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Progression to Senior Management

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by FayeHill, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. FayeHill

    FayeHill New commenter


    I am 27 years old and have worked as the Head of Music in 3 different schools. I was fortunate to be appointed as a HOD in an inner London School for my NQT year. From there I followed my passion for working with EBD/SEN students and worked as Head of Year 7/Head of Music in a special school (which i loved). I felt the need to try and develop my experience teaching Music across Key Stage 4 & 5 in a 'high achieving' school and so moved to Bahrain where I am currently working as the Head of Music in a prestigious British International School, managing an extremely busy department of 11 staff.

    I set myself a goal of becoming SMT before I am 30 as I feel so strongly about educational matters and creative ways to make learning both positive and challenging yet accessible by all. From my experience of teaching so far, I can suggest valuable and fresh ideas to 'the top' but at the end of the day, SMT/LMT will always make the final decisions.

    The school I am currently working at strongly recommends that I complete my Masters in Educational Leadership and Management in order to get any kind of promotion (anywhere).

    I really need some advice on this as it is a big commitment (both financially and mentally). I have found what seems like an interesting Masters course through the Institute of Education (Applied Educational Leadership and Management) however it is going to cost 10,420 pounds. The University of Nottingham also offers a Masters in the same field for only 4,500 pounds...

    Firstly, would you agree that completing a Masters degree in Education will benefit my application for an SMT role? and if so, is a course that costs double the amount, twice as valuable in terms of knowledge gained etc.?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,

  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    1. No, having a master's degree will not help your progression. Too many people have them now, too many master's degrees aren't worth much (and so have tended to de-value those that are) - and (my key reason, speaking as a former secondary head with 3 higher degrees) they don't make a better teacher or leader. Do a higher degree because you love learning. In terms of which course is best, however - both institutions are very well regarded and the one costing much more isn't worth any more at all, in my opinion.

    2. This ambition to become "SMT before I am 30 as I feel so strongly about educational matters and creative ways to make learning both positive and challenging yet accessible by all." Why? It's not a race. Take your time in order to gain the necessary experience. I've seen too many very young, extremely ambitious teachers enter this "race" (having also set themselves pointless 'become a head before I've got my wisdom teeth' type targets) crash and burn, their careers seriously damaged by their having gone for a role for which they don't have enough of the right kind of experience.

    Are you thinking of moving back to the UK at any stage? If so, the hardest part for you will be convincing a panel that you're not too big a risk to appoint - I'm speaking particularly of state schools.
    wanet likes this.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Yes, I agree with Middlemarch.

    I have said elsewhere that School Leaders have/need to have knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

    This does not come in a package that you can buy at Waitrose, nor from doing a Masters or other course. It comes from successful professional experience, over time.

    Over time.

    Spend the next 7-8 years gaining knowledge, understanding (of systems, of procedures and above all of people), and hopefully acquiring wisdom too.

    Then think of the move upwards.

  4. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  5. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    I'd rather like to have seen somewhere that you have worked as a part of a department under a HoD so you know what it's like to be an ordinary teacher at the bottom of the heap. What you have written comes across as something you'd put on an application form tbh. 3 HoD positions in different schools in 6 years... you do seem keen to climb the greasy pole! Bearing in mind that as SMT you would be line-managing teachers with, quite possibly, longer teaching experience than you have been alive, you do need to think about the human side of all of this rather than just the career moves.

    Incidentally, if that is your real name you may wish to anonymise yourself...
  6. midnight_angel

    midnight_angel Senior commenter

    Spot on monica. I spent 6 years as a classroom teacher (core subject) before I went for a TLR, and two years on, it's only now that I'm seriously considering HoD roles. To be honest, even 6 years weren't probably enough, but I'm more proud of the (consistently good, and at times even outstanding) teacher I become through those, than I am of anything else so far.

    I have worked with someone who became HoD (core subject of 13 staff) at the ripe old age of 23! I kid you not, she did the TeachFirst programme (begun it at 21, straight from uni), and became HoD as soon as the NQT was over. She had no idea how to manage people/speak to them in a way that wasn't trying to belittle them. She also had no idea of how much pressure she was placing on staff and the time constraints/pressure her dept were under, due to having never taught a few teaching timetable herself.

    I'm not saying this is you OP, but why the rush? You're in a good position as HoD and are still very young. Take a step back to just enjoy it, before embracing the full pressures of SLT.
    DYNAMO67 and Middlemarch like this.
  7. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Midnight Angel is spot on. My worry, and I will be honest I am not senior management, but just a teacher who has the same amount of time in the job as you, is that you seemingly have not stayed anywhere that long. 3 HoD jobs by 27? Would have alarm bells for me.... Have you got a legacy of long term results or are you like a those football managers who pitch up in January, have short term success, but don't hang around anywhere?

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