What does a typical term look like in ‘the life of a deputy headteacher’?
This post has been written towards the end of the examination season and reflects the period between May to June 2016.
This is the 7th in the series of The Life of a Deputy Headteacher and it is just my story.
The reasons I document here, is to share how I am developing in my role as a deputy headteacher; to offer a place to reflect and discuss with other senior and aspiring leaders. The online forum as it today did not exist for me a decade ago when I first became a senior leader, so it is vital that we share our work with each other to encourage and strengthen the important work of school leaders everywhere. It also helps generate good ideas, build networks and expose guff.
If you were in charge of a large secondary school, how would you go about a half-term?
What I hope to offer here is a snapshot into (one of) my working half-terms to help the reader compare, suggest or to use for their own reflection. In a recent post, I asked myself: Do You Want To Be A Headteacher?
In summary, I wrote that I know headship – or any life in senior leadership – does not have to be 24/7. Our workload is our own choice and I am brave enough to make the step, I just know it’s not the time to do so.
So, with this in mind and a never-ending to-do list, how do senior teachers prioritise their own workload without it impacting on others? Or worse, workload putting you off school leadership.
A Day in the Life of …
In the past, I have shared to-do lists and summaries of a day/week. In this post, I offer you my current tasks I am working on and break them down into short, medium and long-term projects. It has been written as ‘a to-do list’ and is to be read in this way so that strategic thinking can be demonstrated. Hopefully, this will give you a flavour of what life can sometimes be like as a deputy headteacher working in a large Inner-London secondary school.
*defined as imminent and within next 6 weeks
- End of year work sampling students’ books with 3 heads of departments I line manage.
- Appraisal observations.
- Evaluating an overview of teaching and learning across the school based on the above.
- Preparing for roll-up to our new timetable next week. I will be meeting my new GCSE class.
- Leading whole-school assemblies next week.
- Appointing the last few vacancies we have across the school and negotiating rates with agencies.
- Re-advertising internal shadow leadership posts and advertising for new teaching and learning colleagues.
- Exit interviews with colleagues who are leaving the school.
- Sending our new teacher planner 2016/17 off to print.
- Printing a pilot exercise book for students to use across the school.
- Finalising our last INSET day plans for July and new staff induction day.
- Publishing our CPD calendar for 2016/17.
- Leading our final Illuminate show and tell session at our school for other school leaders.
- Publishing our 2nd action research journal.
- Preparing appraisal guidance for all staff for Performance Related Pay decisions.
- Publishing our school video.
“Sometimes decisions need to be made in the playground …”
*defined as within the next 3-5 months.
- Developing work based upon our Investors in People action plan.
- Ensuring that the above feeds into our school development plan.
- Reviewing and refining our school development plan and priorities for the next 3-5 years.
- Reviewing CPD budget and evaluations.
- Reviewing our job description templates for all adverts.
- Establishing our coaching programme, guidance criteria and supporting materials.
- Establishing our revised whole-school monitoring programme for self-evaluation.
- Tweaking our staff induction programme.
- Introducing our CPD breakfast programme to staff.
- Cross-referencing teacher loadings on the timetable versus cover and coaching needs.
To support this blog, below is my to-do list which records the planned tasks, not other jobs that arise day-to-day. For example, conversations; reading policies; communications; meetings; my teaching and planning and so forth …
The image was taken on Wednesday 8th June 2016.
*defined as within the next 6 months or longer.
- Monitoring the quality of our new Learning Policy.
- Tweaking our new coaching programme to meet the needs of teachers and teaching.
- Working towards our next level of Investors in People status.
- Developing our CPD programmes for a second Teacher Development Trust CPD audit.
- Reviewing our school self-evaluation.
“In-between meetings and on corridors gives you that brief moment to catch-up …”
I remember first writing a post like this, at this time last year: The Life of a Deputy Headteacher: Part 3 and looking at my to-do list as something that was impossible to complete. Former headteacher Jill Berry said here;
Remember things will also happen that you haven’t anticipated and they will take time too. If you can 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?
I will get back to you on this topic after the summer break with Part 8. At the moment, I am looking to remove all the extras and focus on the essentials that impact on whole-staff.