Getting into middle leadership

(8 Posts)
conversationdiva Sun 01-May-16 17:26:49

I am in my fifth year of Primary teaching (spent 4 years teaching full time and have spent this year teaching small Maths & English groups 3 days a week.) I went part time because of personal problems with a family illness and the fact that O wasn’t enjoying all that came with having a class anymore.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where my career is going. I have always received positive feedback from being a class teacher and when I was at my last school (which was in Special Measures) the HMI inspector even told the SLT that I was a promising candidate for a leadership role in the future. That year, my Head of Year went off on long-term sick leave, so I informally stepped into the role. I was practically running the year group day to day, so I have some knowledge of what would be expected and that I would be capable of doing it.
I’ve since moved schools as I was head hunted for my current role by a member of my old SLT who became DH at my new school. Other SLT members from my previous school also moved across to this school and so the management structure is quite similar to my old school.

I have always felt like some of these SLT members don’t like me and would be happy if I didn’t develop professionally. One of them in particular was my Head of Year when I first started and she made my life hell. I have signed on for next year teaching (still teaching small groups) but I would really like to start aiming to get into middle leadership, as I feel like I need more and could use my experience more effectively. However, I always seem to be overlooked or ignored whenever I make suggestions. Many of the SLT don’t give me the time of day and it’s very difficult because I do a lot for the school without much acknowledgement, including supporting NQTs.

I’m at a crossroads now. I’m thinking of using next academic year to try and go on relevant leadership courses (but whether my SLT would agree to this is another matter). I would like to eventually have a Head of Year/Department role with part time teaching responsibility, progressing onto more senior roles.

I would appreciate any advice about all this, particularly from people who are currently middle managers, as I want to know the reality of the job and what it is really like compared to being a class teacher.

SisterViktorine Sun 01-May-16 19:27:30

I think it will be difficult to move into MLT/ SLT from a pt intervention role. Especially as you chose this rather than it being due to returning from maternity leave etc.

Maybe go for a new ft job first and get a fresh start- sounds a bit incestuous in your current set up. A big school would be a good idea as there are more likely to be MLT positions available internally (generally MLT and junior SLT posts come with full class teaching commitment so be prepared for it just to be more work, not different work). Then I would say sign up for whatever leadership training is the fad of the moment. Today I would suggest NPQSL but things are being 'reformed' so quickly it could be anything tomorrow.

If they get this MAT plan through there is going to be so much re-organisation that I'm sure there will be leadership positions available for anyone game enough to take them.

SisterViktorine Sun 01-May-16 19:28:22

Of course you could apply to be a SENCo as your current role would lend itself to this.

conversationdiva Tue 03-May-16 20:20:32

Thanks for your advice.
I have a lot of thinking to do in the future. I felt like I didn't ever want to do full time teaching again but it looks like it would be a necessary step to get any kind of leadership role. After several years in the classroom though, I feel like I've had enough of that and feel ready for a different role using the experience I already have.
Oh well. Will have to see what happens in the next few years.

toomuchicecream Tue 03-May-16 20:49:48

I agree, you need to be in a full time class teacher role to get a middle leadership position. In my experience, a middle leader role is exactly the same as a class teacher role but with extra responsibilities and duties ie even harder than keeping on top of being a class teacher. So if you feel like you've had enough of being in the classroom, then a middle/senior leadership role isn't for you.

If you enjoy SEN, then, Sister Viktorine says, look for a job as SENCO, with a view to working for whatever your local equivalent of the Cognition & Learning Team is. Look for additional qualifications/courses you can do relating to specific SEN.

If you enjoy supporting NQTs or students, then start to build links with your local university/SCITT so that you are building up to a job working for them. We have a SCITT student in school this year so I'm going to do 1/2 day training for their students, which will be great experience for me and could open up all sorts of possibilities in the future.

If you are passionate about a particular curriculum area, then think about how you could become an expert in that area. For example, doing the MaST course if it's Maths that you enjoy.

Think bigger picture/longer term. Where would you like to be in 5 years time? What do you need to put in place now and over the next couple of years to make sure you get there?

conversationdiva Wed 04-May-16 15:42:10

Thanks for your suggestions.

The SENCO route doesn't appeal to me. However, I do enjoy helping NQTs and students so that is possibly something I could look in to.

I'm not sure how I feel about going back to teaching full time in the hope of moving up into leadership. I'm sure I could manage the extra workload that comes in middle leadership if I put my mind to it.

The thing holding me back is the system and what's happened to it. By the end of my few years in the classroom, I was very unhappy with government interference, abolition of levels and unattainable targets. I needed a break. I enjoyed being in the classroom and spending time with the children so I probably would give it another chance. I'm still undecided, perhaps I would find that I feel differently after a break. There's so much negativity around now that I worry that I'd be mad to go back into it when so many people are getting out.

I am passionate about English and languages but I don't think there is an English equivalent to the MaST course. I just feel that I have potential to do much better for myself. The PT job I have at the moment is not very well paid and I want to increase my earnings over the next few years and use my skills and experience to do that. My SLT know that I have a good track record and have observed me many times so I could possibly mention my plan of gaining more leadership experience and see what happens.

CreepingDogFart Fri 13-May-16 07:02:42

I don't think you will be taken seriously in terms of leadership if you aren't in class. Leadership is very demanding and middle leaders have a class and a management role and have to balance both. If you don't have a class but want to become a manager then it seems like you're trying to sidestep actually being a teacher.

rollonthesummer Fri 13-May-16 18:54:11

If you don't have a class but want to become a manager then it seems like you're trying to sidestep actually being a teacher.

This.

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