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Can there be NO head of department? But an "oversee-er" instead?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by StrangelyOptimistic, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. I am currently in a department of 2 full time teachers (me and the HOD) and 3 other non specialist teachers who teach just a couple of hours of my subject a week. I have been at this school for 2 years about to enter my 3rd year. My HOD has just announced she is pregnant and will be going on maternity leave at Christmas. I was hugely excited at this news as I thought it would offer me the opportunity to take over as Acting Head of Dept in her absence, show that I can do a great job and either keep it if she doesnt come back, or move on when she does come back to get my own Head of Dept job somewhere else using my new found experience. I dont know if I was wrong to presume this as I have no previous experience in matters like this but I kind of just assumed they would ask me to be Acting Head of Dept (and be paid a TLR whilst she was away) as I am the only other full time teacher in my dept and the only specialist teacher of the subject. I also have been graded good with outstanding features or outstanding in all my observations, and have excellent GCSE and A-Level results across all my classes.
    However I have just been informed that the Head of Faculty (who has no experience teaching my subject, and is also the head of her own dept as well) is going to be "overseeing" my department in my bosses absence and there will be no Head of Department! And I've even been told that I will have to take on additional responsibilities whilst my boss is away to "help out" but there will be no TLR because TECHNICALLY I wont be Head of Department.
    Is this even legal? The Head of Faculty is a very busy woman, with no experience of marking coursework in my subject, or planning SOW's in my subject and I doubt she has the time to line manage and support 3 non specialist teachers in a subject she knows little about. So I am concerned that I will end up having to do all of the HOD jobs anyway. PLUS next year will require my dept to set up a new subject ready to teach in September 2012 so we will need a whole subject researched, with new SOW and resources created etc..
    Are they allowed to just say they are not having an acting Head of Dept and have someone "oversee" the department instead?
  2. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    I don't see any reason why they aren't allowed to leave a HoD position unfilled.
    Just don't be a mug in what you choose to do. They cannot make you take on the full responsibilty of HoD. If you want to be difficult, be sure to send lots of emails requiring HoD-type decisions to the HoF. Aim for 1-2 a day. I am sure they will get fed up!
  3. This could have been written by me! Having just gone through some very similar circumstances, union advice would say it is not your responsibility as you are a mainscale teacher with no TLR for the dept. However in terms of whether they are allowed to do this, there does not actually seem to be any guidance.
    I feel the pressure on both yourself and the Head of Faculty as well as the non-specialists in your dept is inexcusable and morally speaking should not be allowed. The extra workload can be at times unbearable and there is a distinct lack of respect for all the extra work people put into their jobs in these circumstances.
    Apologies for the rant but your post struck a nerve and I truly sympathise with your situation. For me they went one step further and actually tried to appoint a new HOD. However I was the only applicant and even though they said I was a strong teacher, they said I wasn't ready for the HOD role and better luck next year!! I am sorry I can't offer any other advice - other than to say that you are not alone [​IMG]
  4. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    This is not uncommon- when I went on maternity leave from my HOD position, they bought in maternity cover, but only to teach and the HT oversaw the department.

    I certainly would agree with your frustration though regarding the level of responsibility that you may be facing, without the extra pay. Put your foot down now!
  5. erp77

    erp77 New commenter

    My HOD retired about four years ago and was never replaced. I'm the only teacher of my subject but not the HOD. My line manager is the subject manager but I seem to do all the work. I often say 'no' to a lot of things. Not my job. HT doesn't like it but can't really say anything.
    Pay me the big bucks and I'll happily do all the HOD stuff, until then they can just whistle for it!
  6. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    Look on it as a positive, get the experience of doing certain tasks to then talk about in applications for jobs.
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Yes. Decisions on the management of the school are taken by the head and there are no 'laws' about having HODs. Many people have been and are the sole teacher i/c a subject and carry all responsibilities but get no TLR (I started my career as such and for over 5 years was teacher i/c a subject, teaching O level, CSE and A level groups and all the responsibilities that this entailed).
    I've also been in such a temporary 'overseeing' position back when I was AHT, managing the staff in the history dept (including 2 NQTs) in addition to my AHT role.
    It might well be disappointing for you, but if it goes pear-shaped it's not your fault. my advice, however, is not to be curmudgeonly but instead to seek ways of assisting (without taking on the whole HOD role) so that you come out of it looking supportive and smelling of roses - it can only help your future promotion prospects within or outside the school.
  8. Yes, I am a HOD and I am leaving this year and not being replaced at all the department will run without a HOD now as will another department permanently. Both are substantial and established departments and their leadership has simply been tacked onto the end of an already full list of an overworked and inexperienced member of SLT. I feel for the staff that will continue to work in these departments as they will no doubt take on our workloads as HODs in the misguided hope that SLT will reward them with a TLR when they have proved themselves. Why would they then pay for something they are getting for free? Tough times.

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