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are there any books that teach you how to be a HoD?

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by Mr_G_ICT, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. Mr_G_ICT

    Mr_G_ICT New commenter

    feel like there must be something about management in a school and departmental management?

    or what websites do people use?
  2. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood Occasional commenter

    Leading a department is all about having a good understanding of your subject & the teachers in your department. I don't know how a book could help with that, though there are a million and one general 'introduction to managing people' books out there.
  3. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    The Head of Department's Pocketbook (about £7 onAmazon) might be worth a look.
    gem_stew and pepper5 like this.
  4. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    The nctl used to have some good articles on middle leadership on their website.
    May be worth asking to go on a 'leading an outstanding **** dept course' - though this is less likely to be all about people management.
    Network with other hods in your school and area. See what your county council run as local cpd events.
  5. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    Articles published by Teaching Leaders are very good. In fact the Teaching Leader programme is amazing CPD!
    gem_stew and pepper5 like this.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    No book can teach you how to be HOD...it comes with experience.
  7. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I agree that experience is important, but lots of things I've read or training I've taken part in have helped too. Thinking about how you deal with different types of colleagues, for instance, before you actually come across a difficult situation, prepares you to deal with it. Anticipating different attitudes to changes you introduce means those responses don't feel as personal and you have a plan to deal with them. It's like teaching - experience makes you better, but training, preparation, reading and observing, puts you in a much better position, and I admire anyone who is proactive in developing themselves professionally.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Experience is more than important - it is vital ....
  9. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    I assume you are looking to step up to a HOD role within the next couple of years thus asking this very naive question?!
    The truth of the reality is, there isn't such book that is useful; its experience! Anyone can read a book, yes, good for advice but if you want to be a successful HOD, you have got to demonstrate those management qualities..
    install likes this.
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter


    Are you being serious?
  11. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    If you are a new head of department, ask for an experienced fellow middle leader to be an informal buddy.

    It's what I did when I began, because they know the school, the kids, and the staff. Now, all these years on, it means I now can do the same for others.
    install, needabreak and gem_stew like this.
  12. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Not of any real relevance to the OP's request but at least mildly entertaining: The Art of Headless Chicken Management by Elly Brewer.
  13. gem_stew

    gem_stew New commenter

    The OP is clearly looking for literature to support his development in a new role. You have not suggested any, but have made a comment about experience.

    Can you suggest what sort of experience you mean? How can he get more experience other than being in the role?

    Clearly the OP is being serious and you are not. Your comment is rude and patronising, and all you have done is make him feel small and, I assume, you feel clever.

    If you have worthwhile advice to give or literature to recommend please do (as that is what he was looking for), but making comments like this does not support anyone or encourage people to seek support or professional dialogue with others.

    Hopefully some of the recommendations made above have been helpful to you. I applaud you for asking questions and looking for advice and support.
    orkida_87 and tosh740 like this.
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    You miss my point @gem_stew and do not offer any meaningful literature yourself? If you had read both of my posts and quoted both posts you would have understand that.

    Do you need support in some way yourself ? Or have you posted to not actually post anything useful yourself?
  15. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    When I got promotion(s), each time I was able to say, "I have done that" with examples. It is about getting experience of doing the parts that make up the position. Never read a book about doing it. But I believe they and courses do exist.
  16. danielsdafe

    danielsdafe New commenter

    To be a good manager, you have to listen really well - a skill that is often easily lost by 'professionals'. You must quickly learn how to be proactive and anticipate whats coming and prepare your team in a manner that draws upon the wisdom of your charm and newly-acquired authority.
    install and needabreak like this.
  17. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I agree but others may not. What constitutes a good middle manager to us may differ to others who would perhaps prefer someone unsupported and inexperienced who simply does as they are told, passing on instructions to their department, although even this requires senior managers to be rather pro active than they might care to be. This is likely why there is a situation where a HOD seeks such information, where usually it takes a number of years in a dept to acquire the experience necessary to do the job, during which time one may volunteer or be delegated to so one understands what is required. We can hardly blame the HOD for the situation they are in because things were done differently when we were new to a role.

    If I were the OP as a new HOD I'd request that some training be placed on my CPD plan, muso is right ncsl used to provide useful training sessions but your SLT responsible for CPD will know more about current opportunities. I'd also find a willing mentor as already suggested. That and being particularly alert in middle leadership meetings would help.
    install likes this.
  18. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    I think there are some good courses about things like having difficult conversations how to set out a dept handbook etc but the thing which helped me most was having a Hod buddy.
  19. Maz86

    Maz86 New commenter

    I wonder what aspects of being a HOD the OP would like to read about. I did read some useful books when I was applying for HOD jobs and doing a management course. 'Fierce Conversations' was the best.

    I think people who bang on about experience are a bit mean. You have to do stuff to get exprience. Everyone is new sometime. :)
    Pomz, orkida_87 and Mr_G_ICT like this.
  20. mollyhog

    mollyhog Occasional commenter

    I'm guessing all the comments about needing experience are because of the recent culture of people being promoted to middle leader roles as soon as they finish their NQT year. I don't think anyone would argue that experience is not important, but just because you have experience doesn't mean you are fully equipped for a HOD role. I have several years experience and am considering applying for HOD jobs so I am currently reading 'How to be amazing middle leader' to help me prepare, both for interviews and for the actual role. Good luck with your application OP (if that's what you're doing).
    orkida_87 likes this.

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