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Pathways to the top

There are plenty of routes to promotion these days.

Phil Revell reports

A few years ago teaching was a simple linear career. Appointment, classroom experience, head of department post, deputy head, headteacher. In primary, the career path was even simpler, with promotion straight from the classroom to headship. Today there are a bewildering variety of ways forward, some of which involve jumping in and out of the profession.

Through the threshold. The first step in a teacher's career is the jump through the pay threshold. This can now be made after five years, fewer for Fast Track candidates.

Advanced Skills Teacher. This is the route for teachers who want to stay in the classroom. You can't be given management duties and are expected to focus on developing best practice. Salaries up to pound;45,000 mean that this is a real alternative to headship.You will have to spend time supporting colleagues in other schools.

Head of department. Little change here, though the range has widened to include subjects such as leisure and tourism and citizenship. Still the most common first promotion. Promotion to head of department could be on offer in your second year in the job, especially in London and the South East.

Key Stage Co-ordinator. In primaries this is now a key management post, especially at key stage 2 where the need to perform well in tests gives the job an edge. It's arguably bigger than the secondary departmental equivalent, since it encompasses all subjects, but primary staff lose out in the pay stakes: co-ordinator posts rarely attract more than two responsibility points Pastoral. These used to be called head of house. The role mirrored that of a public school housemaster. Today most schools have year heads with a senior pastoral post often occupied by a deputy. As well as pupil discipline and record keeping, the job involves liaison with social services and curriculum support for subjects such as personal and social education.

Network manager. More schools are appointing people to look after their computer systems. Sometimes it involves both curriculum management and technical support. Best practice seems to mean separating the two, with an ICT co-ordinator alongside a network manager. In the biggest schools the network manager post often has no teaching load - but may still be filled by a (former) teacher.

Professional development co-ordinator. In-service training used to be managed by a deputy, but bigger schools are giving the job to someone as a full time post. Given the huge training today, that probably makes sense, if the school can afford it.

Deputyassistant head. Posts on the leadership spine below headteacher are labelled in a variety of ways. There are directors, managers and co-ordinators. All are just one step from the top of the ladder.

Head and Superhead. They earn up to pound;80,000 in the biggest schools. Whitehall has mooted the idea of superheads to manage a cluster of schools and on more than pound;100,000. Presumably these paragons would climb Everest and write piano sonatas in their spare time.

Edubusiness. The land of multiple opportunities. The folks on the stands at the BETT show or the Education Show include many former teachers who have discovered that a combination of the latest education knowledge and a talent for presentation makes them a desirable commodity.

LEA support. Despite the reduction in services, they still need people to provide schools support. This was Chris Woodhead's career route - but don't let that put you off.

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