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new primary deputy head

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by ozzieskyhat, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Hi- any wise deputy heads out there who can share their pearls of wisdom for someone new to the role in spetember?
    Im excited and scared at the same time.
  2. aw27

    aw27 New commenter

    No, sorry, but I LOVE your picture!!!
  3. Ok here goes -

    1) have your professional discussions and disagreements with the head behind closed doors - then face the world with the party line. If you don't do this you will find yourself as a constant go between, between staff and head for any disagreements.
    2) Teach and teach really well (see other thread in HT forum!)
    3) Be supportive to the staff and support them to make any changes - you have to show empathy when they are faced with what they perceive is another change for changes sake, help them see the positives.
    4) Have a laugh - be human.
    5) Seek out professional development opportunities, by working alongside the head, look at the standards for HTs and try and experience as much as possible.
    6) Become a supportive deputy, but don't be afraid to challenge (see point 1)
    7) Maintain a good worklife balance - crucial really!

    Just a few off the top of my head - good luck!!
  4. Great advice from an experienced head just before I started last September...
    Be visible!
    Check in on the HT every morning and every evening (it can get lonely in that office and a friendly face/coffee is nice, especially if they've had/are having a **** day...)
    Try and see/briefly chat to every member of staff every day (easier in small schools, admittedly), especially if you know it's a busy time of year or there are stressful things going on, in or out of school...
    Covering duties for those who are drowning, making cups of tea for those who are dead on their feet... not exactly DH stuff, but think of it as investing in staff relations. After all, SMT have a pastoral role for staff as well as children!
    Yes, this does eat into your own setting up time etc, but being DH is about big picture as well as your own classroom and your own needs.
    Be the best teacher you can be. May conflict with the demands above, so this is a great time to get your class trained in peer assessment, to start planning sequences of lessons that don't need detailed daily marking, to do lots of APP-type observations of what they are doing while they are doing it rather than waiting to the end of the lesson to mark it...
    ( I could add in rounding up wild ducks from courtyard and all the other random tasks which come your way as a result of not being anybody else's job...)
    See the funny side, keep smiling and know what really matters when the chips are down... the last one will help you work out what to do when the Head is out, a decision is needed and there isn't an answer in any of the How-To-Be-A-Deputy books or manuals...
    I love my job!!!
    C x
  5. bnm


    I am fortunate enough to work with a fabulous deputy. Some of her qualities:
    • she is not afraid to question my decisions or have an in-depth discussion about decisions-but always professionally, appropriately, and in private
    • she complements my characteristics and thinks of the little things that I forget that are really big things
    • she pours soothing oils on ruffled temperaments....I sometimes have to communicate unpopular dicisions to people; she helps them find the positives in every situation
    • she is utterly dependable-if I ask her to do something she will do it without me having to remind or chase-I trust her to make sensible decisions on my behalf if I am out or unavailable
    • she stays calm.....very important at stressful times such as the end of term, and helps us all keep a sense of perspective
    • lots of other things, but I can't think of them just now!
  6. I agree with all of the things already said but on the flip side I wish someone had pointed out to me how lonely the job was. Don't get me wrong I didn't expect to make new best friends and everyone has been more than welcoming but when you do have one of those days when you could cheerfully tell your head to stick it there is no one to complain to! However those moments are hopefuly few and far between - just be prepared for them. Two years in and you learn who will provide a secure but professional ear when needed.
    I also always keep a drawer of chocolate and a box of tissues for mopping up any little dramas.
  7. Have you stolen my Deputy? I could say exactly the same and more.

    I really do believe DHT is the hardest job - all things to all people and balancing on that fence between teaching staff and Head. A good one is like gold dust and I am so happy to have mine!
  8. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    agree that DHT can be a very lonely position. Sometimes there is no one you can talk to if you need to blow off steam. However with the partner ship of a good head it is the best job
  9. You learn a great deal as a Deputy. There are key moments when you are given full responsibility for your own actions and the consequences, hopefully with your Head nearby to help you reflect on this experience. Scarey and seat of the pants stuff at times, especially when Head off site and people are looking to you as font of all wisdom and knowledge and there's a bomb scare in the yard and a serious CP call to make as well as an angry parent waiting! The best training there is for Headship in a good school. Try and link with trusted Deputy colleagues in other schools who will appreciate letting off steam too. Good luck.
  10. Good comments above.
    In addition - chocolate/biscuits on the staff room table help (if you need them, your colleagues probably do too!).
    Maintain your high standards, but remember to look after yourself too (that's often the hard bit!).
    Good luck!
  11. thank you for the advice- maybe i could be a sounding board for you and visa versa? have a good summer


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