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when do you give up....

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by strugglingHoD, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. strugglingHoD

    strugglingHoD New commenter


    so this is the third year of my HoD journey and the transformation has been amazing (i inherited a mess, however SLT don't really admit to this)

    however results have yet to improve, they've seen an upward spiral, but have yet to reach the fabled 0.00.

    I've been beaten up by the standard head teacher "why is it not improving" conversation, then i had my appraisal. I'm UPS and haven't had a pay rise since i've got into this job, due to ....poor results (thinking of getting union involved now, it's really getting to me)

    it's clear my face doesn't fit(SLT don't think i'm up to the task, i can tell), but i also think "one more year and results will improve, then i can leave", but how long can i continue to take a kicking before i quit and go down to a standard teacher? How long do you try before you jump?

    i've tried for standard teacher jobs, but yet to be successful, don't know why...excuses (sorry feedback) is not great to pinpoint why i'm not getting anywhere
  2. Mr_G_ICT

    Mr_G_ICT New commenter

    most heads of dept are hired for 5 years, this apparently is the norm for people to see the impact of the changes you make.

    Obviously your department needs a fast turn around(but are there any quick wins?), but are the SLT on board with your changes, do they fully understand the impact of these and how long to take it to fruition. have you said to them it is a 4-5 year plan?
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    If results are steadily improving towards the 0.00, hopefully you're on course. The first year, the GCSE results came from four years you had nothing to do with, and one year when you presumably began to make changes, but it's unlikely that those were having full effect from day one - in fact, it's more likely that anything you did for year 11 was more like patching potholes than proper resurfacing. The second year, the results were only 40% down to your leadership. And although your department leadership is important, they're also down to the staff teaching the groups.

    Have they offered any practical suggestions of what they think you should be doing that you're not?
  4. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Time to write a careful report: what you had when you took over, what actions you and your team have taken, what has worked and what has not, evidence of progress, comment on things that didn't work, action plan for this academic year. Check with your team - is there anything you've forgotten or underplayed? Then send it off to SLT, HT, whoever.
    afterdark likes this.
  5. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    One thing to consider is the relative difficulties of the GCSEs e.g. if you are teaching languages at GCSE you would expect to be about -0.5 as they are significantly harder to get good grades in. On the other hand, if you teach art you need to aim for +0.5 just to get to the expected progress
  6. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

  7. 576

    576 Established commenter

    Most UK teachers are on permanent contracts.
    Flanks and install like this.
  8. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Think they meant that theoretically, hired for 5 years, so impact begins from Year 7 to Y11, (5 years) before legacy of old HOD no longer exists and new HODs work creates measurable impact.
  9. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    As a HOD i was expected to improve results across 70 GCSE geography pupilswithin a few months of starting the job.
    needless to say, I got fed up with that extremely badly run school very quickly!
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    You are in a good position to move on..Give them a shock and start looking. But keep your cards close to your chest because they may not allow you to go easily.

    Avoid hod jobs though and start going down the pastoral route eg Hoy. It's far easier. And lazy, unsupportive slt types in places look for their usual scapegoats and their latest hod fodder. It tends to stun some slts when a hod leaves - not because the slt care but because it panics them to think they might have no one else to blame.
  11. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Really?! I am grateful on a daily basis that I didn't get the HOY job I went for. There were two posts available; I watched one of the two superb teachers who did get the post have a slow-motion breakdown over the course of the following year. He visibly greyed. The other teacher resigned and became Teaching Assistant!
  12. install

    install Star commenter

    Not in my experience and not according to the new Ofsted regime in Secondary schools. The heads of year I have seen have it far easier than hods.

    And I have witnessed many hods being kicked out of their jobs one way or another.
  13. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Hoys in my school catch the brunt of it too, and with new inspection frameworki with emphasis on personal development I expect that trend to continue. Most behaviour is dealt with through the pastoral team, parent meetings every day, welfare meetings, and that's before someone like me asks them to follow up a safeguarding concern or conduct a round robin.
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    Fascinating. Are you in a Sec sch and do you not have a Pastoral lead who will talk to Ofsted? Will Ofsted not been drilling down more into the Curriculum areas where you are ?
  15. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    We have gone through new framework inspection already, earlier this term, yes we are secondary.

    They did their deep dives in curriculum, but what we were ahead on, well before new eif, was an emphasis on the curriculum on personal development.

    Our heads of department deal with curriculum, not pastoral, and overwhelmingly the things that are impacting us as a school and our ability to make a difference is the lack of support from other agencies. So our heads of years are having to step in to that gap in services as much as possible and it is bruising for them, our pastoral team is effectively level 3 services for everything from mental health support to children's social care, because CAMHS are effectively operating at level 4 and CSC at some level well above 4. Getset and team8 basically level 4, and attendance welfare officers change their criteria every month.

    Most of the things you see as hitting HoDs I would see as weak leadership from SLT that is years behind the curve. Yes it is a demanding job and there are traders depending on their hods for leadership, but it is a fairly well defined job unless their SLT fail to define it.
    tb9605 and install like this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Wow. Thank you.
  17. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Yep, that's what I witnessed at my old school too. Plus cuts making it harder. We used to have an off-site provision for around 12 KS4 students (with two full-time members of staff, and specialists like myself going in a couple of times a week), plus a full-time chaplain and community outreach worker. All of that went just as the two new HOYs took over.

    They were firefighting constantly.
    Flanks likes this.

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