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NQT Head of Department

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by Fidgel, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Hello All,


    I would really appreciate your thoughts about what I should do in this situation.,,,
    In April I accepted a position of 'Teacher of Drama' and I was told by the school that an English teacher (currently teaching some drama) would be acting as HOD - planning SOW, tracking all pupils, completing year 11 GCSE students, supporting me etc. I visited my school for a few days in July to find out that a lot of things have changed.......what a shocker!
    I will now be responsible for all students in the school, including completing the year 11 GCSE group. I will be expected to create and lead all of my own SOW and track all of these pupils too. I will have to organise moderation and examinations for the GCSE groups, as well as organising all extra-curricular productions and school trips.
    As an NQT I feel this is a lot to be taking on - but as this was not explained to me at interview I feel I can't back out now. I have not seen my contract yet so do not actually know what they have stated are my responsibilities. Is it right to be starting at MPS1 if I have all of these extra responsibilities??
    Your thoughts and advice would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Hello All,


    I would really appreciate your thoughts about what I should do in this situation.,,,
    In April I accepted a position of 'Teacher of Drama' and I was told by the school that an English teacher (currently teaching some drama) would be acting as HOD - planning SOW, tracking all pupils, completing year 11 GCSE students, supporting me etc. I visited my school for a few days in July to find out that a lot of things have changed.......what a shocker!
    I will now be responsible for all students in the school, including completing the year 11 GCSE group. I will be expected to create and lead all of my own SOW and track all of these pupils too. I will have to organise moderation and examinations for the GCSE groups, as well as organising all extra-curricular productions and school trips.
    As an NQT I feel this is a lot to be taking on - but as this was not explained to me at interview I feel I can't back out now. I have not seen my contract yet so do not actually know what they have stated are my responsibilities. Is it right to be starting at MPS1 if I have all of these extra responsibilities??
    Your thoughts and advice would be much appreciated!
     
  3. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I think the time to say something would have been in July. Subjects like Drama and Music are often one teacher departments and in my last school, an NQT took on Drama with the Head of English acting as her HOD. She didn't get a TLR because there hadn't been one before. What she did get was an extra free. The English department helped with the school play and she was covered for some extra lessons before the moderators came in. There should be SOWs and you should be tracking the students you teach so if you're teaching them all, you'll probably find a member of SMT or the Head of English will oversee this. When it comes to things like organising trips, get someone to help you the first time. As the only teacher of your subject, you'll benefit from the experience and it shouldn't be too much extra work. You won't be overwhelmed with marking and can use the same lessons for more than one group. Make sure you know who is supporting you (there will be someone who has to line manage you) and spend time with the English department.
     
  4. I've just completed my NQT year in a very similar position. I was luckier in that I had a years contract at the school where for 3 months I shadowed the present HoD who went on maternity leave in December so I was brought in slowly. She still left earlier than expected which was a bit scary, but I did end up wanting to stay in the job! I was also on TPS1, but like I said, I was covering the main HoD. I had to develop a few SoW and create resources for the entire GCSE course, as well was oversee coursework, and mark and send it all off.

    It is a lot of work, but very worthwhile and it'll look great on your CV/covering letter. I got a lot less support than my fellow NQTs and I had no real subject mentor (despite an attempt to organise one, it fizzled out) but a fantastic professional mentor. Make sure you get your full entitlement as an NQT and the school gets you a subject mentor. You only need to meet once every 2 weeks, and it's always helpful to have someone in the know at the end of an email or phone to help with anything department related. As a HoD you should also have an SMT line manager, if you have any problems or need help with classes or organising events/trips then get onto them. I had to ask A LOT of questions along the way, and to have someone there to help is great. You might find yourself a little isolated if you're in your own department, so make sure you leave time to let off steam and relax as well.


    It'll be taxing, but doable. Air your concerns to your mentors too, that's what they're there for and they'll know to help you out. Wait to see your contract before panicking as well. I'm not sure where you'd stand legally if you wanted to back out, there'll probably be someone more informed to help you there.
     
  5. Hi
    In some small departments it is not unusual to lone teachers responsible for all aspects of the job. That said you must ensure that the school will fully support your induction and, at the same time, provide support for a leadership role. Induction standards apply regardless of your position, so having to take on more work and run a department cannot be used if the school say you are failing to meet the standards.
    In your position I would enquire about the time you will be given to discharge these duties - in addition to your 19% reducation for PPA and NQT time. Also - as you will be dealing with important things like coursewpork and GCSE assessment etc. ensure that the school comit to realease you for specific training. Ask also about linking with a teacher wither within the school ort at another school who could act as a subject mentor (digfferent from your NQT mentor). Ideally NQTs should not have any extra responsibility over and above being a class teacher and the unions recommend this, suggesting that another experienced teacher take on the HOD role.
    I think it is important for you to talk to the head or one of the leadership team about the provisions they will put in place to support ypu not just as a NQT but also in a leadership role. To expect all this on M1 is a lot to ask. If they cannot provide some financial support then there should be in place other forms of support including good leadership mentoring as well as NQT mentoring.
    James
     
  6. Hi Fidgel

    I am in the same position - took on an RS job for NQT and now have realised that I am HoD (without the pay recognition!) - also been put on M1 and am really annoyed!

    My school is v small sounds like they are really putting you under a great deal of pressure - if they did not say anything at interview, you have a right to feel miffed! I recommend getting in touch with your local schools, ask the heads of drama there for guidance/assistance on SoWs and tracking etc. See if you can build a relationship with other schools and perhaps that can make its way into the classroom as well!

    MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR REDUCED TIMETABLE! Although I've had to shift a few of my lessons around, try to make sure you have real blocks of time free to plan. If you are HoD as well I think you get planning time as extra. Not sure

    Are the school recognizing your additional responsibilities in your wages? If not, contact the union and I'm sure they can advise you.


    Good luck, let's keep in contact for a good old moan!
     
  7. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Do remember that if you are the sole teacher of a subject, you are not a head of department in the sense that you have to manage other teachers or be responsible for a key subject. You are unlikely to be solely responsible for KS5 and it is unlikely that you would have more than a couple of GCSE groups. A lot of NQTs teach more exam classes than this and have to plan SOWs. Not all schools have them. The important things are to make sure that you have your PPA and NQT time, are properly mentored and align yourself to the nearest department. Be very clear with your line manager and mentor about whatbyou have to do and who will help you. Unless you have very large GCSE classes, you are unlikely to overwhelmed with exam preparation but, if you are, as said, check everything with other schools you have built relationships with in your NQT time. Try to see it as a positive experience. Don't let yourself get taken advantage of either!
     

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