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New HoD advice

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by mathsenthusiast, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. mathsenthusiast

    mathsenthusiast New commenter

    I've just been appointed as Head of Maths in a small, but increasingly successful school. I have inherited quite an aged (fine), but unenthusiastic/innovative/inspiring department. The Headteacher has given me pretty much carte blanche to change the department and bring in change - really exciting opportunity!

    My question is this; as an incoming HoD, what information would you want and what would be the first changes you'd make? I'll be going to the school some point over the next two weeks to pay another visit and start gathering information. What questions should I ask, and what information should I gather? I have a fair few ideas myself, but am interested to find out if the experienced lot have any good/non-obvious ideas!
     
  2. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Be ready to listen. Many older teachers are genuinely inspiring (yes, so are some NQTs) because they taught when it was about the children, not about the targets. Some of them might not seem it initially, because they don't need to boast or put on a show. Ask each for a SWOT analysis. What do they think are the best things and what would they like to change? What advice can they give you? Remind them that you are going to be a team. Never had it myself, but saw situations where a new HOD came in and wanted to be Queen Bee-got people's backs up. I've always been lucky-had great teams whether I was HOD or new mainscale, because we really cared about each other and doing the best thing for our children. Make it clear that's what you want.
     
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    1. I'd change things that I thought needed to be changed - so no-one can give you any specific ideas on that, otherwise you risk changing what does not need changing.

    2. I'd ask questions to which I wanted answers.

    3. There's no generic way of being a HOD - you have to look at the specific situation and act accordingly. Don't look for a 'blueprint'.
     
    wanet likes this.
  4. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    What is this based upon? Once you have taught for a period of time what may seem to be innovative, may to experienced teachers be something that has been tried before and didn't work.
    I would not be in a hurry to change anything. Don't assume what you did in your last school is better and try and recreate that. Before you do anything you need to understand how the school and dept. work. Possibly also look at how other depts in the school work.
    If anything is broken then it will need fixing. You will need to take the dept. with you.
     
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Remember that many people, whether rightly or wrongly, fear change. Get your department together, supply tea and cakes, and ask them what they would change given an ideal world. You won't be able to grant all the requests but they will appreciate being asked. One of my daughter-in-laws has just taken over a moribund history department at an American University and did exactly that - one old boy said, with tears in his eyes, that nobody had ever asked him what he wanted before. It wasn't much - just a different office that had a view. He's perked up so much that everyone now says his teaching has suddenly become inspirational, just as it was 30 years ago when he was first appointed.
     
    jarndyce, CWadd and wanet like this.
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    The best HoF I ever worked for was the one who asked me what I wanted her to do to make things better.

    The worst was the one who told me what she would be doing and I had to go along with it.

    Remember that your Dept have been there longer than you - nothing winds people up more than someone coming in and acting as though their years there count for nothing.
     
    wanet likes this.

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