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Does it boost your chances to get HoD if you're a form tutor as well?

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by daisy2019, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. daisy2019

    daisy2019 New commenter

    I am currently a NQT, having done my QTS last year at a different school. Before I got the QTS I was already teaching for a couple of years, unqualified. The school that I am at recently told me they made a mistake; they don't normally make NQTs be form tutors due to the workload but they made me one by accident. I have been a form tutor before at another school and enjoyed it, but I too am worried about the workload.

    However, I am actually hoping to secure the role of Head of Department next year, either at this school or another school. I am wondering whether having this form tutor role boosts my chances of getting such a role? I have tried to be HoD before but was turned down due to lack of experience.

    Thanks :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Will make no difference, I very much doubt that you have the experience to be a HoD. my simple test for Hod readyness, can you walk into any classrom for your subject and teach the lesson with zero preparation?
    varcolac, phlogiston, pepper5 and 4 others like this.
  3. rehaank

    rehaank Occasional commenter

    HOD will require a few years of experience yet to become a middle leader, so you will need to show some responsibility such as helping to lead team meetings, preparing whole department stuff, newer initiatives and ideas for teaching and learning or responsibility/behavioural management (and sucking up to the SLT).

    Perhaps talk to the current HOD and try to pander them. Think of perhaps becoming an "unofficial" second in department (or if your school has one then try and pitch in for that or become a proxy for it). Or, perhaps try to establish a role as KS3/KS4/Intervention leader and then moving to HOD.

    I've seen schools do homework coordinators before. This could be your first stepping stone, as unenthusiastic as it sounds.

    Hope this helped.
  4. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    Being a Form Tutor would not make any difference in gaining a promotion to HoD. A Form Tutor is a pastoral role within the school and it’s a good starting role if you wanted to progress to SLT through the pastoral side of the school. The next step for progression from Form Tutor would be a Head of Year- but ideally, you will need a couple of years as a FT to understand the different aspects of pastoral care.
    A HoD role is leading a department through teaching and learning. You are the manager of a department in your subject specialism, again, you will need a couple of years teaching across all key stages before you will probably be considered for a HoD position. It’s all about having the complete package. You could be a great teacher, but not have great leadership skills. My advice for you would be to have a conversation with your line manager about your career prospects and where you would ideally like to be in the next 5 years and how you would get there. Your line manager will know your strengths and weaknesses and I’m sure you will know them too, so it’s the case of working towards developing your weaknesses and then start considering the next step which for an ultimate promotion to HoD would be a 2 I/C role.
  5. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    From my own experience, I agree that it’s better to wait for a few years before becoming HoD. In the meantime, being a form tutor won’t help but consistently good results (a 3 year trend is helpful as this is evidence of good or better teaching on your part and will give you clues as to what your vision would be as a HoD) and/ or taking on extra responsibility will. My suggestion is therefore that you find a person spec for a HoD. Write down examples of which criteria you already met and then think of ways to get experience of the rest. As others have said, your line manager could help with this. It might also be worth your while finding out about CPD for becoming a successful HoD. Alternatively, you could get a job somewhere as the only teacher in a subject (if it’s a specialist one) after your NQT year and then you would become a HoD by default. I know all this as I’ve been Head of a Course 4 times. On 2 of those occasions, this was by default and those experiences helped me to get positions of responsibility later on.

    Hope this post helps and good luck with your NQT year and leadership as HoD in the future!
  6. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    I think this is the key to it. If you can make links between actions you've taken in your role as form tutor and the HoD job description then it may help you show you have relevant experience, despite your relatively few years in the classroom. I wouldn't rush to be a HoD. The workload does increase quite considerably and you need to be able to do the teaching with ease so that you can fulfil the HoD role.
    ATfan likes this.
  7. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    ..you also want to make sure that you're in the right place for being a HoD too. No point being in charge if your bosses decide to treat you like a cipher in your own department.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Being a form tutor is pretty much an expected part of the job in English maintained schools.
    To be a good HoD, you have to know how departments work, how to relate upwards to management and downwards to manage colleagues. You need experience of trying things out.
    You also need to have taught the whole of the curriculum enough (e.g more than once) to know what the tricky bits are and to have taught the full ability range.
    ATfan likes this.
  9. Mr_G_ICT

    Mr_G_ICT New commenter

    I think you need to make sure you look at all the other stuff a HoD does. get a keen grasp of the data, look for opportunities in your GCSE classes to analyse results and make sure you shadow your current HoD.

    Ask your HoD for jobs as well as part of your performance management, this way you are gaining the experience of managing your little corner of the department. Look for opportunities to lead.

    Some will probably slag off this approach for doing the HoD's job for them, but it also gives you a taste of what it involves, a lot of data analytics, forward thinking and planning and management of resources.

    I'd be waiting for year 3 or 4 before even looking at a HoD role, you need to take a few classes through GCSE and understand what all that entails.
  10. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    At most schools, being a form tutor is part of the role of all class teachers including HODs. In that case being a form tutor and gaining that experience is beneficial for any future application.

    As other posters have indicated, getting a HOD role the year after your NQT year is unlikely though, in your situation, having unqualified teaching experience does add to your breadth of understanding of the HOD role. The subject you teach is also important - some of my friends on the PGCE course I attended, who specialised in music, effectively became HODs by default in their first year of teaching as they were the only specialist in their subject. If you teach a core subject, or a subject that is easier to recruit for e.g. history, then a much greater amount of experience, probably including a promoted post e.g. KS3 subject co-ordinator, would be necessary before you would be a strong candidate.

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