1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Quickest route to headship

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Jamieboot, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. Hi there,

    I'm thinking of changing careers and moving from the business world into primary school teaching.

    I'm a male in my 30's and wondered what is a realistic timeframe for become a head assuming hardworking and dedication.

    Also what is the upper salary limit for a primary head teacher as can't find this information online.

    Any guidance would be appreciated

  2. Difficult,
    It took me 7 years from starting at 32, but I had a couple of lucky breaks and quick jumps up to assistant head and deputy head, I then did a secondment and it took off from there, small schools, lead to bigger schools. Pay, well there is no restriction on academy, so head of a chain 100,000 + but more realistically annything from 48k to 70k (out of London).
  3. ValentinoRossi

    ValentinoRossi Star commenter

    Do you have any teaching experience?
  4. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Why rush?
    If you're in it for the money then you're in the wrong job.
    As a head you lead on teaching and learning so it's best to learn your craft and become an expert at that first.
    Not sure what relevance your gender has.
    It is hugely challenging. I had been teaching for a long time (13 years) in a variety of schools (6) in a variety of different settings (tiny school, huge school, inbetween, deprived, affluent, urban, rural) in a range of different roles plus supporting over a hundred other schools - with 10 years as a deputy head in 2 schools under my belt before I took the plunge. Had I not had the range of experience I had, when faced with the challenges I came across I would've crumbled. Even now, after several succesful years there are days when I think "I can't do this". Read some of the posts on here and workplace dilemmas and you'll see that many heads (and teachers) are incredibly stressed. The workload is phenomenal - and I speak as someone who likes to graft and is known for being a "doer".
    Being the head of a primary often involves a teaching commitment so you need to be good at it. Even in a larger school like mine you have to be able to step in to any class at the last minute should an emergency arise. That takes confidence in your abilities as a teacher.
    Then you need to know the legalities of the system, plus manage a budget (only 30% of primaries have a member of staff other than the head with specific responsibility for managing the budget). The government are devolving even more responsibilities to us on an almost weekly basis and it takes one poor ofsted judgment to end your career. You need to be able to manage a diverse team of people and also keep children and parents onside (and that is very, very tricky).
    Rather than ask the question "How quickly can I become a head?" Consider why the position interests you. If it's about power and autonomy, forget it - the power lies in the hands of the parents and the politicians.
    If you really want it, a better question to ask is "How can I develop my career so that when I become a head teacher I will be able to lead a school to become the best it can be?"
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Thank you Curly - just what I was going to say myself.
    In particular this bit:
    I fear that there are some people who think that becuaes Primary teaching is fairly female-skewed, but Primary Leadership has a higher percentage of males, that just being male will give you an advantage in scaling the heights of school leadership.
    And I particularly like this:
    Spot on.
    Best wishes
    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, every week in print in the TES magazine, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
    I shall be doing the Moving into SLT seminar on 13th October.
  6. Thanks for the replies,

    I'm in no rush. I'm basically trying to find out how long it would take on average assuming hard work and gaining enough experience along the way in enough varied positions. The reason I stated my sex is that I'm aware that it is a female dominated profession but wasnt sure how this pans out at the management level. Whether it would work for or against me or neither.

    I have plenty of experience in the Japanese school system (7 years) and have always had the view of returning to the uk. I am interested in ultimately becoming a head as I would have more of an opportunity to implement some of the theories and policies that I think work well in the Japanese school system as well as the fact that I am confident after my experience here that I would do a good job.

    I will be moving back to the uk in my mid thirties with no pension etc as its not transferable so will basically be starting from scratch with a family to support and that's why I am interested in a timescale for becoming a head and also the salary limits. Of course I am interested in the types of experience and skills that would help me best improve my chances of promotion and leading school effectively.


  7. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Sadly, if you think you'd have the opportunity to implement policies and theories that might be beneficial to the children, you may want to rethink your desire to become a head in an English state school. We are very much dictated to by the Government. What to teach, when and how to teach it and to whom, and if they don't learn it, we've failed them. Call me a cynic but almost 3 years of Gove and his policies have removed any autonomy we had.
  8. Now, now Curlygirl, remember.....he wants schools to lead teaching and break free from government control....thats why he want's more academies that are free from such controls and who's ultimate boss is the secretaryfor Education....How dare you be so cynical[​IMG]
  9. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    duh silly me! Don't you just love how he bangs on about freedom, autonomy and reduced paperwork when what we're getting is the exact opposite?!
  10. I was thinking less in terms of curriculum and more in terms of things I imagined to be a bit more flexible.

    Examples from my time in Japan could include the following.

    *Daily school wide cleaning time. Students clean their own school daily following a rota with each group of students responsible for a different area or task. (This would be I addition to, not instead of the part time cleaners)

    *daily student initiated class meeting where agenda is decided by students and they come up with with their own solutions to the classes problems.bod these happen already?

    *school wide cultural project/exchange focusing on say Japan.

    *intorducing more school festivals that celebrate the history and diversity of the uk

    These are all things I imagine can be done at the individual class level but already but as head you would be able to implement them across the school. Correct me if I'm wrong. Macro rather than micro policies if you will.

    other things from my time in Japan that I know would be much more difficult (impossible?) to implement would be things such as:

    *students swapping classes every term (or year) so after their time in primary school is up they would have been in a class with, and got to know every single student in their year group.

    *students not only clean the school every day themselves here in Japan all the way up to high school but they also serve each other lunch everyday, with responsibilities being assigned on a rota.

    Lots of these things promote taking pride in your surroundings and developing a sense of responsibility within your group.

    Anyway, obviously I have little experience in the uk and these are just ideas that I'm floating around. Go easy on me. I'm just a guy who wants to work in a primary school and do the best i possibly can for the kids around me to help them become educated, responsible members of the society they are going to be released into. Excuse my ignorance regarding specifics of the uk education system but I am certain they can be learnt and that I can be a motivating addition to a uk primary school.
  11. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I'm really not being difficult or not "going easy" on you. The reality is that some of those ideas would have you hung, drawn and quartered at the gates by the parents and no doubt by the media. There is a small amount of flexibility left - a tiny amount really- but the parents' views are everything. Read any post sept 2012 ofsted report . Each section usually starts with "the parents think that...." And then some "evidence" to back up this view. Fine if the parents like what you're doing, but inevitably you won't be able to please everyone.
    Don't get me wrong, I love lots of aspects of my job and I've introduced a fair few innovative ideas myself- but the power to do so is being eroded by Mr Gove's mistaken belief that he knows best how children learn and parents know better than qualified teachers. You only need one ofsted inspector to come along who doesn't like what you're doing , or a couple of parents who don't like your way of doing things to complain to ofsted and trigger an inspection ( parent view anyone? ) and your career is over.

    Excuse cynicism, it's been a very bad week.
  12. Thanks for the advice curlygirly.

    Any more positive advice out there or is it all doom and gloom?
  13. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    Sh*t that's me done for then Curly given my post this morning. Don't get me started on parent view. We need teacher view on the parents of the pupils at our school. I'm now going to hunt down some recent OFSTED reports to look at wording.
    Jamie - Curly is spot on with everything she has said. It may have been a bad week for her (and it has for me) but if you think you can deliver a curriculum full of your lovely ideas etc then forget teaching here. Gove is out to break education and state schools into little pieces. You stand better career prospects if you become a football manager and the pay is certainly better!
  14. Don't take the comments given as being negative. Ambition is good, but the one thing that any headteacher will tell you is to learn your craft first and enjoy being a teacher before you even give any thought to headship. Many enter the profession with the intention of reaching the top of the tree (Top? Really? discuss....) with no understanding of the profession. How can you be keen on headship without having worked as a teacher?
    With regards to your question, if you do enter the profession and then after a few years decide that headship may be for you, ask the question "what is the BEST route" rather than the quickest.
    Good luck.
  15. No it isn't all doom and gloom.
    Best job in the world. Fantastic.
  16. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Most of these 'ideas' - NEVER going to happen in an English school. The cleaning thing - are you insane? Honestly, you'd be in danger of physical harm from many parents if you even attempted this.
    I note that none of your 'ideas' are about actual learning and teaching the curriculum, mind.
  17. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    love the comment about top. The person at the "top" is the one who cleans the drains and clears up the dog poo!
  18. If you want to clamber to the top if the tree, it all depends on the sector you are in. If you are in the state sector, it's all about 'initiatives', 'pro-activity', 'in-service training to deliver fully-differentiated, quality (favourite word) service provision', and of course 'WORKSHOPS.' You simply MUST have lots and LOTS of WORKSHOPS. In other words, all the usual low-grade management-speak which has gripped the trade like bindweed for the last 10 years or so. Therefore, get yourself on to as many of these 'leadership training courses' as possible and remember to suck the bums, vociferously and with appropriate relish, of all the 'important' people in your school. That should do the trick. If you are in the independent sector, two routes are open; the 'pastoral' route--housemaster, deputy head, head-- and the 'academic' route--teacher, HOD, deputy, head. That's it. Best of luck!
    P.S. The best book about the trade of schoolmastering I've come across is by John Rae (now deceased, was head of Westminster), 'Delusions of Grandeur'. You may wish to give this a butcher's.
  19. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Thought for a moment you said give it to the butchers..........I thought we had one in Gr ove!
  20. I think he's (probably) O.K. An unorthodox opinion, I know, but to try and rid results of grade inflation, to attempt the recalibration of the NC, to banish 'modularisation', to reenergise the apprenticeship scheme, and to give heads power over their outfits, seem to me good policies.

Share This Page