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

Secondary SLT to Primary Head

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by big feet, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. big feet

    big feet New commenter

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if it was possible if you are a trained Secondary school Assistant Head, if you can apply/ get a primary Headteachers position (with no primary experience)?

    Thank you.
  2. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    Why would you want to? If you have no primary experience how can you lead a primary school? Or am I missing something here?
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Not a chance. Sorry to be so blunt, but the jobs are chalk and cheese. Can you imagine the reverse, i.e. a primary deputy walking straight into a secondary headship?

    I was a secondary head in two schools and even after all my experience would no sooner have thought I could run a primary school than run Shell or BP.
  4. Futureleader

    Futureleader Occasional commenter

    I am a governor at a primary school and a secondary school teacher. The two are very different. I was talking to a primary head teacher whose daughter has just started in secondary school. She was telling me that she was surprised at how different a primary school is from a secondary school. Similarly in conversations at governors meetings it is clear to me that operationally and structurally primary and secondary schools are very different. We appointed a new primary head recently. Secondary school teachers were not even shortlisted. It is clear to me that the demands and qualities needed for a primary school and secondary school head are very different. I am in awe of the primary school head. I do not share the same awe for the headteacher at the secondary school. I have different expectations and requirements for a secondary school SLT.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Hullo there Big Feet.

    As the others have said, you know nothing of the demands, knowledge and skills required for Primary teaching, yet alone Primary leadership, so it is highly unlikely that you would be considered for this role.

    I actually think that Shell or BP might be a bit more of a doddle than a Primary School . . .

    The advice to you, Big Feet, may be to consider a DHT in a smaller secondary school.

  6. karlo1981

    karlo1981 New commenter

    Hmmm....... I had an interesting route here, so I'd like to think all doors are not closed for you, big feet.

    I was originally primary trained, worked (initially by supply) in a secondary school for eight years where I eventually became a head of year. From there I became a primary deputy head with a class responsibility, now a serving primary head.

    They are indeed quite different worlds, however, learning is learning. If you have a passion for learning, good relationships with children of all ages and demonstrable impact..... why not? Give it a go - perhaps look at other SLT posts first? The thing I WOULD say, however, is get into as many primary schools (perhaps via secondary liaison?) as possible.

    Best wishes.
  7. elsielouise13

    elsielouise13 New commenter

    I was a secondary head. Then had a career break, did half a term primary supply before securing a DHT maternity cover in a Primary. I'm currently an AHT in a very large primary because I get to work part time whilst my son is still young. It's different yes, but not THAT different in terms of leadership.
  8. teacha

    teacha Occasional commenter

    I was a secondary teacher, then transferred to primary, starting off on primary supply before securing long term positions. At the last primary school that I worked at, the Head teacher had started off as a secondary school teacher, so it can be done!
  9. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    AHT left my secondary school to take up a headship at a primary school. Can be done but obviously takes a huge commitment to learn the ropes.
  10. teacha

    teacha Occasional commenter

    I also used to work at a secondary school where the Head had previously been a primary Head. Good luck!
  11. crezz1

    crezz1 New commenter

    Having started in Secondary, moved into Middle, then with some Junior and finally Primary experience, I have to say this can not be done easily in the space of one application!
    I have had two headships in Middle (deemed secondary), one Junior school headship and one Interim Primary Headship. Personally I would say they are all very different - from the ethos, to expectations to children and leadership. It has taken a fair few years to truly understand the needs and differences of each. However, I feel I now have a well rounded perspective of the requirements for each [but not full secondary].
    I would think that any Governing Body who considers someone with no [or very little] experience in the phase of the school, is going to think twice about even shortlisting. Even with the shortage of really strong applicants!
    Good luck though, if you think you can do it!
  12. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    Governors will appoint candidates who have the most relevant experience in the primary sector therefore primary HT's and experienced Primary DHT's will be given preference. Although you are in a larger scale school and most likely at an equal or similar pay point on the scale, you don't really hold the necessary skills to carry out the job successfully!

    Can I ask you a question though, why do you want to take up a primary headship? Would it not be more beneficial for your career to wait a few years then take up a Headship in the secondary sector? Obviously, it goes without saying that you will need Deputy Headteacher experience of at least 3 years where you hold a firm track record before you can consider applying for promotion, and even then you've got to be more than ready for it.

  13. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I worked in a primary school where the new head was an AHT from a secondary school. Disaster! No idea how to talk to Y5 let alone 5 year olds. No understanding of the primary curriculum. Couldn't do data. Didn't understand that relationships in a small primary are very different from in a large secondary. No wonder the school is in SM now - and the head is no longer there.

Share This Page