Plans of action

Two-thirds of teachers are women but only one in five becomes a secondary head. It's time they pushed their case.


Ask your head for a personal development session or an appraisal and prepare well for it.

Go on a promotion or preparation for management course. If this is impractical, speak to the personnel office in your local authority about where jobs are advertised and how to complete applications.

When you apply, ensure that you show how you match the person specification.

Don't devalue your work by giving credit to everyone else. If you did something, say "I" not "we".


Decide on a career development plan. Don't just drift.

Get your qualities known: tackle additional tasks that will get you noticed but don't overburden yourself by being the school dogsbody.

Get as much training as you can. Anticipate what skills a heador deputy needs. Training means you'll meet people from other schools, governors and local officers and widen your contacts.

If there are career development courses or opportunities such as work-shadowing, try them out.

Don't be put off if your management style is different. Women tend to be more participative.

Get moral support from other women. Many authorities have women's networks or agender officer.


Careful application preparationis essential. You won't get shortlisted if you complete the application incorrectly, submit a dog-eared CV, write a long, rambling letter obscuring your skills or assume that the panel already know you.

Most job descriptions will havea person specification or a list of essential and desirable qualities. You must show how you meet the criteria. At interview bear in mind that a male panel may interpret qualities in different ways. A pre-visit can help you assess the school's culture.

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