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How did you get your first headship?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by jellylegs11, Apr 8, 2019.


How did you get your first headship?

Poll closed Apr 15, 2019.
  1. I was already deputy at the school

  2. I was seconded

  3. I was deputy in another school and moved

  4. I was assistant head at the school

  5. I was assistant head in another school and moved

    0 vote(s)
  1. jellylegs11

    jellylegs11 New commenter

    Just out of interest....
  2. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    None of the above.
    I was an AST and became head of a very small school. I moved 250 miles to the new school.

    There are many different routes to headship.
    Good luck if you are applying.
    nomad likes this.
  3. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    Had to act up in an emergency and when the post was able to be advertised, no one even applied (twice).
    nomad likes this.
  4. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Mine was more by accident than anything else. I had only been a DHT for two years when the existing HT applied for another job and got it. When her job was advertised I applied for it but was unsuccessful. However as the new HT was not taking over until the January I was Acting HT for a term. I enjoyed it so much that I started looking around for a permanent post.

    At the end of the first month a vacancy came up at a local school which i applied for and I was successful.
    jellylegs11 and digoryvenn like this.
  5. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    I got promoted to Deputy very quickly then deliberately did far longer as a Deputy than anyone thought I should. I didn’t particularly want to be a Head in the sector I was in and in the end moved sector for my first headship. Absolutely no regrets- best job in teaching I’ve ever had and I would never go back.
    I highly recommend people do at least five years as a Deputy. It really does help.
  6. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I would agree with your comments regarding time spent as a DHT. I wish I had been one longer, however when an opportunity presents itself you have to grab it.
    veneris and digoryvenn like this.
  7. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    It makes the jump easier, I think. Having that extra few years of legal and HR exposure that you seldom get below Deputy makes all the difference when you’re sitting there alone in the office and the buck stops with you.
    But I’m going to respectfully disagree with you on the need to grab an opportunity when it comes up. Sometimes it really is best not to (and I’m talking in very general terms, not about your own situation here because if making that move was right for you then that’s great and I’m really pleased for you that it worked). But as someone whose natural reaction is to snatch at opportunities in case another doesn’t present itself, it’s been a hard lesson for me to learn that it can sometimes be better to bide your time and wait. And the frustrating thing is that you can never know whether you were right until a few years down the line.
    Whatever the choice, new Heads need to know how to take good care of their mental health for the long haul. It’s a funny old job and not one well understood by people not doing it.
  8. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I think that the thing that made it easier for me was that I was a late entrant to teaching and I had already gained experience in the business world. I am now retired but I was in my late 40’s when I got my first Headship.
  9. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    I was promoted to HT in the school that I was the DHT at for a number of years. Almost 22 years later, I’m still in the role and enjoying it.

    There are different routes into headship, the most common is promotion from Deputy Headteacher in current / different school although I know of cases where the DHT or AHT structure is not in place, a senior teacher has been promoted into the role, but they have years of experience and have led the school numerous of times in the HT’s absence.
  10. jellylegs11

    jellylegs11 New commenter

    Thanks for your replies.

    I'm just in a frustrating position...
    Was SLT and teaching for 9 years, left to work in HE sector for 5 years whereby I lead a team in primary education ITT but missed school desperately. Took plunge to come back as inclusion lead at a school that I was a governor for. This, within 4 months, turned into assistant head and now stand in deputy and have covered the head on numerous occasions. I have done a years step into headship course and just want to get going. I have the transferable skills for a headship from my work in HE (heading up team, monitoring and evaluation, data driven targets, presenting at boards, action planning, financial planning, difficult situations- malpractice, appraisals etc etc) but only been back in schools for 2 years since. Just want to get going with it but wonder if my unconventional route will go against me.
    I'm 37 this year so I know there's time but feel frustrated in the role of DH.
  11. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    I would say try to stay patient and gain more experience in the deputy role. Two years back in school isn’t much even though you have lots of skills and broad experience. I had six years in a deputy role and was very glad of that base when I took up headship. Something might suddenly change in your school and the head’s role might become available. Otherwise, give it a bit longer. The unconventional route won’t be a disadvantage but the short time back in school might be. Yes, you’ve got lots of time: thirty years to retirement.
    digoryvenn likes this.
  12. jellylegs11

    jellylegs11 New commenter

    I've just been shortlisted for a non teaching deputy role. I really wanted to go for headship as above but maybe this will have to be the next step

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