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Envious of those seeking headship

(24 Posts)
Crossroads2 Thu 04-Jun-15 21:59:31

May I brainstorm with some people who probably know more than me?

I stopped teaching 9 years ago to raise our family of four. They are now all in school and I want to go back soon. Whilst they were little I did a masters in school leadership. I also trained as a specialist teacher.

My dream has always been to be a Headteacher. Possibly naive as I only taught for four years. I am now trying to work privately as a specialist teacher and have probably the option of tutoring in a school paid by parents. The money is good and much better than I would get teaching a class.

But every time someone tells me they want to strive towards headship I feel envious. My children also ask why I can't be a real teacher with a class and a large part of me wants to be back in the classroom with a whole class, not just one to one work. I still dream of working up to deputy/headship.

My husband thinks I am crazy. I could get £60 an hour as a specialist teacher an hour. He says I would be mad just becoming a slave in the classroom for peanuts. He also says I've had so many years off and now need to help pay off our debts, not take up a hobby.

I wondered if I should do both, private teaching as a specialist teacher and get two days in the classroom. Would that be crazy? And am I also crazy to think that at 42 I have the chance to become a Head with only a masters in school leadership and only a few years of teaching. Others tell me I couldn't do it anyway with four children.

I am desperately lost and would hugely appreciate some thoughts.

Thank you!!

fiveacres Thu 04-Jun-15 22:01:54

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something, is my first bit of advice!

Plenty of people only qualify as teachers at 42 (and beyond!) Plenty of parents go on to become head teachers. I honestly don't see why you couldn't. Generally speaking, the idea of things tends to be worse than the reality - when you're in the thick of things you just get on with it, don't you!

Would applying for teaching roles be an option? It's something I'm dithering about.

Finola1step Thu 04-Jun-15 22:07:42

You could try supply work for one or two days per week to get back into whole class teaching. You may find that the classroom is quite different to nine years ago, both good and bad.

LuluJakey1 Thu 04-Jun-15 22:08:04

I would be extremely surprised if you were taken seriously for SLT posts with 4 years teaching and a nine year gap. You would be strating again. You need to do a few years full- time classroom teaching, and a Curriculum Leader post or a significant TLR post for about another 3 years and then join a LT to take on some extra things probably unpaid for a year - that's how it works as far as I can see. By which time you will be 50ish when you are ready to start applying for LT posts- Assistant Head, Deputy Head, Head - will take you a good few years more.
Our LT all work at least 10/11 hr days +
Only you know if you can do it with 4 children. It would be hard.

Crossroads2 Fri 05-Jun-15 08:00:32

Thanks for the posts. I know I would be starting again but I still have another 25 years of working. I'm not ready to give up just get. Perhaps supply is the best idea although the thought of turning up and teaching a random class after years out is a daunting thought.

tethersend Fri 05-Jun-15 13:09:36

It might not be an either-or situation; what is your specialism?

DoloresLandingham Fri 05-Jun-15 13:46:46

You wouldn't need to start again. Look at the Future Leaders programme. It might be right up your street.

Crossroads2 Fri 05-Jun-15 13:52:46

Thanks for your replies. Hugely appreciated. I am trained as a specialist teacher in SpLD but also have four years experience in the classroom. I also have my Masters in Educational leadership but have never had any management positions. Dolores, off to investigate. Perhaps it could be something to aim at after getting back in the classroom in a couple of years time. I can't see the road ahead at all at the moment. Perhaps I just need to take one step and see where it leads me.

SunsetDreamer Fri 05-Jun-15 21:36:00

Only taught 4 years?

You'll fit right in. And you'll be able to tell all those teachers in your school how to do their jobs.


Sorry for the negativity.

LuluJakey1 Fri 05-Jun-15 21:49:08

I am not wanting to sound cheeky but if you want to do it, apply for a teaching job and get on with it. You would have no credibility with our staff until you had proved you could handle a full teaching timetable and get results with children and build relationships with all of them, and that you could handle a big TLR, leaing strategically and leading people. I am a Deputy Head and you would have no credibility on our Leadership Team without that background.

Get on with it if you want to do it. Don't do supply - no one will take you seriously if you do supply. It looks awful on a job application and I have never seen an SLT application where someone has supply on their application form.

Having an MEd counts for nothing unless you can show evidence of very hard work,outstanding teaching, results for children, experience of leading staff and students, evidence of having made effective strategic decisions and complete commitment to the profession. You need to be able to demonstrate your professional resilience in challenging situations.

At the minute you are miles away- little experience and what you have is irrelevant now, no leadership, no stickability. If you want it just do it.

AsBrightAsAJewel Fri 05-Jun-15 22:37:35

Make sure you really know why you want a headship. What is it about it that makes it worthwhile to you? What skills do you think you have to do be effective in that role? Do you have a true picture about what the job entails, as in reality it might not be what you picture it to be? A head teacher needs to be able to identify the quality of teaching and support staff in improving their skills - can you do that? Do you know what high quality teaching and learning looks like? They need to understand data across the whole school, lead curriculum development, manage personnel, manage budgets and building plans, set action and improvement plans, deal with safeguarding, deal with a range of stakeholders, undertake risk assessments, unblock the toilets, fix the computer breakdowns ..... the list goes on. Standards for Headteachers.
Your children's comments about being a real teacher and your comment about wanting your own class is not the reality of headship, so is it the idea of teaching in a school that appeals?
If you still feel headship is the dream you need more classroom experience and then a middle leadership post before you can consider even a deputy-headship. There is a shortage of school leaders, but you will still need to pay your dues and build a broader skill-set before you will be taken seriously. If you really want it, go for it, but it isn't a dream you can achieve in the next few years.

CharlesRyder Sat 06-Jun-15 07:08:38

Depending on the shortage in your area you may be able to get a SENCo position. This might involve teaching for a few days a week then on the other days your specialism would be useful.

After a few years as a SENCo I would think you would be taken seriously for an SLT post.

Scissor Sat 06-Jun-15 08:19:21

Recently appointed HT here and I have supply on my cv from when my children were small. I didn't want restrictions of part time or any significant time with no class teaching as it is so easy to miss new developments.

Am LP with 3, was back FT when youngest started primary (all very close in age) and it has taken me 9 years, 1 in class, 3 as SENCO, 5 as deputy. I have been very careful in choosing where to apply for headship so could possibly have done this in less time but am delighted to have been selected for my new role.

We do have heads appointed in nearby authority in their 20's with 5-7 years experience, key here is that they are in their 20's and usually have a lifestyle that enables work to be their primary focus.

The main thing is you can aspire to headship, the only way to get there is to get back into the classroom full time and be very resilient.

Good luck in your decision.

Crossroads2 Sat 06-Jun-15 16:42:43

I just wanted to thank everyone who has posted. You have taken the time to write in length your words of wisdom and I am hugely appreciative. I have reread your replies a few times and the muddy waters have become perhaps ever so slightly clearer.

The suggestion to spend a few years in a SENCO role is a valuable one - thank you. I had been considering applying for classroom roles but perhaps it would make more sense for me to jump in with what I feel most comfortable with after taking such a long break from the classroom. As suggested, I would also be likely to gain the opportunity to spend some time teaching once again in the classroom.

My husband thinks I am totally crazy. I get paid extremely well tutoring children with SpLD. I would get a fraction of what I earn outside of school without the pressures and he is busy trying to help me "see sense". However, I miss being in school terribly; working independently is comparatively lonely and there is no career progression. My last teaching year was also spent in a private school and, once again, my husband can't understand why I am wanting to go back into the state school system. I know any chances of senior leadership would be more realistic in a state school and I enjoy the diversity of the state sector.

I guess I just need to take one step at a time - but make that first step very soon....

Scissor Sun 07-Jun-15 09:49:43

To be a SENCo in state schools requires a mandatory National Award qualification, unless you are already experienced. you can be working towards this when appointed. The role is significantly different in expectation than the long gone days of working with groups of children on interventions. The role at present is essentially ensuring your school complies with the 2014 SEN legislation, you are dealing with multi-agencies and need super people skills (read the SEN threads to get a feel for how the role can be perceived) I have continued as SENCo while deputy and there is a real shortage of people willing to take on this role in my authority. We are not a well funded authority and I have a 0.8 teaching commitment as SENCo and deputy, as a new headteacher this will drop to 0.2 teaching.
Get into a school quick before end of term and talk to any teachers you know vaguely about the overall picture in your area as it is extremely variable in different authorities.
If you have worked in independent then your options may be wider in this sector...also be aware I am not familiar with academies or free schools SENCo requirements.
I do have colleagues who are extremely happy working in schools offering specialist provision, these jobs tend to be slightly better paid.

Crossroads2 Sun 07-Jun-15 10:34:32

Scissor, thank you for your detailed post and words of wisdom. Lots to think about. I am trained as a specialist teacher and have AMBDA.

LuluJakey1 Sun 07-Jun-15 10:39:57

Do you have QTS and a SENCO qualification? I might be wrong but AMBDA does not give you a SENCO qualification.

Scissor Sun 07-Jun-15 11:00:00

Was not clear on the experience expectation, I am not clear on year but around 2008 the requirement to hold National Award was brought in but there was no requirement for existing SENCOs who held QTS to take the qualification, though many did. There was a lot of confusion in my local area over whether as an experienced SENCo who moved school you would then be required to take the qualification as a new appointee, also whether extremely well qualified staff of now non existent SENSS would be exempt, as I recollect they were not.
The legal requirement to hold National Award is mandatory within 3 years of appointment. It is Masters level, takes at least a year part time, and is tough with a heavy teaching commitment. Unfortunately there is no complete exemption for other SEN Masters level qualifications, though you may find exemptions from some elements.

Crossroads2 Sun 07-Jun-15 11:18:27

I'm confused now about want I have. Could you help Scissors. I have QTS and have trained last year getting the OCR5 and OCR7. Two year intensive course.

Scissor Sun 07-Jun-15 13:02:10

It is called "National Award for SEN Coordination"...sometimes abbreviated to NASENCO. Have a google, there's loads of info. You can enter and qualify when in post not before.

Scissor Sun 07-Jun-15 13:07:43

OCR 5 and 7 would prob exempt you from part of the inclusive learning environment element but not from the collaborative working practices.

peacoat Sun 07-Jun-15 14:00:53

The National Award is compulsory but I didn't find it too much tbh.

Scissor how on earth did you manage SENCO and DHT on a 0.8 teaching load? shock

I'm secondary SENCO and don't teach anywhere near that much, but still struggling to get it all done!

Scissor Sun 07-Jun-15 21:17:02

Am on that at present ..dh, 0.8 senco etc etc and going to bed now. 32 books to be marked are still sat in a bag and children have been fed with new potatoes, carrots and beans accompanying a rather delicious beef stew I cooked and froze in 2013. Life is a million compromises and my children have developed cast iron constitutions...that or starve.

peacoat Mon 08-Jun-15 21:16:03


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