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Stategies for new Head of Department Role

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by kanzi1979, May 18, 2012.

  1. I start a new job in sept as head of department [​IMG], specifically a science department.
    I would like to know of idea, tips and resourses that I can use to help me settle into my new role and also can help develop the department.
    I am also interested to hear about pitfalls and mistakes that you have encountered relating to being or working with a Head of Department.
    Thanks
     
  2. I start a new job in sept as head of department [​IMG], specifically a science department.
    I would like to know of idea, tips and resourses that I can use to help me settle into my new role and also can help develop the department.
    I am also interested to hear about pitfalls and mistakes that you have encountered relating to being or working with a Head of Department.
    Thanks
     
  3. Make your Department meetings snappy. Try not to overload them with items for the sake of having a meeting. Oh and it can somtimes be helpful if you hold meetings with smaller groups from time to time, especially if your department is going to be big. My dept (Maths) has 19 teachers in it from September. We mainly hold meetings only for those interested in the topic and hand and then draw things together in a bigger department meeting once a half term or so.
    Actually our office is so small that we are practically sitting in each others' laps, so we are always gassing about things anyway!
     
  4. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    Cake, lashings of tea and keeping to the point in meetings (3 things that I like in a HoD).
     
  5. I'm in the same boat; some little thoughts I've already had (some after reading replies to your thread) are -

    - get a good coffee machine for the science staffroom
    - department meetings on rotation in different labs
    - at least one idea about teaching science (e.g. a practical demo / tackling a common misconception) in each meeting
    - avoiding ever using the words 'outstanding' or 'Ofsted' (perhaps with the exception of a visit from Them)
    - prompt, clear and assertive letters to parents as and when issues arise with students

    Would love to hear more ideas from people though!!

    (Good luck for September, and well done)
     
  6. I would suggest trying to get yourself on the new and aspiring head of science course. I completed it this year and it was a really high quality course run by the National Science Learning Centre.
     
  7. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    19 teachers? Wowza. I don't envy you that!
    I think that as a Head of department you have to "be the change you want to see in the world" (or more specifically, the department.) That can actually be really hard, particularly if you are new to the school as well as the role as there are so many things you need to get your head around with.
    The hardest part for me, possibly because in real life I'm quite reserved until I get to know people, has been really leading. I have to regularly repeat to myself that it's OK to ask, instruct, demand (nicely!) from people, and to check up on people too.
    With regard to meetings, yes, snappiness is good but there is an expectation from SLT that they will be around an hour, at least in the schools I have worked in, and quite honestly there are precious little opportunities to meet as a department as it is. Don't be afraid to give an item on the agenda to your second i/d or another postholder.
    I'm not science so won't bore you with subject specific things which won't be relevant but good luck!
     
  8. As a Head of Science have regular (I had weekly 30mins) meetings with my heads of biology, chemistry and physics so they could disseminate to their teams the department message. This was for a staff of 24, so the smaller meetings were necessary.

    In whole department meetings try to break up into KS3, KS4 and post-16 as well as biology, chemistry and physics. Different groups will be necessary at different times of the year. Avoid meetings that are information sharing, have a weekly dept newsletter for that, sharing good practice is the best use of peoples time.

    Have a clear notice board in the science office and a white board for messages, communication is key in large departments and science departments are usually the largest dept (maths, English and learning support are on a par).
    Plan a rhythm of the year, so that you are on top of everything that's coming. e.g. October, time to plan January exam entries (for this year at least), December revision for Jan and probably year 11 mock time.
    March exam results from January. Plan in the slots for cousrework so that it is spread out for the technicians (look after your technicians!).

    I thoroughly enjoyed been head of science, in that role I got to go into many outstanding lessons and see the most enthusiastic teachers and teaching. Audit the department before you do anything, talk to the team about the strengths and weaknesses, do a couple of learning walks to see the teachers doing what they do best. Talk to your senior technician too. I had the head of department pocket book which was useful, the ASE has some good stuff too.

    Enjoy it, it can be incredibly rewarding.
     
  9. shafattack

    shafattack New commenter

    Looking at budget, how does one even start that?
     
  10. 1) Short meetings with agendas consisting entirely of only essential items

    2) Listen to more experienced colleagues

    3) Remember you very probably didn't get the job for being the best teacher in the department, just for being willing to play all the Ofsted and SMT games.

    4) Never forget 2

    5) Never forget 3
     
  11. shafattack

    shafattack New commenter

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