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Wanting to be a deputy but not a head

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by whowhatwhy, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. I have been teaching for 5 years and am currently in post as a senior teacher. I have been on various leadership courses and thought long and hard recently about my career, coming to the conclusion that I would like to be a deputy but not become a head.
    I enjoy being part of SLT and shaping the future of the school and evaluating impact of teaching and learning on children. I have enjoyed the increased responsibilities that come with SLT however, I feel that being a head and having ultimate responsililty for school would be something that I do not want in the future.
    I realise that as a deputy I would need to step up as the headteacher and I have done this as part of my current role on a few occasions, but the budgeting/various staffing issues/exclusions/politics/etc... are parts of the role as headteacher that I would not like and I don't think I would be good at.
    I am wondering what a school would think to appointing a deputy who did not want to become a headteacher? I also realise that as I progress in my career I may change my mind and I have many people who see leadership potential in me and believe I should be a headteacher, but I want to do it because I want to, not because others believe I should!
    Sorry for the rambling post - any advice or experiences would be welcomed.
  2. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    Can I turn the question around and ask why you want to be a Deputy, rather than stay as you are on SLT, if you don't like work in relation to taking the responsibiliy for budgets or staffing or politics? That sounds like a 'bit of a dig' from me but it is meant as a genuine question
  3. Hi
    You may think this posting a little odd as I am now nearing the end of only my first term as a Deputy!
    I know many Deputies who have never become Heads , and have no desire to either. The Deputy role is as I see it a fantastic mix of strategic responsibility and influence but you're also able to mix with the children naturally and are seen as a better source of advice on teaching than the Head , who invariably has not been in the classroom for years.
    I have been 'acting Head' on many occasions already this term and have taken it in my stride , but I have realised even in this term that the loneliness I sometimes feel as a non-teaching Deputy ;having come from being a Senior Teacher with a class and TA team , will only increase as a Head.
    In reality the pressure will be on you alongside the Head to produce the results the Governors and OFSTED want.
    As I Deputy I am heavily embroiled in budgeting, definitely lots of staffing issues and there's politics everywhere whatever your role. There's definitely politics to deal with as the Deputy , not least your juggling act between the Head and the staff!
    I was asked where I saw myself in five year's time at my interview and I did say that Headship was a possible route but that I would be concentrating on serving the school as a good Deputy first!
    People will ask you whether you will consider Headship and as you say your perspective may change .
    My feelings are currently that Headship is the future for me but I am going to spend a few years enjoying being a Deputy - it's a varied role that gives you some influence over it's exact remit .
    Hope this advice is vaguely useful ,from a very tired and looking forward to Easter but happy new Deputy!
  4. Thanks for the comments.
    In relation to why I want to be a deputy, I am looking for the next step career wise and as I am currently senior teacher on SLT I feel that the skills and experience I have gained would enable me to become a deputy. I know that I could move to another school on SLT, however I feel that being a deputy would give me more responsibility/influence within a school and I would like to challenge myself with that next step.
    I realise that deputies are involved in the 'hidden' elements of school leadership but it is the overall responsibility that I do not feel that I would want to take on. I like being involved in the decision making, monitoring and school improvement but feel that the pressures and personal sacrifices that come with headship is something that I could not do.
    I also feel that I do not have the skills needed to 'lead the ship', as I very much need others to support my decisions and guide me on aspects if I am unsure. However I am skilled in supporting as part of the SLT and have had success in this in my current role.
    Thank you Rachel for your take on things. It is good to hear your experiences and it definitely sounds like you are enjoying the role. I hope to be able to become a deputy and be happy in my job as you seem to be. I think other people see me as a future head as they seem to see leadership potential so I cannot 100% say I will never be a head but I feel that it is not something I really want for myself. I do however want to be involved in the strategic decision making and development of teaching and learning across a school, that could be achieved as a deputy.

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