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Pathways to headship

(16 Posts)
captainflash Fri 06-Mar-20 17:35:42

Welcoming any advice in this area.
I’m currently an assistant head in a three form entry primary. Am paid well on the leadership scale and only have a teaching commitment of 1 day per week. This is my 15th year in teaching if relevant and I’ve taught across all key stages and in 4 different schools.

However, I want to be a headteacher and feel stuck in my current role. When looking at headships, most state that they want experience as a DHT, even if I can meet many other elements of the person spec. We are also getting a new headteacher this year who wants to change my role greatly to specialise in inclusion and behaviour. The new HT also views the DHT / AHT role differently from our currently head and I fear a demotion (in effect) is likely to happen.

I’m a bit stuck on what to do. Do I hold it out and keep looking for a magical job that will accept AHT experience? Or, look for a sideways move to DHT- even though most of these advertised are on a lower scale than I’m currently on? That would at least give me a title!

Any advice? Has anyone made the step from AHT to HT? Thank you

OP’s posts: |
AnduinsGirl Fri 06-Mar-20 18:15:07

I'm in a very similar place to you career-wise. 13 years IN, AHT in large inner city school in deprived area, etc. Zero teaching commitment as a massive part of my remit is attendance, admissions and safeguarding. I am also looking to move on as my part er and I want to relocate. I am currently on the NPQH but will be applying for headships before this is complete. To be honest, most of the jobs I've seen have welcomed applications from either existing heads or anyone with suitable SLT experience. I bet with your experience of a large school you'd definitely be considered for some primary headships.

AnduinsGirl Fri 06-Mar-20 18:17:36

Oh but I would say that given you're paid well on the L scale, the headships you'd be likely to get wouldn't be much of a pay rise... But personally I'm OK with that as I'm well paid and will be starting the next phase in my career. Really wish you luck!

PotteringAlong Fri 06-Mar-20 18:19:36

I would move for a DHT role if you want to be a head.

A 3 form entry primary is unusually large so you will be paid a disproportionally high salary for your role compared to other schools.

captainflash Fri 06-Mar-20 19:24:25

Thanks for the replies. I’ve asked about doing my NPQH but our school isn’t in the right category and won’t get any subsidised funding. With everything as is in budgets, I’ve been told they can’t justify the spend on just my CPD. I can’t afford it myself either.

I also live in an annoying part of the county that is a very small LEA but one that has a highly desirable short commute to London where people like to relocate from. Hence I know of some heads who have been teaching for less time than I have but who have been a quick move up the ranks deputy in London.

I’m also worried about trying to sell myself as a deputy on a lower scale as it’s really only a strategic move for a short time. Would people see through that and actually want to appoint me? There’s once currently not too far away advertising a deputy on L4-7- I’m a few points up from that!

I just feel really stuck and disheartened

OP’s posts: |
EstebanTheMagnificent Fri 06-Mar-20 19:41:17

Start applying for headships where DHT experience is ‘desirable’ but not ‘essential’. Lots of smaller schools don’t have AHTs at all and your experience is likely to be comparable to a newish deputy in a small school.

captainflash Sat 07-Mar-20 08:13:37

Thanks Esteban. I know that my experience is equivalent to a deputy in other settings but it’s hard to sell. I have ‘run’ the whole school on my own numerous times, control large sections of the budget, am DSL, sit in on all meetings with LEA partners and advisors, line manage numerous staff, mentor NQT’s and students, lead English throughout the school....
Some deputy positions I’ve seen locally have a smaller job description than that!

But, in all the headship adverts in my authority (and I look at the two neighbouring as well) this year, they have all asked for headship or deputy as essential criteria. Oh the lack of the title!

OP’s posts: |
EstebanTheMagnificent Sat 07-Mar-20 08:37:30

But have you actually applied and been told that you were not shortlisted explicitly for that reason? I don't normally go in for eduTwitter buzzwords but I think this is one of those 10% braver moments.

I think you overestimate the level of competition at headteacher recruitment level. Many people really don't want to be headteachers and it can be really hard to recruit.

AnduinsGirl Sat 07-Mar-20 08:53:47

I think you overestimate the level of competition at headteacher recruitment level. Many people really don't want to be headteachers and it can be really hard to recruit.
I completely agree. An outstanding first school near to me has finished taking applications for their headship for September. Lovely school, lovely area...they had 9 applications.

captainflash Sat 07-Mar-20 10:19:07

I applied for one after Christmas and was told that my title was an issue. I was told that by the LEA advisor who supports all schools with their headteacher shortlisting sad

I have asked for a ‘professional profile’ meeting with our SIP. I’ll see if she can come up with any further advice

OP’s posts: |
AnduinsGirl Sat 07-Mar-20 10:38:56

See I think that's ridiculous! When you have all the input and responsibility you obviously do, why on earth would the title matter?

annie987 Sat 07-Mar-20 15:55:15

If you’ve only applied for one, apply for more.
We’ve recently advertised 2 headships in our trust and one had 2 applicants and the other only 5!

annie987 Sat 07-Mar-20 15:56:28

Meant to add - you’d be crazy to move into a DHT role just for the title.
Would the new head consider changing your title to DHT when he changes your role?

EstebanTheMagnificent Sat 07-Mar-20 16:50:07

Go back to the LEA advisor. Ask for a specific breakdown of the skills and experiences that you need. They cannot insist that you have had a specific title if your substantive role is identical to the portfolio of a DHT in other schools.

Keep applying. Apply out of your LEA. If you can manage the London commute then consider applying to London schools. Consider applying for maternity cover roles if they come up; they are even less popular than permanent headships and can be a foot in the door.

Start networking. Go to your local teachmeets, PiXL events etc and start making connections outside of your school.

Finally, have you looked into Future Leaders?

captainflash Sun 08-Mar-20 13:41:01

I will keep applying. I think I need to write a letter alongside any application that outlines why my AHT title equates very directly to a DHT in another setting. Just to be really clear!

Esteban- you have some very clear points that I shall take on board. I cannot commute to London though. That would be impossible. It’s more that I live in a very nice part of the country that people keep relocating to. I was at a local research teachmeet and there were four newish heads who had all moved down to us from London!

I have asked the new head and chair of governors if they would be interested in changing my title as there is some staff restructure proposed. I don’t want any extra pay- just the title really. I have flat out been told no. If anything, the incoming head wants to completely refocus my role into one which would give me less whole school responsibilities as she doesn’t see the AHT in the same hierarchy as her and the DHT. I’m feeling very down about it sad

OP’s posts: |
EstebanTheMagnificent Sun 08-Mar-20 14:07:27

Good luck OP smile

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