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Head of School Role v Head Teacher Role

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by jfy30, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. jfy30

    jfy30 New commenter

    Could anyone help me with my decision making regarding the role of Head Teacher as opposed to Head of School? I am an experienced teacher and have been a Deputy HT for five years in a one form entry primary school. I have decided that I need a new challenge and would like to move on to a more senior role. I intended to look for headships but have seen a Head of School position advertised in a large school which is part of a multi academy trust. There is an Executive Head Teacher who is also in charge of another two primary schools. I am not familiar with multi academy trusts so would appreciate any advice from anyone out there who is! I can see advantages and disadvantages of the Head of School role as opposed to a Head Teacher role. I am tempted to apply for the Head of School role as it would provide me with some new experience in a setting which is different to my current one (the salary is also a lot higher than many of the Head Teacher posts currently advertised in my local area). Any advice would be appreciated as I really don't know whether to apply for this role or to purely apply for Head Teacher positions. Any advice would be appreciated :)
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I think you already know of the disadvantages - you're not actually the boss, but are accountable for the learning outcomes/attainment of the pupils in your 'school'.

    Advantages? I can't think of any.
    fahm, Northhead and Rott Weiler like this.
  3. jfy30

    jfy30 New commenter

    Thank you Middlemarch, your point is exactly what has been concerning me. Anyone out there who can give me any advantages?
  4. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I agree with Middlemarch. As H of S you will never be ultimately in charge, never have the final say and you will never be quite able to do things your way. Some people might see that as an advantage but I prefer my role as a HT.
    Northhead likes this.
  5. carlmc

    carlmc New commenter

    My position was slightly different in that I became Head of School in the school where I was deputy and then became Headteacher this September. For me I knew that long term I wanted to be headteacher of the school, but the role of head of school gave me a great deal of experience that I did not gain as deputy and gave me development opportunities that would not have been there for me. I was lucky to be working with an Executive Headteacher who was willing to give me a lot of responsibility and this grew over time. I had a mentor to support my development over a few years and this set me up well for my first headship. It has still been a big challenge stepping up to the next level, but for me it was the right route to take.
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Head of School as opposed to Headteacher is common in 4-18 Independent schools, where the Head of the Junior or Prep School has exactly that relationship.

    The advantages and disadvantages are as set out above. A further advantage is that you can always pass the buck, and if the HT is supportive of you in facing up to difficult parents or teachers on your behalf, it can be a good way of learning how to deal with them on your own in the next job.

    And if you get into a pickle the HT should sort it out, ensuring that your authority and credibility are not compromised (while giving you a quiet bollocking in private). ;)

    A half-way house between DHT and HT. Won't suit everyone, however, as you have to accept that you do not have the final say if HT disagrees with you. (And s/he can also give you that quiet bollocking!).

    Best wishes

  7. Northhead

    Northhead Occasional commenter

    Oh I couldn't have said this better myself...You'll have to front up the decisions to parents and staff that you didn't actually make (and possibly even agree with).
  8. Northhead

    Northhead Occasional commenter

    Rest assured though, if things go down the pan it'll be the Head of School who's removed not the Executive Head even though it's supposed to be them with the ultimate responsibility...
    welshwales likes this.
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    welshwales likes this.
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    One of the few consistently good things about being a headteacher was having the ultimate say in what went on in school. "Head of School" is merely glorified deputy head, but with much more stress.
  11. jfy30

    jfy30 New commenter

    Thank you for all your comments, there doesn't seem to be many positives about being a Head of School!
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Here's an alternative perspective @jfy30 . I was at a meeting this evening with a group of Federation and Academy MAT trustees executive heads and heads of schools and this subject came up. There was a surprising (to me - in view of the comments in this thread) consensus that initially people had been reluctant to be HoS because they were no longer "the boss" but once they started they relished the ability to put all their focus and energies into leading teaching and learning because someone else took over the responsibility for finance, premises and that sort of distracting stuff.

    I pass this on in case it's useful - I'm a governor not a teacher so not my personal experiences either way. I guess it will appeal to some and not to others. For what it's worth the various representatives from national organisations with their finger on the pulse of DfE thinking reckoned that the model of single schools each having their own head didn't have a future. DfE and the RSCs see Federations and MATs as the future.
  13. jfy30

    jfy30 New commenter

    Thank you for your comments Rott Weiler, I have heard the same message as you about the model of single schools each with their own HT not having a future. I imagine that if as a Head of School you think the same way about things as your Executive HT, then it could work very well. However, if you don't then it could be a nightmare. I still have mixed feelings about whether to apply for this position but really appreciate everyone's comments as they are helping me to make an informed decision either way.
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Some have been saying this (about 'schools of the future' not all having their own headteacher, MATs, etc, etc) for at least 10 years now - it's largely a result of the shortage of candidates for real headships.

    It's still a bad idea.
    dookiedaveuk likes this.
  15. Keighleigh

    Keighleigh New commenter

    Advantage is that you can work with staff in the other schools to develop good practice but the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. It is as somebody said a glorified DHT role.
  16. jfy30

    jfy30 New commenter

    Thank you to all of you for your advice, I have decided not to apply for the post as my gut feeling is that it is not for me. Hopefully something else more suitable will come along soon :)
  17. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Good luck if you go for a headship:)
  18. jfy30

    jfy30 New commenter

    Thank you Jamietzu

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