When do you know you're ready to be a deputy?(22 Posts)
I've been teaching (primary) for almost 18 years. Recently it's been part-time but I've worked in a few different schools in lots of different roles. I always thought I'd look for the next step when ds started secondary school, but things are not great at work at the moment so I might bring the plan forward a bit. However, I had this notion that I would know when I was ready for being a deputy, and I'm not sure I do! Should I just go for it?!
I'm a primary deputy and it hadn't occurred to me that I was ready until I read a person specification and realised I could tick all of the boxes. Have a look at some job descriptions and person specs and you might be pleasantly surprised. Good luck!
Thank you. Is it a massive step up from being a class teacher? In terms of workload and pressure? Our deputy not a great role model, she spends a lot of time drinking coffee! (no class responsibility!)
Can I ask the previous poster what sort of things are your main responsibilities? Do you have a class as well? Would you be able to describe an average (I know!!) day?
There seems seem be a lot of assistant head vacancies in our area as well as deputy ones. Makes anyone know the difference?! Is it deputy head work but less pay?!
Deputy heads tend to have 25% teaching - that is certainly not the case with most deputies I know. A very few have limited teaching role, but most I know have an almost fulltime teaching commitment, as well as their deputy responsibilities. I was a deputy for many years and had one afternoon a week for my leadership responsibilities.
The level of teaching responsibility seems to be largely based on the size of the school. In a smaller school you will probably have some class responsibility with possibly only a day or two out of class. Your salary will be determined by the number of children in the school so a smaller school are more likely to employ an inexperienced deputy.
A deputy head will often be responsible for assessment and data analysis and more often than not a core subject. The hardest part of being a deputy is that you become everyone's sounding board. The teachers will all complain to you constantly and rely on you to solve their problems and the head will complain to you about the teachers. You really do become the meat in the sandwich!
I teach for 3 days and would prefer not to teach at all! I never use my ppa time for my class work and sometimes feel I am not fulfilling either my class teaching role or my deputy role as I should as I struggle to manage my workload. Deputies I know who have no teaching responsibility say they do less work at home than they did as a class teacher but I would definitely say I do more.
My DH responsibilities that come to mind;
Assessment coordinator (responsible for monitoring data, focusing on specific groups, presenting to governors, coordinating SATs and other assessments, lead all pupil progress meetings), manage Pupil Premium budget and evaluate its impact, be part of Safeguarding team with HT, TA line manager, coordinate performance management across school and PM a group of teachers and all the TAs, timetabling across school, organising school and staff events (Harvest Festival, Christmas performances, Easter), lead additional assemblies, lead school council, write sections of school development, write various whole school policies, additional playtime and lunchtime duties, behaviour management, extra SLT meetings, lesson observations, mentoring staff, coordinate student placements, be on call to support staff when challenging pupils melt-down, curriculum lead (monitoring continuity and progress in SoW in all year groups), Eco-council and Literacy Lead.
Oh and, teach own class four days a week (one afternoon release for PPA and one afternoon release for SLT time) - including at times a SATs year group! That is not even in a small school!
Ooo that sounds a lot.
I suppose then, give that list of responsibilities and what you say about not having time to do things well, is it worth it?....
It was OK for many years - my children have grown up and left home, so I had more time than some staff. I loved my school, the staff and the children so I made it work - but it was totally exhausting and all consuming. For some years I was SENCo as well .... but that's a different story!
But as I have got closer to retirement I struggled, so that is why I dropped back to being "just" a part-time class teacher for my last few years in the job.
I think that's what I'd like, to shape a school. I'm finding myself questioning decisions our SLT make, which I've not done as much in the past as now. The last few years at my current school have dented my confidence. I think I could do a good job of being on an SLT but just don't know if I'm good enough. But that could be a good thing?
I have had whole school responsibilities in the past (pre-DS). I've been asking/suggesting things I could take on at my current school, but I'm largely over-looked, I think because I'm part-time - our deputy has made no secret of the fact she doesn't like job shares. I thought about asking to shadow her but I'm 99% certain I'd be laughed at for even daring to ask!
That's a good approach. Perhaps not laugh, but a smirk and a dismissive smile. Been the way recently. But going down the CPD route might work.
I enjoyed the deputy head role as it's a bit of both. I was non class based but did the equivalent of 2.5 days teaching (setting and PPA cover). I was SENCo and had responsibilities such as assessment, a phase and a core subject (one form entry primary). You are, as has been said, constantly having to support teachers and listen to their moans and concerns and you tend to be the link between the staff and the head. However, you also play a part in shaping the school and you get a chance to have impact on the whole school rather than just your class. If you do apply I would definitely go for a post that is non class based, with some teaching responsibilities. In my opinion, you can't be a successful deputy and a class teacher at the same time.
I was going to wait until DS was in secondary school before I did my PGCE. A very sensible friend pointed out I'd be far better off doing it when he was still in primary school where I knew all the other parents and could phone someone up to pick him up for me/bail me out if I got stuck. Also, he'd only have one big change at a time, rather than two - at least his school remained constant even if the person looking after him after school changed. How right they were. And don't assume that once they're at secondary it gets easier. You might be needed less often, but when they do need you, they really really need you. So don't hold out for them to be at secondary before you take the next step.
Do you lead a core subject? Have you done NPQML or NPQSL, or would you consider doing them? Are you or have you been a phase or year group leader? All of those things are a good step towards being deputy and if you haven't done them, would be your logical next step. They'll give you the chance to practice the skills a deputy needs and mean you're more ready for the job.
In my opinion (and that of others I've spoken to), deputy is the hardest job in the school. You're the jam in the sandwich, getting crap from above and below. I did 2 terms as an acting deputy in my last school and it was incredibly difficult. I had a job list as long as the one above and had to maintain the highest standards with my class too, all on 1 morning a week out of class as deputy and an afternoon for my ppa. I've now taken a sideways move to a larger school as an assistant head in order to gain broader management experience as I realised I wanted to work in a school where there were other skilled leaders I could learn from. I reckon that the move to deputy has to be carefully planned as part of a longer term career progression. Do you intend to be a deputy for the rest of your career, or do you see it as a stepping stone to Head? What experience do you currently not have which you think you'd need to be a head? eg have you worked in more than one key stage? How many different subjects have you led? The broader the experience you can get before becoming deputy, the easier the job will be.
I have taught in 2 key stages and led two core subjects. I haven't led a phase. Will see what's out there! See who might want me!
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