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Should I apply for an Assistant Headship 45 minutes from home?

(35 Posts)
ButterPopcorn Fri 15-Feb-13 12:18:13


I am a primary teacher and SENCO (for which I have a TLR), and I live eight minutes from my current school (yep, that precise!) where I have been for two years. I've been teaching seven years altogether. I have seen a job advertised for September that I am interested in- it is still a SENCO post, but is also Assistant Head. I want to progress and feel ready for the next challenge in my career, and I also want to start thinking about starting a family in the next couple of years (getting married this year!) so I want to push myself to get as far as I can with my career before I have children so that if I then decide I want to drop some responsibilities once I have a family, I will always be able to say I'd reached that level, if you see what I mean.

However, the school where the Assistant Headship is advertised is 45 minutes away from home- I know I am totally spoiled/lucky with my current eight minute journey, and have previously had 45-50 minute journeys to work, and it is just such a drain on either side of your working day.

Again looking to the next couple of years when children come along, will a 45 minute journey just be too much? Should I stick with my current, nearby job to help ease work-life balance for when I have children, or push myself to promotion!?

Of course, this is all completely hypothetical because I may not even get short-listed/get through interview anyway!

Another thought that is also floating around is that this is quite early for jobs to be advertised for September and that something else could come up closer to home, and what if I applied and got this one 45 minutes away (long shot?!), and then saw one closer to home?! But then again, you can't live on "what ifs" because I could pass up this one and then nothing else could come up!

Argh! Any thoughts/advice greatly welcomed!

Grockle Fri 15-Feb-13 12:58:09

Before I had DS, I travelled 45 minutes each way to my school. I didn't mind - my partner worked long hours too so it wasn't a problem.

Now I am a parent, I wouldn't consider anything more than half an hour or so. And I have no interest in any sort of management position - teaching is hard enough when you have a family without having all that responsibility on top. Lots of people manage it perfectly well & you sound

If you feel ready then apply - you have nothing to lose & you can think about all this before you accept/ decline.

littlestressy Fri 15-Feb-13 14:00:25

You never know what the future will hold, before I had my DS I worked at a school 45-50 minutes away, not a problem with children.
Now I have a young child that commute is a problem and I wouldn't choose any further than 30 minutes.
You sound ready, don't let 'what ifs' hold you back.

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 15-Feb-13 14:03:33

I live around 30 minutes from work, and when I had small children I found that the time in the car, loud music and a bit of swearing and singing along helped me to separate work from home. So I was less stressed when I got out of the car than if I'd only been 8 minutes away.

littlestressy Fri 15-Feb-13 15:51:41

oops that should say not a problem without children

BackforGood Fri 15-Feb-13 15:58:25

Personally I wouldn't.
20mins tops when you have children and are already working long hours. As an Asst Head (depending on structure of SMT) can also mean more meetings / responsibility for being the last one there than you have now, to add on to the commute. Two years isn't long to be in a job - maybe there is some impact you can make there?
If you hated the school / job you were in now, then it would be a bit different, but if you like it, I think it's not worth putting that commute (presumably the time is when it's not snowing / there are no road closures / there are not accidents ?) onto each side of your day, to move to a school that you might not even like when you get there. In essence, it's only a title really ~ schools structure their SMTs differently and you may find you are in the same postions as you are now, with the TLR you already have.

ButterPopcorn Fri 15-Feb-13 18:29:36

Thank you all for your replies. DP thinks I should just apply and let fate decide...! BackForGood I don't hate my current school, but it's never really felt like home over the last 2 years- it is quite a small school, and quite cliquey, while the school with the vacancy is larger with lots more staff who are more diverse, and more opportunities etc. I did show the advert to my current Head and mentioned I was interested in the post. Later that day she offered that in September I could move year groups to a group of my choice if I liked, and that she would give me the role of Maths coordinator- good as it would mean more responsibility, but it wouldn't be any more pay or a particular promotion.

ButterPopcorn Fri 15-Feb-13 18:31:26

TheNebulousBoojum Yes, since I have had this eight minute journey to work, I have felt much less informed about the world as I haven't been able to listen to very much of R4's Today Programme in the morning or PM in the evening!

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 15-Feb-13 18:34:04

45 mins?!

This is a joke isn't it? Your faffing about over 45 mins journey?

I know people commuting 2hrs each way. Others having to live on couches midweek to have decent jobs.

Get. A. GRIP! Do the interviews, get the job then freakin' decide!

BelindaCarlisle Fri 15-Feb-13 23:56:52


ButterPopcorn Sat 16-Feb-13 08:59:27

Ha ha thanks WishIwasanheiress! Maybe the kick up the backside I need? Do you know teachers who have 2 hour journeys, and do they have children of their own? Some people are amazing, I know I'm spoiled with my short journey- if I wanted to arrive and leave at the same time as I do now but had a 2 hour journey I would have to leave the house at 5.30am and would get home again at 7.30pm- yikes!

BelindaCarlisle- any reasons? The time/distance?

BelindaCarlisle Sat 16-Feb-13 09:00:17

Is it worth it? mind you. No kids ..
How much would petrol be a Week?

orangeandlemons Sat 16-Feb-13 09:04:42

Everyone at my school who have kids live nearby (10-15mims). This includes the deputy heads, one of whom has moved to be nearer. This is a large secondary ( 250 staff).

Teaching is the most knack erring job on the earth, why would you want to add an journal a half to that? I'm wiped out after a day at school, and only live 5 mins away....

ButterPopcorn Sat 16-Feb-13 09:18:03

Hmm yes the petrol costs... But the pay would be almost £10k more. I think Assistant Head isn't the kind of job you want to stay in and do long term, it's the job you do for two or three years before looking for Deputy Headships, which I could then look for closer to home?!

I suppose it really is coming down to career vs kids in a way- like should I put having children on hold for a couple of years to push my career forwards (don't really want to have to!) or should I start trying for children straight after my wedding and stay in my comfy nearby job without progressing (again- don't really want that either, am a bit bored to be honest, want the next challenge!). Lots of mitigating factors of course- whether I would actually get the job, possible as yet unknown fertility issues etc.

I am beginning to realise why there are so many male Primary Head Teachers, disproportionate to the otherwise female-heavy Primary teaching population!

BelindaCarlisle Sat 16-Feb-13 11:14:36

The good thing about 45 m if you're promoted is that you won't bump into kids at home

AViewfromtheFridge Sat 16-Feb-13 11:22:48

Good point, BelindaCarlisle (Now that's something I never thought I'd say).

A number of the teachers I work with have an hour-ish commute each way. Although it does obviously add to the time you're out of the house, the journey is a chance to reflect and put a bit of distance between home and school.

Go for it!

GW297 Sat 16-Feb-13 12:20:35

Why not apply and see how you get on if you get an interview and then decide if you want to take it if you get to that point?! I personally would find a 45 min drive too far and too much in petrol but if it was for a job I loved in a great school I might be swayed. Good luck whatever you decide to do!

christinecagney Sat 16-Feb-13 12:32:14

I am a HT and it's a real pain to interview people and offer a post and then have them say that the journey is too much etc etc. If you apply for other jobs then word can get round that you are unreliable, back out after the offer (a real no- no in teaching) etc etc.

It will make you look lightweight and under prepared to not have considered the journey before you apply IMHO.

Decide if you can do it, then apply.

My advice is skip Asst Ht, go straight for a DHT post this time next year. In the meantime take your HT's offer of a change in year group and heading up a core subjectto boost your experience. You career will move just as fast as if you went to a AHT post this year, and probably.

Key thing is for you to demonstrate impact on pupil outcomes as maths leader ...take a good baseline across the school this year, including pupil premium pupils as a discrete group, then show how you have improved the standards as maths leader. You can do this better where you are than if you move. Also 2 years is a bit too short in post, it's better to stay another year, I think.

christinecagney Sat 16-Feb-13 12:33:15

Sorry, that should be 'probably faster'.

ButterPopcorn Sat 16-Feb-13 13:37:24

Thanks for that christinecagney- interesting to have a Head's point of view. I know what you mean about being a firm candidate and would not apply unless I was definitely ready to take up the post.

BelindaCarlisle Sat 16-Feb-13 13:41:44

i must say Christine that that was good advice but sheesh its annoying when you have a SLT continually bringing in CV enhancing things so THEY can show how much they have improved things

its exhausting

NobbyClark Sat 16-Feb-13 13:54:52

Hhhm, my friend at work was the deputy head before she had children, then for a couple of years after. She has now given that up and is part time. She just couldn't keep all the balls in the air and she is my teaching idol, so capable and efficient.

I am doing it the other way round, am part time with my two dc, but am branching out and becoming the SENCO next year. (Which I am terrified about!)

But seriously, despite what other people say about sleeping on sofas etc, teaching is so so tiring, as is having small children. I would wait a few years till you have had kids and are coping with the normal day to day job of teaching. And if you at the maths coordinator I wonder if you are eligible for any more TLR points?

Also, could you ask your head about going on the UPS if you haven't already, seven years qualifies you as you should now be on m6? If not, and she agrees that you are working at that upper level, (as senco you should be) that should be a good hike in your salary?

NobbyClark Sat 16-Feb-13 13:55:39

Ps can I pm you about being a SENCO!!!!!

BrianButterfield Sat 16-Feb-13 14:00:30

45 mins is not an unknown commute at my secondary, even for people with kids. To live within 10/15 mins would mean living in the market town where we teach and it's not that appealing to live in the same small town where you work.

Inclusionist Sat 16-Feb-13 20:13:51

If you want SLT I would wait for a non teaching Inclusion Manager post to come up. This is what I have and I cannot imagine having a teaching commitment and being able to do my IM job well (caveat: I do work in a massive school).

I have a toddler but because I don't teach I can retain some element of work-life balance.

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