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Do you miss life before being a HOD?

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by hjnash14, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. hjnash14

    hjnash14 New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    A good opportunity has arisen for me to apply for the head of English role in my school (an international UK curriculum secondary 11-18); however, I am completely stuck on the fence about whether to go for it.

    In many ways it would be quite a supportive route in to being a HOD - we're quite a small school (400 students), I am the longest serving member of the department so I have been very involved in developing the curriculum etc, I know the students well, I get on well with everyone else on the team (who would all be there next year plus one additional new person) and I have a good relationship with SLT. I've also been literacy coordinator for 3 years so I have some idea of the challenges of being in middle leadership in this school.

    However, part of me is wondering whether I really want this role or whether it's just something that deep down I feel that I should go for. It would also mean signing another two year contract and - much as I have loved living where I do - it is quite a challenging part of the world to live in. If I didn't go for this role, I would look to move on to a new school at the end of the year.

    Therefore, my questions are:
    1) Did anyone feel the same as I am before applying?
    2) In general, are you happy that you moved up to being a HOD? Or do you miss the days of less responsibility?

    Your thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    I know what you mean about feeling you ought to go for it. I felt that when the SiD job became vacant at my old school - in the end I didn't regret going for that at all as it gave me the opportunity to make improvements I felt were needed and it prepared me for being HoD.

    However, at the same school I also felt I ought to apply for a Head of House job, which I did. Every now and then, I wake up in a cold sweat, having had a nightmare in which I actually got the job and was still in the UK...;) So, I totally get where you are coming from.

    To answer your questions, I am now HoD in an International School. We're 3-18 with 700 pupils, so it's probably equivalent to yours. The work load is nothing close to what it would be in the UK - I worked harder as SiD in the UK comp I was in than I do now. While there is extra responsbility, I like that aspect: I get to have a positive impact on not only more students but also staff. I like the challenge, and I like the control.

    It sounds like you have had a perfect apprenticeship for this role - I'd apply for it if I were you. You can always decide not to accept...

    Good luck!
  3. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    "A good opportunity"...If you don't will you regret it? If you do will you regret it?

    I've always thought that I'd rather regret something I did do rather than something I missed or didn't do.

    My own move to being a HOD was a bit of a sideways step from a senior post so it's probably not the same but I only had a team of 6 staff...never regretted it! I had a 90% timetable so I wasn't far from the part of the job I really enjoyed. Responsibility wasn't difficult as the team I had were excellent and pretty stable throughout the 10 years I did it for. In addition to the curriculum responsibilities I found that you also take on a disciplinary role which can be distracting at times. Keeping an eye out for training opportunities for your staff and then making the case for them to go to SLT was also on the radar.

    To answer your question, when I made many of my moves 'up the ladder' I did consider that these were areas where I could make a difference but also that I 'ought' to but never any regrets...and you can always make moves into other roles if you find them unfulfilling, it's not a permanent transition that you cannot change later.

    You cannot buy time and you cannot buy experience so only you can decide if now is the right time to spend the former to acquire the latter.
  4. hjnash14

    hjnash14 New commenter

    Thank you both - thoughtful and helpful responses.

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