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Promoted to Head of Year - advice, please

(18 Posts)
thelaundryfairy Tue 22-Dec-15 16:08:21

I´ve been at my school for three years and have been promoted to Head of Years 10 and 11 with effect from 1 January, 2016. It´s an independent school, mixed. I teach English to Years 9 to 13, (GCSE and A Level).

I am the "Academic" Head; there is also a "Pastoral" Head. There are approximately 350 students in these two year groups in total, split across 13 tutor groups.

Please give me any advice whatsoever, or just general comments - about meetings with SMT, bringing in changes, dealing with tutors, as well as everything related to the students themselves. I would be so grateful. Thank you.

BrendaandEddie Tue 22-Dec-15 16:09:03

you have two different types? I would like to see how you manage the crossover!!
IME one is normally to do wiht the other

thelaundryfairy Tue 22-Dec-15 16:21:24

Great point, BrendaandEddie, and I agree. In my interview, they asked me a lot about the crossover between the two and I said very clearly I felt they went hand in hand and gave some examples which I could see they really liked.

I think possibly in the near future they are contemplating switching the two of us to Head of Year 10 and Head of Year 11 rather than Academic and Pastoral Heads of the two year groups together.

The Pastoral Head has been in the job for a while and in my opinion does it very well. We have discussed a little and will discuss more deeply when we get back from the holidays (end of term was incredibly busy!) We realise there will be areas of crossover and basically the success depends on the two of us being consistent. Ultimately, I suppose, a student has to receive adequate pastoral care before he or she is ready to learn; if he or she is hungry, tired, worried, sad, etc. then there is really little point trying to teach them algebra or photosynthesis. The two of us will need to work with that student to get them to a point where they are fit for learning.

I´d really appreciate any advice and ideas. I am looking forward to the job, but also nervous about taking on such a responsibility.

IguanaTail Tue 22-Dec-15 16:21:55

Yours will be to do with intervention.

Ignore "current" or "working at" grades - they are never good indicators - go with predicted grades. There will already be things in place - so go from there.

Sparklycat Tue 22-Dec-15 16:30:58

Gosh yr10 and yr11! That's a lot of work.

PenelopePitstops Tue 22-Dec-15 16:31:45

Ignore working at grades, are you mad?!

Predicted grades don't exist anymore (shouldn't). Working at grades are a clear indicator of exactly where pupils are. Predicted grades are usually bollocks brought on by wishful thinking.

IguanaTail Tue 22-Dec-15 16:38:20

Our analysis has shown "working at" grades to be wildly inaccurate across several years and in different schools. When we have analysed predicted grades, those coming immediately after y11 mocks are the most accurate.

"Working at" grades can be skewed too much in our findings - departments raise them the encourage, depress them to give kids a kick up the bum, don't include controlled assessments, do include them etc etc.

Predicted grades are still widely used in our area and sixth forms look at these to make offers. That might not be the case where you are, penelope but no I'm not "mad?!"

thelaundryfairy Tue 22-Dec-15 16:39:30

Thanks, all.

At our school, predicted grades are most vanity / optimism so I am focusing on sixth form entry criteria for our weakest Year 11 students at the moment. The mock exams. are next month and will provide the most realistic picture of where they´re at.

What sort of intervention works best in your schools, or in your experience?

thelaundryfairy Tue 22-Dec-15 16:39:52

*mostly, not most(!)

PenelopePitstops Tue 22-Dec-15 16:41:20

I stand corrected. In our area predict grades have gone due to wild inaccuracies. Working at grades tend to be based for year 11 on mocks and ongoing assessment. Same in other years, half termly assessment that forms the working at.

Predicted grades aren't a thing here at all.

SisterViktorine Wed 23-Dec-15 09:11:07

Will you not be working largely at the direction of the Academic Deputy?

My DH has that role in a 13-18 and he definitely would not be expecting Head of Year to be deciding on intervention etc. I imagine he would be needing you to be on the Tutors- checking they were ensuring prep was done to a good standard and that kids turned up to intervention etc. Phoning parents where either of the above was not happening.

I would think you might also play a role in ensuring data was in and presented correctly- but not the analysis and action planning.

I'm just guessing though and it will be different in every school. Will you be having weekly/ fortnightly meetings with the Academic Deputy? I would have thought this is where your short term work plans will be generated.

IguanaTail Wed 23-Dec-15 10:22:35

There must be a job description!

thelaundryfairy Thu 24-Dec-15 12:33:04

Thanks again to all.

Viktorine, we don't have an Academic Deputy, I will report to the Head.

IguanaTail, yes, there is a job description but it's massive (8 sides of A4) and incredibly vague.

Olivo Tue 29-Dec-15 19:01:48

I am a head of year at ks4- my role is both pastoral and academic. From an academic PoV, I monitor behaviour, effort and homework via half termly reports and identify students for and lead the mentoring system. In my school however, the pastoral aspect takes up 95 per cent of my time, we have very varied intake. Those underachieving are nearly always needing pastoral help anyway, I'd hate to have to stay to separate it.

My biggest barrier has been one or two tutors who are old than me ( I am 20 yrs in) . I have had to have a few awkward conversations the getting things done, but I am learning to develop a thick skin!

MrsS1980 Tue 29-Dec-15 19:07:06

I would start off by concentrating on levels of progress. Start intervention with any pupils not making 3. Constant communication with your heads of EBacc subjects and also make sure you know where your groups are at in comparison to your whole cohort, especially the Disadvantaged and SEN pupils. HTH

thelaundryfairy Tue 29-Dec-15 20:44:35

Thanks both (and all previous posters).

What kinds of intervention have worked best for your students?

CasualJersey Tue 12-Jan-16 21:19:25

What intervention already happens?
What funding is available for small group tuition!
What are HOD'sdoing to support specific groups?
Who are you strongest/ weakest? What is you gap between non Dis & dis pupils?
What is your attendance like?
These are all factors you need to consider before making plans.
Intervention isn't yours to plan, rather yours to oversee.

shouldiblowthewhistle Fri 15-Jan-16 19:13:39

Congratulations! What a great job! smile

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