Dear John: I'll be assistant head at 28. Will the staff resent me?

I am on the brink of my first assistant headship and am interested in knowing the experiences of others of a similar age to me who have been made assistant heads at a young age. How did other teachers react? Did you come up against any animosity?

I am extremely excited about being a leader within a school and being part of a team driving whole-school improvement but I am aware that the leap from middle leadership to senior leadership is a significant one……what would people are say are the most significant challenges? Any other further advice/tips would be greatly appreciated!



If your innate leadership style matches that of the school, you should have few problems. But, if they are radically different, it will be a more challenging experience. There may be someone who has been passed over for promotion, but that is something you will have to face as you are promoted into other leadership positions. Humour, hard work and help to others is a good way of becoming accepted as a professional who was rightly the best person for the job; oh, and a bit of humility. The TES has published an A-Z of Leadership, and I will try to find out if there are any copies left.

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