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How to become a deputy head?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Middlemarch, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    If you're in your third year, surely you only have two and a bit years' experience so far? You can't count your PGCE, I'm afraid.
    Three years is not nearly enough to be a deputy head. The job means you're completely ready to be the head - with all the responsibility that entails - on day 1 if the head falls under a bus. Your Master's degree is neither here nor there in terms of readiness to he a deputy.
    I suggest getting at least three years' more experience, preferably in a different school. Even then, six years is very little compared with the seeming eternity you might remain in teaching.
  2. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    What she said ^^^
    Have you managed a team of people? Contributed to the Sef? Led on the leadership of a particular area? Impacted on the standards across the whole school?
    If the head was off sick and ofsted called could you less it through an ofsted inspection?
    Have you been in charge of managing a budget?
    If the answer to all these ( and hundreds of other questions) is yes then you might just be ready. But I doubt it very much if you've only ever worked in one school.
    You need to consider how you would tackle difficult situations such as staff performance with so little actual teaching experience.
    You also need to consider that it is one of the toughest (if nor the toughest) jobs in the school and if you did manage to secure the role with such limited experience, it would be extremely challenging.
    I found it a challenge in my 4th school, after 2 years as a senior teacher in a small school ( effectively deputy) including a term as acting head.
    To be honest I doubt anyone would shortlisted you.
  3. Thanks for your messages! I have managed a team of people because I am a phase leader/ head of year (this only included two other people). I have leadership of two areas Science and another subject. I have analysed the data from this term and I have impacted on the standards of Science across the whole school because over the summer I wrote a new scheme of work and introduced a new way to assess science across the school. I am in charge of managing the budget for the two subjects I am a coordinator for.

    The ofsted question I very mush doubt it as our school has not been ofsted since I have been there and would have no idea what they would be looking for as our school is outstanding.

    I was also a mentor for a PGCE student last year (second year of teaching). I know its such a difficult job but I feel that I am doing above the description as a class teacher I have had to work out average points scores (percentages etc) for my year group and set my year group targets. if I am not ready what advice would you give me? Would it be best to move schools?

    Thanks again for your above comments I appreciate the honesty!
  4. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Get involved with governors as staff rep or ask to sit on as an observer - dh is about whole school management. I would move schools and go for a much more school wide role - assessment co ordinator or senco ( both give you a great school wide perspective) or team leader for a key stage, rather than a phase.
    You could find a role to combine all 3 in a small school.
    You must bear in mind that DH is just a heartbeat from
    HT, ofsted was one scenario. Consider what you might do if the head was off sick, or worse and an allegation was made against a member of staff, or an aggressive parent came in and had a go at a member of staff, or if there was a problem with the budget, an overspend or an unpaid bill? What about safeguarding issues? What about if a member of staff registered a grievance? What about the exclusion process? Dealing with sen legislation? How would you deal with the situation if you were in charge and the boiler broke? The water pump failed? It started to snow heavily and you were short of staff? Would you know what to do ? How to deal with these things ( I could go on about hundreds of scenarios I faced over the years as a DH, how long have you got?
    You need to experience a few different schools, different set ups, different year groups, different roles, if you can teach cross key phase that will help your management role, empathy goes a long way.
    One of the toughest things for me as a young deputy was tackling a very experienced underperforming teacher. But I had teaching experience across 3 key stages, leadership experience as a senco, key stage leader, senior teacher and acting head behind me, and though I was 25 years younger I'd worked in more schools than this teacher and was able to draw on that experience to help me. You need to broaden your experience before you take the plunge!
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    What curlygirly said. Look long and hard at all the issues and scenarios she mentions, because getting even one of those can end your career very quickly.
    That you've held the roles you mention for a short time is still nowhere near the depth of experience that an aspiring deputy head needs.
    I was also a tad alarmed by your comment about Ofsted - that you're clueless about Ofsted, having only worked for a very short time in an outstanding school, suggests even more strongly that you need much longer and far wider experience. Find yourself a KS co-ordinator post in a challenging school - this is by far the best way to learn about school improvement and management.
    Furthermore - take your time. There is no rush. Deputy and head are jobs it's too easy to get appointed to quickly, only to spend a long time regretting the rush.
  6. Thanks this is great advice! Thanks for taking the time to post!
  7. Do you think it would be worth having a conversation with my head first about my ambitions to see if he could facilitate it in the school I am working at the moment? Or do you think its imperative that I move to another school?
  8. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    You can certainly do some of those things in your own school (Governors, a move of key stage, change of subject co ordinator role, managing a whole school improvement initiative etc) but you need to work in other schools too. If I were you I'd follow Middlemarch's advice. Find a job a SM or NTI school. It doesn't have to be a promotion. The experience it will give you will be worth far more than any TLR.
  9. Thanks again for all your posts! My biggest dilemma now is shall I stay in the school I am currently working or shall I go? My school is one of those sort of schools that has been in the press/news/TV for doing so well. It has plans to open a new school. The head is amazing as she creates new roles so all members of staff feel like they are progressing. If I stay I will need to speak to my head about my ambitions about moving into a different key stage. But this is not my decision and it may be a big risk to stay and not get moved to a different key stage. There is a slim possibility that I may get moved to the new school that they plan to open then that will tick the criteria of teaching across different key stages in a different school but again I cannot guarantee that that I will be moved to that school. There is a lot of opportunity at my current school but the dilemma is that I have no control whereas if I apply for a new school I would apply in a different key stage and this will tick both criterias. If you was me what would you do?
  10. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    It sounds like your current school is giving you a lot of opportunity. At your pm meeting talk to your head about your long term ambition. Get all the experience you can in your current school but have your eye out for suitable jobs in your area which might provide greater experience. As and when they come up, apply. There's no need to rush, it isn't a race to get there. It's a tough job, and the sooner you're there the longer you're in it!
  11. frymeariver

    frymeariver New commenter

    I don't think it is essential that you move schools: what you need is a wider range of experience. You asked for advice about that experience should be and it seems to me that there are several very good ideas here that do not require a move.
    It seems to me that you have two options:
    <ol>[*]Move schools into an unknown environment, such as an SM or NTI school in a difficult area, in order to accelerate your career becuase you are ambitious to be a deputy anywhere.[*]Take the time to find out why the school you are in is outstanding, learn everything you can from the headteacher you obviously admire, and then move later to an unknown environment, such as an SM or NTI school in a difficult area, <u>armed with the necessary skills to be successful and turn it into an outstanding school</u>.</ol>In my view one of these options guarantees success and the other is a gamble.
    I am currently a deputy head in a secondary school, which I know may be different, but I had 13 years experience (before applying for a deputy headteacher post) in three schools, including one in SM and one which was outstanding, and 5 years as an assistant heateacher...and it was still a massive step up. I was asked to be acting head two days a week in just the second term as deputy!

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