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What do you expect from a HoD?

Discussion in 'English' started by nans, May 2, 2011.

  1. I have been teaching for 7 years and have an interview on Weds for a HoD position in an Outstanding school. I know what constitutes a good HoD in terms of people- for example, I consider that I am currently working with an exceptional HoD, whereas my previous one was pretty rubbish- but find it hard to explain what it is that makes a good HoD. I woudl find it really useful if you could just put a couple of lines about what you think makes a good Head of English. Also, do you think I will have difficulties if I am appointed in going into a new school directly at this level, and if so, what do you think would be the best way of dealing with them?
    Thanks very much for your time.
  2. Thanks all, very useful advice! Any other ideas gratefully appreciated...
  3. I took over the HOD position at a new school with a new examination board at GCSE and A Level in September, after teaching for 10 years. The problems you will face will revolve mostly around getting things done in the first few weeks without treading on people's toes - including those in your new department. My advice (which I admit, I struggled to follow myself!) is that you should:
    - Ask questions of your staff - what are they doing about ? issue, how have they dealt with ? in the past, whats the best way to get ? done, etc. Listen to your staff and take their advice if you can.
    - rely on your new line manager for advice about anything - rather than speaking to members of your department about other members of the department (harder to do than you'd think when you first start at a new school and you've got no-one to talk to!)
    - spend AT LEAST a term getting to know the students, parents, and other teaching staff (esp in your department!) before you make any big decisions or grand changes to the way things are done.
    - share your ideas and theories for improvement constantly with your KS3&4 co-ordinators (or 2iC) so they know what direction you want to head in before you start driving the entire department there.
    - Lead by example at first - do things how you think they should best be done, and then show your success so the staff can see what the different options are.
    - Don't be afraid to throw your weight around with the students a bit
    - try to be as VISIBLE as poosible in your first few months - make announcements in assemblies;
    - visit every teacher's classroom - even if it's only for 20mins and give feedback straight away.
    I think as long as you are passionate about English and you have fresh ideas about how you can drive the new school forward (you should visit in advance if you can and see what it's like) you should be fine. Even if you don't get the job, it's a great experience going through the interview process and will help you hugely with future applications.

  4. The best HoD I've worked for was the one who always smiled, never moaned and was the buffer between her department and SLT or parents. She always took the flak if necessary - but could get colleagues to pull their socks up if necessary. Oh, and she always praised / celebrated our successes - but never mentioned the less successful moments!
    The worst HoDs? Those who moan about workload, *** about colleagues or who are workaholics and expect you to be too. I had a HoD who used to put copies of almost every government white paper relating to education on our desks!

    Good luck with the interview!

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