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Applying for Head of Year

(22 Posts)
LaLaletsgo Wed 03-Jun-20 17:26:39

I am currently applying for a Head of Year position; it will be either Year 7 or Year 8, Independent Senior.
I’m excited, nervous and really, really want the job.
So I have a few questions...
1. Any tips for the application?
2. For those with experience - What is the job really like?
3. What do you think makes a good head of year?

OP’s posts: |
IamChipmunk Thu 04-Jun-20 15:12:25

Is it a teaching position or for a non teacher?
Ive been a HoY for 12 yrs also teach (lots of schools have it just as a pastoral role for a non teacher these days). We were LEA but been an academy for years.

If its for yr 7 then you need to think about transition and how you will manage that, especially this yr as it going to be a complete mess!
If year 8 then does the school do early options? How will you support that?
You need to show an awareness of safeguarding procedures.

The job is amazing and very hard work!
I have little (none!) ppa time left after doing HoY stuff and that has to take priority so be prepared for your lessons to take a hit.
You will probably wonder what the hell you have done and then by xmas be in the swing of things! (Although it may all be totally different this year)
Parents are the worst part for me. After 12 years im reasonably sick of being shouted at and told how to do my job!! you need to remember its not personal.
You also cannot fix everything or save every child.
Depending on your catchment there may be lots of meetings to attend. I have quite a bit to do with Social Services and the HUB.
Other agencies can be highly frustrating.
Lots of people forget school is for education!
Expect to advise parents on everything. They expect you to be able to even if its not your remit or you dont know!
Expect to have to deal with horrendous issues like neglect and abuse and have to try and get the child to function within the school successfully.
Expect lots of things that happen to 'your' kids to make to very angry. And really angry when you cant fix them.
You rarely get thanked. By anyone!
When kids thank you for doing things that are tiny for you but massive to them then its fab!
You need to understand that what works for one child doesnt work for another. You will develop an armoury of things to try and deal with different situations.

In terms of what makes a good HoY. Unflappable, good at dealing with stress.
Good time management.
Patient, flexible with behaviour strategies.
Assertive but approachable.
Kind but have clear and firm boundaries. Express these.
Have a genuine interest in making things as good as can be for 'your' kids whatever that may be.
Be able to make a quick judgement and stand by this (comes with experience)
Follow your gut instinct it is very very rarely wrong.
Know that kids lie. To your face. Nice ones who you trust. (Navigating this also comes with experience)
Cctv is your friend in these situations!!

Apologies, Ive ended up rambling a lot!!

Hope some of it is helpful?!

LaLaletsgo Thu 04-Jun-20 15:20:26

Incredibly helpful @IamChipmunk, thank you so much.
I am a teacher and it’s an internal promotion, so will be doing it alongside teaching.

OP’s posts: |
IamChipmunk Thu 04-Jun-20 15:39:46

Ok so talking about time management is essential. Also how you plan to manage the teaching element. I have people coming in the middle of lessons to ask stuff or tell me that stuff has happened.

Talk about support you will give to staff in terms of behaviour management.
I sit at the back of other peoples classrooms and then give feedback and support but this takes up time. Amongst other things.
Talk about communication with parents. Having them on board is key and often they are not.
Make positive calls when you can. Quite often with the job you end up doing all the negative stuff.
How will you engage with every child in the year group not just the naughty ones.
I have sone lovely ones that i hardly get to talk to. (Break and lunch is the answer!) I used to teach a foundation subject so always tried to get a top set in my yr group. Great way to build relationships with the nice kids.
I do a ks4 subject now so cant rely on that.

Think of some examples when you have managed tricky situations or have some answers eg if a child tells you to shut up what would you do. If they tell you they are going to kill themselves or dont want to go home what would you do?

Feel free to ask if there is anything else that would be useful?

Muppetry76 Thu 04-Jun-20 15:45:00

Be a good team leader, be supportive of your team. Know when to delegate (without dropping all the shit on your pastoral Officer) and when to escalate. Keep a good diary, don't put off doing the mundane meetings/coaching.

Kids will take the piss, and give them an inch, they'll take 10 miles. Firm but fair. But accommodating.

September (or whenever we get to go back) is going to be a shambles and I'm already having nightmares about y6 coming up without having had any education or pastoral care for 6m.


Box of tissues in your desk drawer. Spare shoes when kids go awol.

LaLaletsgo Thu 04-Jun-20 17:53:55

Excellent tips. So do you think it’s worth talking about the difficulties of lockdown and how I would address them, in case we aren’t suddenly back to normal in September?

OP’s posts: |
IamChipmunk Fri 05-Jun-20 07:16:11

Yes, I wouldnt make it the focus but i would show that you have considered it.
Good luck!

Malbecfan Sat 06-Jun-20 11:46:57

I had a HoY interview way back in the 1990s that I would have loved to have got. It was for year 8. I was asked what strategies I would employ to learn all their names and would it be an issue? I taught them all anyway in my subject so said that as a teacher of this subject it was one of the issues of the job and I had a good memory and always used kids' names in lessons.

I didn't get the job, mostly due to my face not fitting that school. Funnily enough, less than a year later, I nailed a HoD role in a much bigger school 250 miles away, so I don't think it was my pastoral shortcomings. I have toyed with applying since then for HoY roles but as a p/t now, I doubt I'd be considered. Good luck

Lalaletsgo Mon 08-Jun-20 18:45:50

Thought I’d update to say I have an interview! So excited and very, very nervous!

IamChipmunk Mon 08-Jun-20 20:48:51

Good luck!
Is there anything else we can help with?

Lalaletsgo Mon 08-Jun-20 22:55:54

Thank you!
I think my only question is working with outside agencies (as in why and how to) as I don’t have any experience with this.

IamChipmunk Tue 09-Jun-20 08:36:00

Some of the most common outside agencies I work with. Social workers (to get/pass on info) and CiN/CP mtgs or for CiC kids.
Camhs- as above
Children First Hub workers (kind of pre social worker support for families)
Ed psych
YOT workers
EWO (we have our own in school but some places buy them in)

It would be for the HoY to decide if they wanted to start a CAF or do a HUB referral.
Concerns above this are taken on by the safeguarding team at my school. And then sent back down to HoYs to attend mtgs.

Realistically in the first few months of the job you would ask other experienced HoYs if they thought you should be escalating things or take advice from your line manager (SLT in my school). But I would be wanting to show in an interview that I felt confident in knowing when to escalate (even if you dont feel it!!)

I am required to pass on info to lot of different people and attend mtgs just as 'education' or sometimes we end up chairing.
I find other agencies like schools to do the CAF (and chair and be the lead professional) to dodge the work of writing it up and following it up (but im cynical after so long!). Even tho its not always an education issue although clearly pastoral/home/social issues can be closely interlinked with education.

If its yr 7 you need to consider attending mtgs and things at primaries from now to get urself in the loop with incoming kids.

But with people not being able to cross bubbles etc I suspect this wont happen as normal this yr. To the detriment of the kids (and us as Heads of Year trying to deal with new kids with little info).

Hope thats helpful...
Apologies apparently I just ramble huge amounts of info about my job blushgrin

IamChipmunk Tue 09-Jun-20 08:38:09

If you want some specific scenarios and then info on who I would refer to and why then I can do a few?

Lalaletsgo Tue 09-Jun-20 11:03:08

Incredibly helpful again, thanks so much. If you are able to give me some specific scenarios then that would be really amazing and help me understand it more. I’m so grateful.

IamChipmunk Tue 09-Jun-20 15:13:23

Ok here goes! Based on pre lockdown!

Parent complaining child will do no h/w. Poor behaviour at home escalating to aggression. Poor behaviour in school. Risk of exclusion, no improvements despite meetings with parents. Parent complains child is out of control at home.
Firstly follow all steps in school so for us this would be mentor for anger management, intensive support from HoY via report system. Possible time out card. Pupil profile with info for staff. If no improvemnt then consider CAF mtg.
This gets things on paper and means you can refer to other agencies. Lots wont pick things up until you can show you have tried all avenues. You can then invite HUB worker who will come and advise and see if they meet criteria for referal.
At CAF explain to parents other support we can offer. Parents can self refer to HUB or we can refer if they meet criteria.

CiN or CP is usually triggered by SS.things like Domestic violence, drugs, alcohol or neglect.
CiN can be dropped to CAF and then handed to school to deal with. You would re refer if you felt issue were escallating again.

Child you are worried about in terms of mental health. Again try all in school support first. mentoring, pupil profile for staff, any relevant groups (we do mindfullness). Would councelling be appropriate (we sporadically have a Kooth councellor).
I would then look at what else we could offer so referral to Ed Psych or Future in Mind practitioner to signpost for further referral. You would also consider if camhs is appropriate. waiting list is super long in my area and FIM practitioner can do the referral quicker if they deem it appropriate.

Naughty child.
Follow school behaviour policy to the letter. Meet parents? Communicate all issues with parents explain risk of exclusion. esclate to SLT level if needed. Mentor, time out card if appropriate, step out from lessons.
We do a form tutor report, then a HoY report and then SLT if no improvement.
You need to know what ur school have
Consider if there are any other issues eg problems at home or historical issues of DV for example. If so you might consider a CAF. If not then Ed psych referral to rule out any SEN and then consider managed move, alternative provision, part time table.

Some of these examples are very specific to my school and area but should give you an idea of the kinds of things we do.
Also some would have a long time scale. Across a school year sometimes.

Let me know if anything isn't clear or if you want more specific examples.
Also apologies for SPaG!

Lalaletsgo Tue 09-Jun-20 15:32:02

These are amazing examples, thanks so much. The only abbreviation I don’t know is ‘CAF’, could you tell me what it is?

IamChipmunk Tue 09-Jun-20 17:32:54

Here is the official definition-
The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is the process to identify children who have additional needs, assess needs and strengths and to provide them with a co-ordinated, multi agency support plan to meet those needs.

Multi agency plan sums it up well although you can get stuck with a CAF and no other agencies involved which then may as well be a PSP (pastoral support plan) but that doesnt hold as much weight with outside agencies.
You could actually add a psp to the list of things to do in school on my previous example!!

I think some areas call it a TAF, team around the family... but its the same thing.

MissOrMs Wed 10-Jun-20 19:40:03

I too am applying for a HoY role which is for year 7. I'm thinking I'll be asked how I'll address transition for this cohort since they are missing their usual transition days and some will have not had formal education in almost 6 months.

Has anyone any suggestions? Have any schools organised anything just yet?

IamChipmunk Wed 10-Jun-20 21:00:41

All our transition info is going online. We have a transition video which we always take to the primaries that is a virtual tour. We have added to this with bits from the head, relevant assistant head and HoY.
Parents have relevant contact details to ask questions.
We have designed a booklet for pupils to look at with faqs.
Form tutors are going to ring all pupils to introduce themselves. HoY to ring more complex pupils .

We have also requested info from primaries via email where we would usually meet them and discuss.

Then in Sept Im going to hope for the bloody best and scrabble frantically around for info on kids i dont know who dont know me and pray they can just come in as normal and there are not too many who are too anxious to come thru the door...

IamChipmunk Sat 11-Jul-20 07:48:45

How did you get on?

LaLaletsgo Sat 11-Jul-20 08:09:17

I got the job! Thanks for all the support!

OP’s posts: |
IamChipmunk Sun 12-Jul-20 09:08:03

Congratulations!! Great news. roll on the fun and games of September!

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