Should you stay or should you go when looking to progress into middle leadership? Many ambitious classroom teachers grapple with the question of whether it is better to move schools to get a promotion or remain in their current school to advance up the career ladder.
There is always the worry of running into trouble with new systems and new colleagues by moving on to pastures new, but there is always the potential of it being double if you remain in the same place.
Moving up to middle leadership within your current school means managing those who were your peers, which can be daunting. And moving to a new school can give you the opportunity for reinvention.
However, James Bowen, director at the NAHT Edge union for middle leaders, says it’s not that simple. He argues that there are benefits and drawbacks in both choices.
Should you stay?
“If you stay in your current school, you know the systems, you know the people, you know the children. Hopefully, you’re happy in that school. So, in some ways, really all you’ve got to think about is the leadership, because the systems and the structures you know,” Bowen explains.
“The downside though is obviously you’ve been working alongside those people as a peer and it’s quite hard to reinvent yourself as a leader. Some people say that challenge can be really, really tough.”
Is moving on better?
It may not be that simple, with Bowen adding that there are downsides to taking up a new role elsewhere.
“There is a whole new set of processes you have to learn, you don’t know the other people in the school, you don’t necessarily know the leaders you’ll be working alongside. Will you get on with them? Will you work well with them? But on the flipside, it does give you an opportunity to reinvent yourself.
“If you’re going in as a new leader, people just see you as a leader because they haven’t known you as the NQT, they haven’t known you as a colleague. So in some ways, that side of things can be easier.”