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tips on becoming a head of department

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by star107, May 26, 2009.

  1. star107

    star107 New commenter

    Hi

    i have the ambition to become head of department - secondary Geography. i have not been teaching long but would like to develop towards the role in the near future.

    Are there any tips or tricks i should be doing or building up in my current job, which would stand me in good stead for a HOD role?

    i would appreciate comments from any subject area, just want to make sure that when the time is right i have had the right experiences to go for the job.

    many thanks
     
  2. star107

    star107 New commenter

    Hi

    i have the ambition to become head of department - secondary Geography. i have not been teaching long but would like to develop towards the role in the near future.

    Are there any tips or tricks i should be doing or building up in my current job, which would stand me in good stead for a HOD role?

    i would appreciate comments from any subject area, just want to make sure that when the time is right i have had the right experiences to go for the job.

    many thanks
     
  3. Hi

    i am a Junior HOD (2yrs) and altho i enjoy it its hard work!!!
    i am rather good at it apparently but I would have liked to have a HOD to explain to me a few things when i got the job so i could have been better prepared [​IMG]the first couple of weeks.
    if your HOD is cooperative ask them questions now and they can "form" you so when you are ready to become a HOD you will already have the confidence of what goes on in a dept.

    good luck[​IMG]
     
  4. star107

    star107 New commenter

    thanks for the advice, I will have a chat with my HOD.

    anyone else got any tips?
     
  5. OckhamsRazor

    OckhamsRazor New commenter

    Really get to know the basics! It takes several run throughs to be comfortable with simply knowing what is going on in a school. Make sure you study and understand the paperwork your HoD/2nd generate. For example, do you fully understand what they are doing with data?

    Offer to do little projects for the HoD - writing/reviewing a scheme of work, that sort of thing.

    Read some educational theory - there are books about moving into middle management. Try to get sent on an INSET about leading a department in your subject area.

    Ensure that you are always reflective in your approach - that way you can keep improving. At the same time, this should ensure that your HoD is fully aware of your intentions.

    As soon as you feel ready, start applying! It may take some time before the first interview, but that will be fantastic practice and then you can build from there. Whatever you do, don't just apply for a job because it's a HoD job.

    And, in the meantime, keep 100% at your current job (and keep learning). Don't let your current HoD or Head think your mind is elsewhere. They are, after all, going to provide the reference for any forthcoming interviews!
     
  6. star107

    star107 New commenter

    Great, thanks for your comments, they are really useful and practical ideas!

    keep them coming guys!

    thanks

     
  7. The HoD is able to use their experience to support their department and colleagues, this may include experience as an exam marker, organising field trips and coursework moderation etc. As a keen NQT these are things you may wish to acquire over the next few years. Presumably you have successfully completed your NQT year and are now raising your aspirations to HoD, a spell as second id department may be a good stepping stone.
     
  8. Get your teaching sorted out - if you are confident in your teaching then you will be able to support your department through pedagogy and they'll feel happy getting feedback from you in lesson observations. You will have less time for your teaching as a HoD so having plenty resources and a good idea about the curriculum and the key points and progression through the curriculum.
     
  9. star107

    star107 New commenter

    Thanks everyone for your comments - very useful!!
     
  10. Leading on from this, I went to a HoD interview and the two questions I couldn't answer were;
    1) What is the procedure when dealing with departmetal budgets?
    2) What Head of department magazines do you read?
    Can anyone help me with answers to these questions?
    Thanks
    Nina06

     
  11. Nina,
    I think the answer to the first question could be varied because each school will have its own procedure, as someone who currently has nothing to do with the budget its harsh to expect you to know the schools procedure!

    As head of PE at my school, I read the subject association's professional journal (Physical Education Matters, from the association for physical education). Every subject will have a professional association that represents them and all will publish a journal with current affairs discussed and key subject specific research presented. You should find out about your subjects publication. Also read the magazines received from the teaching unions. The key to this question is that they are looking to see if you are up to date with the current thinking and policies because as head of department you will have to put the policies into practice.

    Good luck with it.
    Jonathan.

     
  12. I'm in a similar position, have been teaching a few years now (4), was working as KS3 coordinator in my school on a probationary term, re-interviewed, nerves got the better of me, I didn't interview well and lost the post. Having previously thought that HoY would be for me, I enjoyed the work I did with KS3 a lot and have changed my tack. Spoke with the Asst Head who works with my dept and he offered to help 'grow' me alongside those colleagues who have been appointed to positions (KS3 and KS4/2nd) to prepare me for management and leadership. I'm looking for courses to help me move in this direction. One thing the Asst Head said was to take all the opportunities I could, for example, we are a training school so there is the option of working with the trainees at university.

    I would agree with the post saying not to apply for jobs simply because they are HoD, make sure the school is right for you. I worked at the wrong school at the start of my career and it nearly ruined it for me.
     
  13. Be aware of what the job entails:
    Management - timetabling, schemes of work, assessment, tracking, budget, getting stuff done
    Leadership - deciding on curriculum and assessment policy, making sure staff are teaching, marking, setting homeworks etc according to school/department policy, providing support for staff and generally making decisions.
    Teaching - being a lead practicioner who your department can look to for inspiration and advice.
    It can feel like a baptism of fire, but is also very fulfilling as you can have more influence on pupil progress and the satisfaction of bringing on staff.


     
  14. Hi there,

    I am going for a Head of Chemistry position (against someone who is really good, so I'll need all the help I can get).

    What other questions did you get asked, can you remember?

    Thanks!
     

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