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Should Headteachers teach ?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Happygopolitely, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Is it time more Heads got stuck in and brought back 'teaching' to its rightful place as a 'profession'? With so many heads not not backing their own teachers by not even teaching themselves has teaching become less important?

    I have worked with several heads. Some have insisted on teaching. Others feel it is below them . Some have been great - others awful. Isn't it time heads got together and 'walked the walk' more?.
    ViolaClef, Marshall and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  2. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    yes, they should teach, but sadly, they all think they are above the chalkface, far too important to be dealing with actual children.

    When they are forced into the classroom, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be doing things like PE/Music/PSHE, ie nothing that needs marking in three colours with next steps clearly outlined to show impact of teaching.
  3. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    From an anecdotal point of view, the best Heads I have worked for have all taught a token few lessons. There are lots of good reasons for it - they get to test out the policies they are advocating to see if they really do work. They are also respected more by the staff by walking the walk, even if it is only a couple of hours a week, and it's also a chance for them to connect with the students.
  4. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    Yes, they should, but they usually follow the business model (surprise, surprise). I spent many years in retail; I can only recall one store manager actually getting out of his office and stacking the shelves when necessary. Obviously, someone running the show - whether in business or education - needs to have time away from the chalkface/shop floor, but they ought to keep their hand in.
  5. chrisoakey

    chrisoakey Occasional commenter

    Can headteachers teach?

    That's more to the point. I have been teaching for 30 odd years and recently had to listen to our HT telling ME how to improve revision strategies. He has not taught for at least a decade, is considerably younger than me and taught PE once upon a time. My subject is one of the Humanities.
  6. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I agree..Its a 'do as I say, not as I do' approach that concerns me with some heads. Some seem to bluff their way up to the top and then hide in their office once they get there.
  7. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    My head taught. He loved teaching and the children loved being taught by him. He enjoyed the teaching more than the rest of his headship duties. He also did a weekly assembly.
  8. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Leading by example from the very top . I like it.
  9. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    It's a curious balance.
    One approach sees that the skills and knowledge needed to be a HT are very different to those needed to teach. That leads to the argument that HTs need not even be teachers. If an HT isn't a teacher (or hasn't been teaching for some years) then they need support in leading and managing that area of school life. Therefore this model suggests that the job title is wrong. Even if the HT is a teacher, a teacher of English may findi it difficult to lead in terms of teaching French or Art; a science teacher may struggle with teaching history. That's why the right people are needed to work together in leadership and management.
    The other side of the coin is that schools are about teaching and learning, and that therefore the HT needs to show that he/she is a the lead practitioner. If that is the main skill set of the HT, he/she is going to need support in other areas - safeguarding, compliance, budgeting and financial control, HR, technology, governance, marketing and so on.
    One model I have seen in a big secondary is an HT who did one lesson's cover every week, as determined by the cover manager. That way the HT got to see the whole school, and got to deal with a variety of pupils, without the extra time spent in planning, marking and so on.
    Another in a small secondary was for the HT to teach one subject to one year group, dealing only with a four or five week section of the course; taught every class in rotation, with the normal teacher still timetabled so on standby if HT was called to emergency. Reduced planning load.
    In a small primary - HT teaches one class, teacher teaches the other, and that's all the teachers accounted for. One class KS2, one class KS1.
  10. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Should those who do not teach including HT and SMT not be in the teachers pension scale?. Many teachers who moved across into Admin. in LA's had to go on to Soulbury Scale. Many have been unhappy with this move.
    Happygopolitely likes this.
  11. a1976

    a1976 Occasional commenter

    I think they need to do a heck of a lot more to justify the salaries they are making. Sitting in an office with a laptop does not cut it. Instead of all these young and tedious assistants and deputy assistants, they need to do more themselves, such as timetabling, budgeting, etc. Too many are never seen as well. Many kids don't even know who their headteacher is.
  12. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    That is a really good point. Some deputies (not so much heads imho) have become glorified admin people after all. Simply chasing up /emailing/ joining the dots. And if they are not 'real' teachers then maybe they should also have the same pay and holiday conditions as those in large offices.
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  13. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I have to agree. It seems some regard themselves as great managers by the amount they delegate and claim credit for. The problem with over delegating at the top is that people then delegate further lower down the line..In effect a 'game of pass the parcel' ensues whereby the teacher ends up doing all the work.
  14. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I was a small school headteacher and I taught 2 days a week - not just 'soft subjects' as mentioned above. It was one of the things that brought me to early retirement. There is no way a head can teach and lead/manage the school effectively (small school - below 100) as well as teach effectively.

    I do agree heads need to still be at the 'chalk-face' but how to manage this is the problem.
  15. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Only one of the headteachers in the three independent schools in which I taught did any teaching - and that was only A-level. His students constantly complained that he was late for lessons, or even absent, due to meetings with parents, governors, attendance at conferences and so on.
  16. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    A little to keep their own practice up to scratch but that's all. Leading a school effectively is a full time job as it is (with the emphasis on the word effectively).
    agathamorse and Happygopolitely like this.
  17. Sally006

    Sally006 Occasional commenter

    I accept fully the difficulty of Heads meeting the demands of their own role on top of a regular teaching commitment. Because it becomes difficult for them to do this regularly, they need to trust their staff to get on and do it instead. If a bonkers idea is trialled and staff report that it doesn’t work, simply listen to them and ditch the idea. The problem is with heads who ignore staff feedback and staff telling them that what they want and what is achievable are two different things. Listen to those doing it and trust them or heads should model the practice they want themselves over a sustained period to prove it can work.
    agathamorse and Happygopolitely like this.
  18. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    I have know several SLT members who struggled to meet their teaching commitments and the students regularly compained about them.

    The title Headteacher persists partly because it helps governments lie about average teacher salaries. In the same way that if you add in the executive salaries of banks the average employee salary would be far more than it would be otherwise.

    I don't think leaders of school should try to be classroom practitioners, they spend too much time doing other things.
  19. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    It's a difficult balance to strike. I do two afternoon regularly and then cover when people need time out and I can do it. Anymore would be unsustainable and the main difficulty is if something happens when I'm scheduled to be in class e.g. Safeguarding
  20. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    When have they done that? The DfE publishes separately the salaries of classroom teachers, the salaries of teachers on the Leadership scale, and the salaries of headteachers (Tables 9b, 9c and 9d respectively).
    Happygopolitely likes this.

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