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Head of Year Interview

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by ZoeTrunks, May 27, 2019.

  1. ZoeTrunks

    ZoeTrunks New commenter

    Hi all,

    I have recently been selected as a candidate for a Head of Year role at my school. I have already written my letter of application, but I was wondering if anyone has any advice or a heads up as to what I may be asked at interview for this role? I have ideas but want to make sure that I am thorough in my preparation (this will be my first interview for a leadership position/since my NQT year).

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Maybe useful sharing those thought here ? Perhaps you need to give more detail about your school’s ethos re HoY positions ? ie traditional floating head of death or progressive lead learner / progress manager ? I would be interested in your take( perhaps hypothetical) on how you would adjust / navigate changes to the curriculum for the priority needs of your year group ? Suspect there will be something on the lines of teamwork / addressing under performing tutors / introducing and embedding new initiatives/ contributions to whole school improvement plans and crucially how you will evidence your impact / success criteria based on your vision / priorities for your year group ...
    CWadd and ZoeTrunks like this.
  3. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Which year? And what system? Does your school operate a rolling system - where you move up with your year group, therefore needing different skills, or is it a "static" system, with fixed HOYs for each Key Stage who welcome the year group as they move through the school?

    If its KS3, I expect you'll be asked about how you'd deal with behaviour issues, family issues, and mediate between students and subject teachers if required. If its Y7, you'll have to help them transition. Y8 - help them from going nuts. Y9 - Options!!

    If its KS4, same as above with bread and butter school issues, but how you'll help them cope with their exams and post-16 options. Bear in mind pastoral care can become a lot more demanding - PSHCE and Sex Ed tend to be major concerns for HoYs of 10 and 11.

    Sixth Form - how are you going to prep them for University? For work?

    Other pastoral issues: mental health, friendships, gangs and knife crime, sex and preganancies, or forced marriages (I'm not joking, worked in a school that dealt with this), and FGM. Depend on the demographic you teach in. Bear in mind assisting students to maximise progress is something you'll have to work with alongside HoDs.

    Mind map all your answers and thoughts. But one thing I look for in a HOY as a Form Tutor is approachibility - someone who is going to guide their tutor team but also be professional and responsive in dealing with parents.
    ZoeTrunks likes this.
  4. ZoeTrunks

    ZoeTrunks New commenter

    Thanks to you both. You've both given me lots to think about.

    The Head of Year position at my school is rolling and I would be taking them on in Year 7 and then all the way through. The position is data and results driven as well as pastoral, so we have been told to think about how we will effectively support all students pastorally and academically.
    I'm very aware that I will end up repeating ideas that are already well established and are therefore not original, but I'm also of the opinion that if it works why disregard it for something new. In my eyes, early identification of students struggling is perhaps the most crucial element of the progress monitoring aspect of the role. We need to build up students' self belief from the outset if we want to help them build their confidence and resilience for later on in school and life. Early intervention will hopefully allow low attainers or struggling students with the boost of help they need to prevent them feeling like they are falling behind. This in the position I am going in will tie in closely with the transistion work and communicating with Primary schools as to which students they have identified as struggling.
    Pastorally, students and tutors need someone they can come to for advice, but with the students they also know your expectations and your boundaries. If we can get students feeling supported emotionally, a lot of the issues we face with behaviour and attainment will be softened.

    I just want to make sure that I don't end up repeating all of the same. (which I'm aware I have alrady done here)
  5. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Potential interview question:
    "You talk of supporting students emotionally. But some are very well supported emotionally, both here and at home. How do you propose to deal with those who have that support, but still proceed to be disruptive in lessons, when you have an irate subject teacher who feels they've done all they can?"

    Be careful - you do not want to come over that if a child is a little toad in someone's lesson, and gets stamped on by the HoD, you then end up doing the "now, what upset you?" routine.

    Not trying to rattle you, but one key area you need to navigate is that HoYs can sometimes be seen as the "good cop" by kids when they're in trouble, against those bad cop HoDs and HoFs!
    agathamorse, minnie me and ZoeTrunks like this.
  6. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I would add re possible strategies you might have for what a lot of schools seem to experience as the "dip" in performance usually starting in Year8 and continuing into Year 9. How to keep the momentum of transition and transform it into optimum progress.

    In your reply... yes you are catering for pupils who are "struggling" but...you need to consider how to provide challenge..... how do you challenge and motivate your more able pupils, how do you keep your C/D borderline students motivated and improving?
    agathamorse, minnie me and ZoeTrunks like this.
  7. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Re your struggling students identified from primary... maybe looking to innovate with a 'nurture' type group where with additional support.... time out of tutor time maybe they have accelerated help sessions. We had a literacy programme run successfully in those 20 mins with help from the then Senco. (So instead of moving around the school with a clipboard in hand doing little..... they actually engaged with students and reading in particular improved considerably.Several of those pupils by Year 11 did very well and that Year 7 (and 8) intervention I always believed was the catalyst.
    ZoeTrunks likes this.
  8. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    HelenREMFan is spot on. The biggest issue I've found in Secondary is that Y8 is often seen as the "lost year" - no transition, no options looming...so they lose focus. Plus its the year where they all seem to fall out with each other.
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Yes agree with much of what has been said by colleagues . I always felt that not being more proactive with vulnerable learners in associate schools was a lost opportunity . Contentious I know but it was if we knew well in advance those students ( co horts ) who would need early intervention for SEAL / literacy / self management/ social and listening skills for example but could not tackle til September Y7 - so always playing catch up . We ran a KS3 Base with Heartmath as an intervention for students with chaotic lifestyles and not in the correct mindset for learning - also helped the SpLD students who were anxious / lacking confidence .... if such not currently an option maybe worth pursuing ? ( Funding and staffing allowing of course ) . Creating the right climate is key so AFL rationale and ‘it’s ok to make a mistake’ crucial - hence my heads up re curriculum / curriculum delivery in a previous post ?
  10. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    As it’s a HOY role, the interviewing panel will be more interested in your pastoral experience- have you been a form tutor? Have you taken the lead on a pastoral initiative and how did it go? The school will obviously know you but you’ve got to still ‘sell’ yourself to the panel to let them know why you think that you are the best candidate for the role. As a HT myself, I have appointed external candidates over internal candidates (who were credible) but didn’t perform strongly at interview.

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