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New Head of Department....what policies do i need?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by pmcg20, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. pmcg20

    pmcg20 New commenter

    Good afternoon everyone,

    I just wanted to reach out for some advice. I have been a head of department now for the last two years. Now that I have some time on my hands I want to create more rigid and structured policies. I have nothing to base these on. My school does not ask for these but I thought it essential for the smooth running of the department. I just am not sure where to start, is there a pro forma I can use? whats the best way to start? so many questions!

    I am the head of a Design and Technology department. There is a lot of policies required, one of these being health and safety but I do think there could be a lot more.

    so as you can tell I am at a lose and not really sure where to start so please any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Stay Safe!

    Tech Geek
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    In my experience (I was a HoD in several schools) policies imposed by someone (HoD, SLT etc) are usually ignored - and always resented.

    The best (maybe only) way to create meaningful policies at the Department level is to ensure that the other members of the department have a significant input into the policies so they have ownership. But this won't be easy to achieve at the present time, unless you can Skype etc your colleagues. But they may be busy with online teaching etc.
  3. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    What Morninglover said. Seriously, most policies get ignored. Plus, if you've been getting by without them, why write them? Do some schemes of work instead...
    pmcg20 and HolyMahogany like this.
  4. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I would expect whole school policies to account for all your needs without you suddenly becoming one of 'those' HoDs.
    pmcg20 and HolyMahogany like this.
  5. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    As posters 2 and 3 have pointed out be careful about generating unnecessary paperwork and policies. Stick to essential ones, if you are registered to CLEAPPS you will find all the H&S paperwork you will ever need including a ready made department policy which you can edit and amend to your hearts content if you really want to. We simply printed all relevant advice and paperwork. Placed in a folder and then asked staff to sign and date to show they had read them.
    Any other policies e.g. behavior management , a marking and assessment policy etc should be generated by the school to ensure that everyone is working in line with the schools ethos and standards.
    Personally I think a good policy is one that covers all key points on a single side of A4 in big bold letters. No one will read, remember or care about more than that.
    And finally if you do write detailed and complex new policies that require everyone to jump through interminable hoops. Some member of SLT will read them and then use your colleagues failure to follow these time consuming exercises as a big stick to beat you all with.
  6. Luvsskiing

    Luvsskiing Established commenter

    Why not write a policy on policy writing?
    pmcg20 likes this.
  7. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Not entirely a waste of time. When you have a review system with some needing review annually, some at longer intervals, having an automated reminder service - in effect a policy about policies - it helps avoid omissions. I've found this very helpful!
    pmcg20 likes this.
  8. cork227

    cork227 New commenter

    I think it's good to have clear policies in place in a department and have these in my department. Each subject will have different aspects that are specific to them and whole school policies won't cover them. It needn't be authoritative, but is very useful to clarify the expectations, especially for new staff. When I started as HoD, I wrote up a departmental handbook that covered all of this. I didn't introduce anything new, but just put in writing what most people in the department already did (e.g. feedback ,start of lessons, policy for dealing with missing HL, and some stuff specific to my subject).
    pmcg20 likes this.
  9. pmcg20

    pmcg20 New commenter

    Thank you so much for all your responses.

    I have never been directed to write a policy from senior management. A colleague suggested I complete some but as you all say they are more likely to be ignored than read. And what actually impact do they have on teaching and learning?
    My focus over these coming weeks is to complete schemes of work and exciting new takes for pupils rather than boring policies for them to collect dust!

    thank you all is much
    tb9605 and phlogiston like this.

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