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How much experience needed before becoming a head of department?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Rockmeamadeus, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. I was lucky enough to spend my first two years in a department run by someone who really knew what he was doing and who took my training seriously. I don't beleive anyone but the most inately talented and naturally organised teacher can say they have completed their training after one year of the PGCE. I leaned as much if not more in the subsequent two years.
    With music being slimmed down in many schools such places are few and far between and many music departments rely on single teachers - it's take on the department or find another job and if you are an NQT, good luck.
    So I do know of teachers who start out as Heads of Dept in their first job and make a very great success of it. However, the question I would ask is, where are the opportunities to learn from teachers of experience?
  2. I was HoD in my first job (with a part timer who had previously been the HoD - a little strange!) and so was my husband :)
  3. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Your husband was a little strange? [​IMG]
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I found it enormously helpful to work in relatively large departments in my first two jobs (3 and then 4 full-time staff). I don't think I really absorbed much of what the HoD did in my first job (NQT and all that), but in my second job I learned an enormous amount from the HoD, from how to fiddle the budget to music's advantage, to how to deal with annoying parents, incompetent peris, too much admin, and much more besides.
    Don't rush into an HoD post is my advice.
  5. Crowbob...or is it Bob Crow??!!..you know what I mean!!!
  6. I would second this advice. There is a lot to learn from an established HoD and/or a large department with experienced staff. If you are working in a small school as more of a one man band it may seem relatively simple but holding the post in a bigger school can be much more problematic and complicated. Managing one or two people is easy, 15 is a whole other ball game.

    IMO if you want a new challenge I would recommend trying to get a placement in a large, successful department under your belt before moving up. Not only would you be likely to find the transition easier afterwards but you would also not have the obstacle that you may face if you go up now, i.e. having to manage staff that may question your level of experience when they have put in 10 yrs on the floor. I know I would question being managed by someone of your experience, rightly or wrongly. I apologise if that sounds rude, it isn't intended that way, I would genuinely find it hard to offer the respect I should do to someone in that post. Obviously my suggestion wouldn't come with the pay rise though!

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do :)
  7. I came out of my PGCE only in June 2010 into a position in a great Swiss International Boarding school as Subject Co-ordinator for music and now I am on the move again to China as Head of Music in a school there.
    I think it is very possible but you have to be very realistic, enthusiastic, motivated and focused! Altho at times I wish I had someone else working with me in my department...Good luck.

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