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Subjet leader: ensuring teaching quality among staff

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by missmilie, May 14, 2011.

  1. HoDs, how do you ensure teaching quality among staff? Teachers, do you expect your HoD to tell you what to do?
    I am researching on this topic for my MEd.
    Many thanks for any help!

  2. I think this comes down to three factors which I am sure you have already considered.
    1 The personal charisma/strength of the HOD to carry the staff's expectation so that they will ensure their own management leading to improved teaching practice
    2 The ethos of the school/organisation
    3 Where the school is in terms of Ofsted rating, frequency of inspection and locale.
  3. This is an important question to ask. I am sure that some HoDs will say that it isn't their job to ensure teaching quality in their department. It does depend on what the school expects from the role. In some schools 'Head of Department' can simply be a sort of honorary role for someone who has been there a long time. But in forward-looking schools aiming to be 'outstanding' they wont get there unless this role is a key component of leadership.
    Middle Leadership courses are designed to promote this layer of responsibility in the school. The most important part of that responsibility is to be accountable for standards in the subject. This means taking overall responsibility for pupil progress and results in the subjects across all teaching groups. An important task will be observing teaching - formally and informally - and organising appropriate CPD.
    The difference can be summed up in the title. 'Subject Leader' describes the leadership role just described. 'Head of Department' describes the more traditional role which may not carry with it an assumption of responsibility for standards in that subject.
    The Subject Leader role also needs to be more than procedural. When a school is inspected the quality of leadership at subject level will be evaluated. There needs to be evidence that the work of the department is of good quality. The subject leader needs to be expert in using and interpreting assessment data across all classes. Inspectors will be interested in differences in the progress made by different groups. Basically, the assumption will be that there shouldn't be differences if the Subject Leader is doing their job well.
  4. I have worked with one exceptional HOD. He did improve quality of teaching through the department- not through observing or 'breathing down necks' but through coming up with ideas for new experiments & resources that were timely and ideally suited to the job. He also had a long term view of the department & could set things up 12 months in advance that paid dividends later on. In addition, he managed to raise money from the ether for different projects or equipment. He was a good manager - being part of the team as well as managing it.
    He was not judgemental, had a very rational approach to problem solving & staff management and would treat all colleagues as just that - equal colleagues. He also had a wicked sense of humour.


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