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Head of mathematics Interview!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by ATTICAN, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. I need any help I can get in terms of the types of questions asked and what the schools are likely to be looking for in terms of buzz words etc. Thanks
    The answers to the questions would be good too ta
  2. I need any help I can get in terms of the types of questions asked and what the schools are likely to be looking for in terms of buzz words etc. Thanks
    The answers to the questions would be good too ta
  3. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    Have some kind of a vision.

    Bone up on latest initiatives.

    Have something to say about data and how to use it meaningfully

    Read Maths and Numeracy across the curriculum bits from their last OFSTED

    Good luck
  4. The vision thing is very important, if you are clear about what you want from you department, etc. then if you don't answer some more "technical" questions well it won't seem quite as important.

    When I was appointed Head of Maths in current post I was asked to produce a "vision document" - it was very useful because it made me think why I wanted job, what I would bring to post etc. (It was also a document I then later presented to department so they knew what I stood for).

    And make sure you know what Functional Skills are (apparently you shouldn't say, "Yet another pointless piece of government s*** which trivialises the importance and value of education.")
  5. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Any schoo advertisinf for HOD maths at this time of year will probably take anyone willing to do it so frankly just go for it.

    Read latest ofsted and have some ideas of how to improve and agree with the comments about pupil tracking and data.
  6. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    OMG the use of language and spelling in my last post was appaulling even for me lol
  7. thanks guys
  8. I Have just received correspondence regarding said interview. They mention tasks!! any ideas what these could be?
  9. What could these taks be help!
  10. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    probably looking at some data
    maybe a behviour scenario what would you do if?

    Obviously im guessing but
  11. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Might add data analysis they will always expect (IMO) you to say hao you would plan to improve, deal with under achievement gender differences etc
  12. maths126

    maths126 New commenter

    IMO = "In My Opinion"

    Current initiatives - worth Googling for more info; see also recent threads on TES Maths:

    1) Functional Skills
    2) Curriculum Changes KS3, KS4 and KS5
    3) Every Child Matters - "SHEEP" mnemonic for five key themes
    4) Personalised Learning - Learning "Pathways" to accomodate needs of all students from least able to most able
    5) Assessment for Learning in Mathematics - monitoring pupil progress and informing next steps using data analysis
    6) Role of NCETM
    7) The latest from ATM, MA and GTC - see their websites / newsletters
    8) ALAN - Adult Literacy And Numeracy
    9) The rise of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) - Moodle, Fronter, Digitalbrain etc.
    10) Online Resources: MyMaths, SAMLearning, LearnPremium etc
    11) Cross Curricular Issues e.g. whole school numeracy
    12) CPD priorities - what training needs do you see for yourself / the Dept
    13) The Maths Dept planning documents "DIP and SEF"
    (Dept Improvement Plan; Self Evaluation Form)
    14) Changes in Ofsted Inspections
    15) Seeking Specialist Status / Change of Specialism
    16) Home-School Partnerships and Home Learning initiatives
    17) Time Management, Personnel Management
    18) Leading From the Middle
    19) Sharing Best Practice - Learning from NQTs, LMTs and ASTs for example
    20) Feedback from pupils re Learning Styles ("VAK")
    21) Work Related Learning
    22) Work-Life Balance
    23) Recreational and Competition Mathematics
    24) Health & Safety
    25) AOB

    Hmm - beginning to look like one of my Dept Meeting Agendas....

    Nobody's expecting you to be an expert in all of this stuff, but it helps to have an idea that the big picture really is quite big! Enthusiasm, and a willingness to adapt your own vision will stand you in good stead.

    Before the Interview, try to read Roger McGough's wonderful little poem "The Leader" which puts it all into perspective!

  13. I had to do the following on my interview:

    Teach a lesson

    Present for 30 mins about raising achievement in maths which I had 50 mins to prep for


    I have heard of other schools who have:

    Prep a cover lesson - a colleague has had to rush home ill and has left no work for her class. Put something together (ie. that isn't just a filler but has some educational merit) - you've 10 mins

    Some sort of 'desk tidy' activity where they give you a pile of correspondance and you have to identify the order in which you'll deal with it and why.

    Pupil panel who interview you

    Bottom line it is about 'vision' though. Knowing what you as HoD would be about and how you would go about achieving that alongside evidence that you have enough experiences to implement it.

  14. How would you deal with a 'difficult' colleague. Probably scenarios will be presented.

    Relationship between head of department, department members and management/leadership teams.

    Strategic planning (i.e. doing things over time and not just reacting).

    Self evaluation is huge at the moment.

    None of these things are hard to address. Find someone who is doing the job (and doing it well, not waiting for retirement - someone aspiring to senior leadership is useful) and ask them what current issues are.

    I would certainly have enrolled in leading from the middle or other similar NCSL course. These courses are good because they feed you the latest issues, ways to speak and force you to do certain things that are necessary for middle management (leading meetings, dealing with potentially difficult scenarios etc.)

    I'd love to post more, actually, but it's Friday night and I think I'll have a glass of beer. Will come back to this thread in the next few days if you say when your interview is.
  15. briceanus

    briceanus New commenter

    Leather patches, you suggest finding someone who is destined for SMT as a good role model. May I suggest an excellent HOD may well want to be, and stay being an excellent HOD.
    There are too many work places these days that pressure excellent workers into higher positions of responsibility, in which they do not aspire, and do not excel, hence the current trend for, shall we say, less than adequate SMT !!

    Let those that can, achieve where they are best. Aspire to an be an excellent HOD, THEN look further if you desire.
  16. briceanus, I couldn't agree more with everything you have said.

    I mentioned someone aspiring to be SMT simply because they are likely to have a concept of recent issues, professional development, selling one-self and self-evaluation and reflection.

    What I certainly did not say is that it is a necessary condition to be aspiring to SMT. It is certainly sufficient (you'll appreciate the Mathematical reference).

    I wouldn't write off anyone who sees head of department as their primary role and focus. In fact many of these people may be paying more attention to their jobs that someone aspiring to SMT. However, what you might want to do is avoid the staid HoD who is clock watching until his pension arrives, cynical about every new initiative or innovation, and often just plain lazy.
  17. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    There is an element of saying what they want to hear. Saying you want to be a HoD forever is not to be recommended.

    Actually being a HoD forever is not to be recommended either.
  18. Especially head of maths. The pressure on maths and english with current national targets and pressures is crazy. If you ever get in a school where heads of core subjects are paid the same as heads of [insert non core subject under less pressure] then get out! or demand a rise, quick.

    The responsibility is such that many schools are advertising head of maths posts on leadership scale (8-12 typically).
  19. It's interesting to see in the TES that an ever increasing number of Head of Maths jobs now appear to be at Assistant Head level to take into account the difficulties in recruitment and also, perhaps more importantly, the key role that HoDs of English and Maths have on the school's reputation/league table position.

    Spoke to one Maths HoD who has such a job title - says his job is no different to that he had when he was 'just a HoD' other than cross-curricular numeracy is part of his role rather than being an additional TLR post held by someone else within his school.

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