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New young HOD - Advice please!

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by vanisha18, May 28, 2018.

  1. vanisha18

    vanisha18 New commenter

    I have recently accepted a job offer for subject leader of Geography at a growing school. Will have year 7-9 in September when I start. I will have one NQT in my department. The thing is, I am the first Geography specialist to step into the building since the school has opened so there isn't much in place, and what is in place, can have a lot done to it. I am a bit worried in terms of how I will manage this time wise. Although, I have worked in a 2 department school so far and have to do manage a lot of the workload, I am still young and have been teaching for 2 years.

    Any advice? How would I approach this? Also, what should my first priorities be going in as HOD in this situation?

  2. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    I can't completely understand the situation but the main mantra I took in as HoD was to think about any HoDs I'd worked for and replicated what they did that I liked, and avoid doing what they did that I didn't like. Generally it worked, especially in the early days. In terms of specialism, I imagine the team will be crying out for this, so anything you can bring with you in terms of resources etc. will be gratefully received. I think you and your NQT will need to work together to revamp what is there as and when it is needed rather than trying to do everything at the start. You also need to spend the year familiarising yourself with whatever GCSE spec you plan to teach (unless this is started in Y9) as this might be the impetus to tweak/change Y7-9 so it is adequate preparation. If you have to mentor the NQT as well it's a good opportunity to work regularly and closely together to turn the department into what you want it to be. Good luck.
    Lara mfl 05 and tb9605 like this.
  3. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Sound advice above!

    How much of the scheme sof work you are currently teaching can you take with you? If your department amounts to one NQT then they aren't going to raise any objections if you wipe the slate clean and put your own schemes in place.

    Good luck!
  4. vanisha18

    vanisha18 New commenter

    Yes I was planning on bringing quite a few resources with me but was worried they wouldn't appreciate this and see it as lazy. I would obviously adapt them to suit the students at the school.
    Yeah that makes sense actually!
    Any tips on mentoring an NQT?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. vanisha18

    vanisha18 New commenter

    Yes I do have schemes of work I can bring me. I guess I will have to have a look at the current ones they use and ask if it is possible to wipe the slate clean!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    Mentoring of an NQT can often be different depending on your LA/training provider, especially in terms of paperwork. Generally it's one observation per half-term, however, if you're only a 2-person team you'll probably be in and out of classrooms all the time and I'd encourage this both ways. Look on it more as a team effort to develop your department. Having an NQT could be difficult but it could also be the best way to shape things the way you want them to and to ensure they get the appropriate subject specialist knowledge from you as an expert. However, if they begin to struggle do seek support from other NQT mentors/lead tutor or whoever the person is that oversees the mentoring process, especially as you are new to the school yourself. I'd also see if there is an existing HoD who has been at the school for a few years who can buddy up with you, especially for things like systems, budgets, HoD stuff that would really help you to hit the ground running.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    I’m not being negative here, but I don’t feel that you have enough experience as a teacher to be a HoD- you’ve only got two years, one as a NQT and one post NQT.
    If you feel confident, then you should be fine, however, the situation will be different than before, you have the accountability for the performance of the subject as well as creating SOWs for the department- do you have experience in doing this? It doesn’t aid the situation that the other teaching colleague is an NQT resulting in minimal experience.

    In regards to first steps, review the data from the last couple of years and implement a plan with your team in how to drive this forward.
    I wouldn’t go making too many changes from the off though, you don’t need to fix what isn’t broken!
    roman_eagle and border_walker like this.
  8. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Agree with above. my test of readyness to become a HoD is can you walk into a classroom and teach any lesson cold, i.e. with no preparation.
  9. vanisha18

    vanisha18 New commenter

    I appreciate what you are saying but I feel like I have some qualities which means I will be good at this role otherwise I am sure I wouldn't have been offered the job. In terms of SOWs, yes, I have worked in a department with only the two of us so had to do A LOT of work and essentially it was a 50/50 in running the department as there was no head of department.

    That is true! Thanks!
    TheIrishTeacher likes this.
  10. vanisha18

    vanisha18 New commenter

    Yes I will ask about a buddy who I may be able to pair up with. They said there is going to be a middle leaders induction programme so hopefully that should help!
  11. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Not so long back that you were one ? Recall what was useful and what was not. Perhaps read around L and M .
  12. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Or very sensible.
  13. TheIrishTeacher

    TheIrishTeacher New commenter

    I disagree (respectfully) with what’s said above. Age/experience is irrelevant when it comes to HoD. When it comes to this, passion and drive make all the difference in the world. Every new HoD learns as they go initially and if you’re hired for the position, your school clearly believe you’re able for it!

    Best of luck with the new role ☘️
    abigail3004 and Lucy2711 like this.

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