Becoming a pastoral manager

Other relevant titles: Head of year, Head of house

Pastoral managers look after the welfare of students and ensure they can come to school. The job can be full time and non-teaching while in some schools the role is aligned with teaching duties, especially when it comes under the job title of Head of Year.

You need strength and determination, the ability to multi-task without cracking, and skills in dealing with tricky pupils. Pastoral managers are often on the frontline of dealing with behaviour issues allowing teachers to concentrate on achievement and learning.


Approximately £20,000 - £30,000


The same as teaching hours and that means all the usual overtime to deal with admin and paperwork.

Pastoral manager duties:  

  • To be the first point of contact and liaison between families and other children’s agencies, such as social services or child health.
  • To be friendly, helpful and welcoming to parents and others visiting or making contact with the school.
  • To provide a good role model for students.
  • To develop a relationship with students, which is professional, firm, fair, caring and friendly.
  • To maintain an appropriate and professional distance with students in more informal situations, or when dealing with sixth form students.
  • Implement behaviour policy and deal with student behaviour issues.

Qualifications needed to become a pastoral manager

You don’t need a teaching qualification but you would be expected to be educated to degree level. A contributor to the TES forums (formerly a pastoral manager) summed up the job well: “You need to convince the interviewers that you have the presence to go into classrooms haul out those misbehaving, call in their often abusive parents and interview them, and follow up incidents arising from classroom disruption.”

Skills and knowledge needed

Candidates have to be…

  • Self-motivated
  • Organised
  • Energetic
  • Confident
  • Positive

Best route into pastoral management

It’s a non-teaching role, and so people with the right aptitude and skills who’ve not worked in education can apply. In fact it suits mature candidates and career changers as this job needs a lot of life experience. You’ll need to show some interest and commitment to learning and schools, which can be gained through invigilating, shadowing or volunteering, for example.

The upsides

There’s never a dull moment. The role can be stepping stone to the head teacher post for the right candidate with a teaching qualification.

The downsides

HoDs and teachers can pass the buck and you could end up having to sort these problems out. That means dealing with a constant flow of children kicked out of lessons by exasperated teachers.