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Secondary to Primary Leadership

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by suziedance76, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. suziedance76

    suziedance76 New commenter

    Has anyone made the move from Secondary Senior Leadership to Primary? I have experience of teaching across all ages, thanks to significant outreach and primary teaching whilst secondary based.
    However, I wonder if the 'secondary' label will mean I am less attractive as a Primary Deputy or Head, even though leadership skills are utterly transferable.
    Can anyone offer any advice?
    I anticipate the need to go back to the chalkface and work my way back up?
  2. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I have not made this move but I suspect a lot of very good established Primary candidates ready to step up to Senior Leadership and these will be your competition. Yes the skills are transferable but if I were a Primary Head I would be asking what in addition to this can you bring to the table ? Many may see it as s gamble or you may have difficulty convincing that you are ‘ right ‘for the job ?
  3. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I truly think you need to spend at least 3 years class teaching in primary, and finding how it is different from secondary. Skills may be transferable, but their contexts and applications are not the same.

    I speak from the experience of having a secondary assistant head parachuted in to lead a primary school in trouble. Now, granted, such a school needed an experienced head anyway; however, he was clueless about primary and made no effort to understand, nor to listen. He lasted just over 3 years, and left the school in a worse state than before.
    annascience2012 likes this.
  4. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Agree . Very different mindset .
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    I’ve known it to happen, the skills are ‘transferable’ but if you are SLT in a primary school with no secondary experience, then you may find it a bit harder.
    When I first became a Headteacher back in 1997 (I was promoted from the Deputy position in the school), the person who I appointed to replace me was an experienced Head of Department in a secondary school. (Assistant Head positions were not really the norm in primary schools those days).
    They took about six months to a year to adjust to the role but they performed well and became a Headteacher of a primary school a few years later.
    If you’re planning to make the change, you’ve got to be sure you want to do it, and take into consideration that in the long term, you are more likely to be paid a higher salary in secondary education than primary.
    For me, it’s all about job satisfaction. My salary as a primary HT is good to be honest, more than what I’ve seen other roles advertised at in the local area.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. suziedance76

    suziedance76 New commenter

    Update - I have been invited to interview for a primary Headship. It probably helps that my teaching degree was Key stage 2 / 3 and I have been able to refer to work shadowing and voluntary work that I have undertaken recently.
    I had some useful feedback from a previous application that indicated that Primary governors tend to be a little less 'open-minded' than secondary governors about teachers and leaders 'crossing over'.
    Looking at some of the comments above it seems colleagues might be equally cynical?!
  7. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Can you imagine a primary deputy head being offered a post as a secondary head? Seriously.
    Primary teaching is very different to secondary. I'm not saying it's impossible to transfer across, obviously it is done but don't dismiss primary governors as "close-minded" They want someone who knows what they are doing and can support and inspire the staff to provide the best. If you can show you can do that, then you are in with a shout. Good luck.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Well, I hope it works out for you and - if appointed - the school.
    Things to think about:
    - what do you know about the Early Years / Foundation Stage? If your only primary experience is with KS2/3 shadowing, then the Foundation Stage is perhaps an unknown to you.
    - how familiar are you with the Y1 Phonics check, KS1 SATs, KS2 SATs?
    - what about SN in primary, and how to support SN children?
    - how do you see TAs being deployed in primary?
    CarrieV likes this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I hope it works for you, but having made the move from secondary teaching to primary, via middle school, your skills might not be as easily transferable as you think.
    Primaries are very different places and the staff very different.
    Priorities are poles apart and the way of achieving them totally different.

    You may believe you can do the job. Governors may agree.
    But whether your staff believe in you and find you credible is a whole different matter.

    A sideways move to DH or AH would be a good stepping stone and give you a chance to learn all the bits you don't know before becoming a head.
    Bentley89, chelsea2 and CarrieV like this.

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