1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice
  3. The Teacher Q&A will be closing soon.

    If you have any information that you would like to keep or refer to in the future please can you copy and paste the information to a format suitable for you to save or take screen shots of the questions and responses you are interested in.

    Don’t forget you can still use the rest of the forums on theTes Community to post questions and get the advice, help and support you require from your peers for all your teaching needs.

    Dismiss Notice

Leadership webinar: the transition from deputy to headship (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, May 16, 2016.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Can deputy heads make the transition to headship? If so, how?

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to Dr Jill Berry, an educational consultant.

    We will examine what qualities deputies need to equip themselves with the step up.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on May 24 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which Jill and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.


    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member


    Don't forget to post your questions here ahead of next week's webchat or you can post them during the discussion.

    Thank you.
  4. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Looking forward to answering your questions and helping in any way I can.
  5. swarrington

    swarrington New commenter

    is it always necessary to complete the NPQH before applying to be a head?
  6. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon and welcome to the fourteenth webchat in our series of discussions aimed at school leaders.

    In a few moments I will hand you over to Andrew, who is editor of FIS, who will be hosting this week's hour-long webchat.

    Andrew and this week's guest, leadership expert panel member Dr Jill Berry who will be available for the next hour to answer your questions on what qualities deputies need to equip themselves in their headteacher role.

    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.

    I'll now hand you over to Andrew.

    The content of, and information provided in, the TES Leadership webchats and their associated materials (including information posted in these forums in connection with the webchats) (the “Content”) is provided for general information purposes only. Any use you make of, or reliance you place on, the Content is entirely at your own risk. Professional or specialist advice, tailored to your specific circumstances, should always be obtained before taking (or refraining from) any action on the basis of the Content.

    Whilst TES Global and the panel of leadership experts make every effort to ensure the high quality and accuracy of the Content, TES Global and each leadership expert makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) concerning the Content. Neither TES Global nor any leadership expert will be responsible for any damage or loss related to any use of the Content.

    Neither TES Global, nor any leadership expert, seeks to restrict or exclude any liability they may have for death or personal injury arising through negligence, liability for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation, or for any liability to the extent that, by law, it cannot be restricted or excluded.

    Please click here for full Terms and Conditions which apply to all TES Global’s websites.
  7. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello and welcome to this webchat on the transition from deputy to headship. Joining me is Dr Jill Berry, an educational consultant and former headteacher. For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.

    Thanks for joining us, Jill.

    What are the key differences in the responsibilities of deputies and heads?
  8. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Thanks, Andrew - and it's good to be here.

    I'd say that, although deputies should ideally be involved in strategy, their day to day role is often more operational than the head’s – they keep things running smoothly, find the way forward when issues arise, etc. Heads have greater involvement in the Big Picture – in strategy and PR and being the face of the school to the outside world. As one head put it: “you carry the banner and you carry the can”.
  9. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What should an ambitious deputy do to gain the skills they may lack now?
  10. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Many of the skills we have at all levels are transferable, so deputies need to recognise that they already have many of the skills they need. Leadership at different levels is different in scale/scope rather than in nature: getting the best from people, winning hearts and minds, inspiring, encouraging, supporting and challenging is something all leaders do. But deputies may need to build their knowledge, expertise and confidence with respect to, for example, whole-school finance, governance issues, perhaps marketing.

    My advice would be for an aspiring head to examine job descriptions and person specifications in headteacher advertisements and then ask themselves: what are the transferable skills I have which I can build on? Where are the gaps and how can I begin to plug them?
  11. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Thanks, swarrington. The answer is no - NPQH stopped being mandatory for state school heads a few years ago now. However, I think it's still a worthwhile qualification which has considerable credibility, so if you're interested in state school headship I would definitely consider it.
  12. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Should a head be actively encouraging their deputy to develop the skills to seek a headship at another school? If so, how?
  13. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Certainly if deputies aspire to headship they should. Sometimes deputies only realise they want to be heads as their time as deputies progresses (and some deputies don’t want to move up, and that’s fine – as long as it’s not just lack of self-belief which is holding them back). Deputies will consider how they feel when their head is out of school and people look to them in the head’s place. Can they see the appeal of being ‘the one’, rather than the one they currently stand behind?

    If they do aspire to headship they need to talk to their head and begin to consider which aspects of headship they feel more confident and comfortable with, and where they need to strengthen their skills and build their experience. Heads should, I hope, support them in this, sharing things with them, giving them opportunities to stretch themselves, giving them the right balance of support and challenge.
  14. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

  15. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Have you come across heads who have blocked their deputies from developing those skills, perhaps for fear of losing a trusted lieutenant?
  16. basketballnut

    basketballnut New commenter

    Have you any pointers towards building a strong relationship with your new senior team?
  17. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Sadly, yes. But the best heads see that investing in the professional development of those they lead is a key part of their role. Sometimes good staff should be encouraged to move on and gain experience in a different context, just as the heads themselves may have been encouraged in the past. New leaders should be emerging and developing all the time. Schools which develop a positive reputation for growing leaders often fare better when it comes to new staff recruitment.

    I have to say I worked in six different schools, and I think I was a better head for having had that range of experience.
  18. basketballnut

    basketballnut New commenter

    Have you any advice for the content of the new head's first staff meeting?
  19. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    It's a key dynamic and you have to do all you can to establish mutual trust and respect so that you can make the most of the complementary strengths of the team members. Can be particularly difficult if you move to headship in a new school and there are disappointed internal candidates among your senior leadership team.

    My advice is listen and learn a lot from them, shown them they have an important part to play in supporting the transition and continuing to strengthen the school, and make sure they recognise their contribution is valued.

    And if there are SLT members who are, themselves, capable of moving to their own headship, do all you can to support and encourage them to do that.
  20. jillberry

    jillberry New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Be as upbeat and positive as you can! Show that you have tuned into the school successfully during the lead-in period between being appointed and formally taking up the role. Be determined to build on the strengths (I'm a great fan of Appreciative Enquiry - we get stronger by identifying and making the most of the 'bright spots', rather than just fixating on what's broken and how can we fix it), as well as having a clear sense of areas for development and the next stage in the journey. Smile a lot and show how much you're looking forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Share This Page