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As secondary staff, what do you want from a Head of Year/ House?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by emilie2007, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Exactly as the title says! What do you look for in a HoY? What, in your opinion, makes an excellent HoY/HoH? The more detail the better!

    Just started in a new school and am running some training for the other pastoral staff...
     
  2. as long as you don't utter the words 'they aren't a problem for me" or "they're not a problem anywhere else". It'll be a good start.
     
  3. Thanks sideshow, I suppose one reply is better than none. FAIL on my behalf I guess!
     
  4. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    It's a quiet time on many of the forums being the holidays.
    For me a good head of year supports you, both in words and actions, so for example if you are having a hell of a time with a kid they will provide moral support and make proactive steps to intervene.
    They need to be unafraid of making drastic steps, e.g. refering a child for exclusion or moving them out of their classes
    They need to be able to be firm but fair with parents and not promise things that can't happen or make you as a tutor look like you've done wrong (even if you have!)
    They need to be approachable, it's important that their tutors build up a good working relationship with the head of year, so make sure that they don't hide away all break and lunch, they need to interact with staff.
    They do what they say and when they say they will do it by. Equally they know when to delegate to allow them to focus on the bigger issues.
    They try to have some time for the 'good' kids!
     
  5. I expect you to work when I am working. When I am in form period I would expect you to be doing the rounds and to appear in my tutor group on a regular basis. I would expect you to be available after school and before school to see kids, after all I expect you have extra time to be a HOY and 10 mins a day is not a lot to ask.
    I would want you to support colleagues and not just run around after kids when SMT get on your back.
    A couple of years ago I worked for the laziest year head on earth. I am now in a really nice team with a hard-working HOY and it makes a real difference. I will be asking to continue with this person when my group leave their key stage.
     
  6. What Trinity said really. Present a united front to the students, backing me up rather than undermining me. Please, never, ever tell the kids or imply that their side of the story is as valid as mine. Popping in at appropriate times is good for the HoY and makes the students feel you're interested in them and that you've got your eye on them too.
     
  7. Support when I need it and leadership to spot and act on problems as soon as they occur. I know that no teacher can be expected to plan everything to cover all eventualities but I would expect HoY to be able to act on things pretty quickly, using tactics that had been thought through in advance and learn from one went well and what went badly last year.
    As said above, there is extra free time with the job and extra money for the responsibility. That should mean that HoY is doing more than the form tutor, not less.
    They should be more than conduits up to Senior Management. That is partly a criticism of the SLT since they should have worked out what responsibilities / actions / sanctions etc can be carried out by the HoY without any referral "upstairs". Equally, they should not be messenger boys or enforcers for SLT unless they actually believe in the policies etc.
    Different schools will have different schemes of responsibilitiy and hierarchy of responsibility. Some may even have a written list of responsibilities and expectations. I suggest you compare the job to a head of subject. What would you expect a good HoD to do for you?
    One warning, many of the form tutors on your team will have a lot of experience and will not welcome lots of brand new untested ideas (even if they are good / needed). Against that, there may be some who have little idea of what is required and will need your guidance.
    Many, though not all, teachers see their subject teaching as more important than form responsibility. For you as HoY, that role has to be the most important because if it isn't seen to be a passion for you, the form tutors won't get too excited either.
    Finally, you have been picked for the job so SLT must have faith in you. Follow your instincts.
     
  8. Some thoughts...
    Never discuss with a student what a teacher has done or said without that teacher being present or without a written statement from the teacher.
    Try to avoid resolving bullying or other inter-student problems with a 'No Blame/Fault' meeting. The students won't trust you. One of them knows who is to blame and will never trust you again.
    Never ask a teacher to prove an incident happened. If you do, that teacher may not trust you again.
    Tutor Group led assemblies may be the thing at Primary School, but secondary school students are (at best) not keen. Instead, come up with theme assemblies and let students volunteer (with rewards) to do them. Or let the tutors suggest some volunteers.
    Many students are mortally embarrassed if given praise/certificates in assembly.
    Make a point of randomly dropping in to tutor periods. Try to avoid using that time for admin or seeing/meeting with students.
    Remember that, whilst the SLT appointed you and they have power over you, you are Head of the Year and should primarily represent your students and tutors when dealing with the SLT, whose aims unfortunately sometimes conflict with your tutors and students.
     
  9. This is true. Lots of experienced staff will have their ways of doing things so if there are things that need to be done in a particular way (admin in particular) try to make sure it is the easiest way and makes sense. If someone comes up with a better/more efficient way of doing things don't be afraid to say, "That's great - we'll do it that way, thanks." Use the experience of your team where possible and involve them in ideas and plans where possible.
    Definitely do the popping in. Nice to let staff know that you expect to pop in if you can but not always possible. Also, you may have to see students for report cards, incidents etc during registration.
    Keep emails to a minimum - staff have enough to do without reading extra stuff. I hate writing emails and things can sound blunt - I would say to my team that I will only email when necessary and keep it very business-like so that you don't stress over how to put things.
    Every HOY has their own style. Have confidence in yours.
     
  10. Your job is to deal with all the naughty little blighter's and liaise with their parents.
    Remember nobody becomes a teacher in order to be a tutor and we all have far more important work to be getting on with than the latest crackpot PHSE initiative and you will be fine.
     
  11. Communicate with your tutors regularly- especially after "incidents". I don't particularly like finding out from other members of the tutor group that someone has been excluded by the HofY or SMT- but that has happened on a few occasions.
    Anything that makes our life as tutor easier is great- so, for example when 4 tutor groups are out on a school trip if you offer to take the register for all the stragglers who were left behind on that day 4 tutors will have possibly 15mins extra "free" time- thats the icing on the cake :)
     

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