The Life of a Deputy Headteacher: Part 3

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What work do you need to tie up before the end of term?


I have reflected on prior blogs on this topic; pondering how life would have been different for me in 1993 if I were able to read blogs written by deputy headteachers.  These types of posts would have been invaluable for me – especially in middle leadership – as I researched how to develop further into school leadership.

For me, regardless of the season, my working life always winds-up rather than winds-down. I don’t know what it is like for you, but I see my work is dependent on others, hence the frenzy to complete tasks before everyone disappears on their well-deserved holidays. Without colleagues, my work could be developed in isolation, but lacks substance without feedback, participation or required responses from individuals.

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Image: Shutterstock

Return of the Deputy:

This blog is a return-visit to the working-life of a deputy headteacher and some of the projects I am working on before the end of the academic year. In the first blog, part 1, I said ‘that the life of a deputy headteacher was relentless‘; however, what I failed to mention, was that is was also a ‘happy-continuum.’

In my last blog, The Life of a Deputy Headteacher Part 2, 7,000 of you chose to read the progress I am following as I settle into my new role and complete my first year as a deputy. In part 2, I reviewed all of the tasks I needed to complete and thanks to former-headteacher @JillBerry102, I managed to review and rank according to the needs of the school and my own.

Berry said;

“Remember things will also happen that you haven’t anticipated and they will take time too. Are the 15 things on your ‘to do’ list in order of priority? If not, can you put them in order of priority? That way, if things take longer than we expect, at least we’ve started with the most important things, and those things we don’t get to can wait until the following term (or later).

Actually deciding on priority order is challenging in itself! Deciding what goes where should come back to vision and values. What is central to your vision? What is desirable but perhaps tangential, cherry-on-the-top?”

Here is the latest photograph (1.7.15) of my whiteboard in my office. It has been tweaked significantly since the last update.

The Life of a Deputy Headteacher

Non-Stop Tweaking:

The work of any teacher is NEVER DONE. My last headteacher reminded me that we are always developing; embedding or refining. I soon discovered this in my second year of teaching in 1994 when the never-ending frenzy of planning, marking and teaching consumed every waking hour. As I have refined my practice, I have managed to master my workload, but in a new school and in a new role, it can always feel as though one is an NQT all over again!

Below, and based on the photograph above, this is my ‘realistic’ to-do list over the next 2 weeks. With Jill Berry in mind, I’ve tried to list the work that is achievable within the next two weeks before the end of the academic year. This is taken from the top-left hand section of the whiteboard (only).

  1. I must interview for x3 shadow leadership team members this week.
  2. I also must interview for x4 teaching and learning team members this week.
  3. I must to tweak our appraisal stage 3 template in preparation for performance related pay in October 2015.
  4. Our new staff induction is this Friday as part of our curriculum planning INSET day. In line with this, we have an Initial Teacher Training database that will track new staff; observation requests; placements requests and volunteers. This I hope, will build up a database of contacts we can track when vacancies arise. I am looking forward to meeting our new staff.
  5. Our Learning Policy goes to middle leadership consultation this week.
  6. A draft INSET programme will be published before the summer. This will include our plans for staff training in the first 2 days of September.
  7. A meeting with the EAL department will form our priorities for the year; looking at how we can best deploy our staff to meet the needs of students.
  8. We are hosting an IRIS Connect conference on Monday 13th July at our school. Why not come along?
  9. And finally, Safer Recruitment training online is for all of our senior leadership team to support our appointment process. We would like this complete before the end of term and are using EduCare for Education to do this; a perfect CPD solution for support staff to self-certify their CPD needs.

And for reference/comparison, here is the image I snapped in May 2015 from prior blogs; you will notice some top-right topics have now moved over to the top-left section …

Office Workload To-Do List @TeacherToolkit Quintin Kynaston

I will get back to you on this topic after the summer …


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5 thoughts on “The Life of a Deputy Headteacher: Part 3

  1. I need a whiteboard on my wall. I do this (only with 2 sections) but in a notebook. Just realised, reading this, the positive impact it would have if it was there to be viewed constantly. Thank you.

  2. If you need staff to fill long term, short term or permanent posts please contact me ASAP .
    We have well qualified staff registering with Education Complete daily. Also graduate teaching assistants and learning mentors . Call Sharon on 07947304663

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