Dear John: Is easier and permanent better than challenging and temporary?


I’m coming to the end of my NQT year and have the opportunity to apply for two promotions in my school. One is a maternity cover head of year post and one is for second in deptartment. I have recently changed careers and do have previous management experience. I am looking to develop my teaching career and am keen to take on additional responsibility.

From a future CV and career-building perspective, do you think there is any difference between heading down the pastoral rather than departmental route? Does either have any advantages as far as you could see for the future?

Any advice is much appreciated.


Either offers a route to future promotions. But, as the second in department is more permanent, I would go for that job. The head of year post would offer more strategic view of the school, but is only temporary. In the present climate, I would always go for the permanent post, unless you like taking risks.

John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training and consultancy, including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.