The Life of a Deputy Headteacher: Part 6

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What does a typical day look like in ‘the life of a deputy headteacher’?

This post has been written prior to the Easter season and reflect the period between January to March 2016.


This is the 6th in the series of The Life of a Deputy Headteacher and it is just my story.

The reasons I write this is to share how I am developing in my role as a deputy headteacher; to offer a place to reflect and share with other senior and aspiring leaders. The online forum as it today did not exist for me a decade ago, so it is vital that we share our work with each other to encourage and strengthen the important work of school leaders everywhere.

If you were in charge of a large secondary school, how would you go about your day? What I hope to offer here is a snapshot into (one of) my working days; to help the reader to compare, suggest or to use for reflection.

A Day in the Life of …

In this post, I thought I would capture ‘a day in the life of …’ a senior teacher. It has been written as ‘a to-do list’ and is to be read in this way. I have reflected back on a particular day from last week, a day when I was not teaching. In most parts, I have recorded what events happened or what I was doing/thinking at that period of time. Hopefully, this will give you a flavour of what life is like as a deputy headteacher working in a large Inner-London secondary school.

10 Things Before Morning Break:

I am the designated lead for the whole-school during the morning. The headteacher is off-site and returning to school for interviews at lunchtime.

  1. Arrive 7am; make a quick coffee!
  2. Read, delete 2 or 3 emails.
  3. Check cover diary / planned absences.
  4. Read up and prepare for governors meeting next week.
  5. Lead staff SLT briefing – day ahead; duties etc.
  6. Cover check – eSafety assemblies cancelled; inform staff before period 1 starts.
  7. Gate duty; deal with an early and unplanned site delivery – ensure student safety.
  8. 10 minute (unplanned) confidential chat with colleague.
  9. Check calendar; walkie-talkie on and delete emails.
  10. Catch up with cover manager and office staff; walk ground floor.

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‘How’s the day going so far?’

Image: Shutterstock

10 Things After Break / Before Lunch:

  1. Resolving minor incidents with students over break.
  2. Walk the ground floor/site of school.
  3. Updating any cover issues that have emerged since the beginning of the day.
  4. Line management meeting (core subject) – one period.
  5. Read, delete 2 or 3 emails.
  6. Organise online filing system (via Google documents) for upcoming whole-school appraisal.
  7. Contact all school leaders (line-managers) to inform them of mid-year review procedures.
  8. Plan the thinking behind Coaching Proposals in-time for sharing ideas at the second leadership team meeting after Easter.
  9. Grab another quick coffee!
  10. Spend 15 minutes thinking through lesson planning for the week ahead.

To support this blog, below is my to-do list; it’s remarkably concise this month!

Life of a Deputy Headteacher Quintin Kynaston Part 6

The image was taken on Friday 11th March 2016.

10 Things During Lunch:

  1. Stand on the lunch queue to supervise student movement; support colleagues.
  2. Have pep-talks with students.
  3. Catch up with colleagues as they wander past the diner.
  4. Tour the site for health and safety; including the playground.
  5. Report site issues to the premises team on walkabout.
  6. Check student toilets.
  7. Visit year team floors as each group of students  lower and upper school) have opposing lunch and tutor times.
  8. Deal with any staffing / cover issues. Read, delete 2 or 3 emails.
  9. Repeat lunch queue duty point.
  10. Grab a quick bite to eat (during the 2nd half of the 2nd lunch duty = 120 divided into two lunchtimes of 50 minutes).

10 Things After Lunch:

  1. Close student toilets, supporting the cleaning staff; usher students off the playground and into lessons.
  2. On duty period 5: walk the site visiting lessons, picking up ‘lost students’ and resolving any calls.
  3. Pop into one or two lessons and say hello … return duty board and radio for walkabout changeover.
  4. Period 6 onwards: scoff the last (cold) parts of my lunch/drink; bin it!
  5. Check cover for week ahead; skim-read, delete 2 or 3 emails.
  6. Make 2 (brief) important phone calls regarding recruitment.
  7. Line management meeting with a support member of staff I work with.
  8. Arrive early to open school gates and stand at school exit.
  9. Take a brief (20minute) well-being moment to survey the surrounding area and the fluffy stuff!

It’s nearly the weekend …

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“Right, let’s move! … Tuck your shirt in! … Fix your top-button …”

Image: Shutterstock

10 Things After School:

  1. Gate duty for 30 minutes to ensure students leave the school gates safely.
  2. Speak with parents and colleagues at the school gate.
  3. Close student gates; supervise the school reception as students, staff and parents enter and leave.
  4. Oversee senior leadership detentions and community service.
  5. Speak with colleagues who pop into my office (various conversations).
  6. Recycle, bin papers on my desk.
  7. Read, delete 2 or 3 emails.
  8. Prepare bag for (which belongings) to take home for weekend.
  9. Get changed for staff well-being football.
  10. Say goodbye to one of my Support Staff colleagues I have been working with for the past 18 months.

Just a typical day! Why not follow @SLTchat for leadership support?

shutterstock_363669971 Businessman making OK sign

(You made it!) ‘Well done kids! … ‘What a fabulous piece of work! … Good job NQT … 

Image: Shutterstock


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3 thoughts on “The Life of a Deputy Headteacher: Part 6

  1. I like checking my steps each day . Small site but if I’m below 6k I wonder if I got around enough and if it’s too high I wonder if I planned in enough office time…then sit for those after school hours that all deputies know is the time you get the big things done!

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