouragement from my line manager, I wouldn't be thinking about leaving, but these are not the sorts of things that are easy to ask for. What can I say that is constructive?
  2. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    What appeals to you about the advertised HOD post - apart from the fact it's a different school and appears to be an escape route from where you are now?
    You are clearly not very happy where you are at the moment. What have you achieved as a HOD which would make you an attractive candidate for another school? There is nothing wrong with a sideways move but I think you would need to be able to show that you had been reasonably successful in your current role, and that would need to be borne out by your reference.
  3. ga8g08

    ga8g08 New commenter

    Thanks for replying. There are a lot of exciting things about the advertised post. The role is very similar but the school offers a wider variety of A Level subjects within the department, which would be a new challenge for me in terms of both teaching and leading. The school's specialisms dovetail with my subject, which is something I haven't come across in my area before, and it's significantly invested in local teacher training programmes. Mentoring is something I really enjoy and thrive on, so I'd love the chance to do more of it under the umbrella of a training school.

    The new school's intake is similar to my school, but my department is outperforming the new school's at GCSE by quite a significant margin. Our A Level results are patchier, with a mixture of highs and lows, so I would need to think of what to say about them, but there are lots of positives to be able to mention. In terms of wider contributions to the school community, I've got evidence of a CPD outreach programme to teachers at local feeder primaries; off-timetable careers days; coordinating a whole year group drama production competition, and a series of events to raise the profile of my subject. I've also mentored four trainees who've all passed as outstanding, and have recruited two who came to me on second placement and are now both doing really well.

    Although my confidence is low, I know I have a lot that I could put in an application letter, and I have no reason to think I wouldn't be given a good reference. I'm most concerned about what to say where I am. I feel wrongfooted a lot of the time in meetings with my head as he thinks and operates very differently to me. He has a habit of giving death stares and saying nothing at all for a long time, which I find really difficult. I am unhappy in my work at the moment, which is down to the shifting ethos of SLT, but I don't want the frustration of it to lead me to say the wrong thing - or to miss the opportunity for a more honest conversation. I do better in writing than face to face, but there's an expectation that he's informed in person if you're applying elsewhere. I realise now that this is more of a wokplace dilemma than a careers question, but I thought it might help to ask a wider audience rather than just those facing a hard time in their own jobs.
  4. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    These seem to be very good, postive reasons that you can give your Head. I think it a mistake to say something negative about the school you work at, expecially as you may not get the new job, but you can explain your application without doing that. It may be a sideways move on paper, but it sounds to me as if it has the potential to be a good career move. I would go for it, tell the Head what you have told us about the new role, and not worry about their possible reaction. Heads are used to these things!
    grumpydogwoman likes this.

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