If you've got a career problem, you know who to call - our experts. John Howson and Sara Bubb offer advice every week.
JOHN HOWSON replies:
Q: I have been teaching in a small primary school for seven years and have completed the Leading from the Middle development course. I would love to be a deputy head, but do I have enough experience? Should I apply for jobs in a larger school first?
A: This is a tricky one. Assuming that you don't want to relocate, much will depend upon the pattern of schools in your area and the frequency of deputy head appointments. If there are mostly small schools, and few vacancies arise in larger schools, then I would look for deputy or assistant headships in a smaller school. If there is a greater mix of school sizes, you could apply for a post with a Teaching and Learning Responsibility in a larger school and then progress to a deputy headship.
Intelligence is the key to success, and talking to those in the know in your area will help identify the best route forward. As you have completed the Leading from the Middle programme, this will no doubt help with finding another job and you will have made contacts through the programme and its network.
If you are in an area with a high turnover of deputy heads, then apply for one now. However, if you are in a more settled area, progression will be more difficult, but that should not stop you applying to test the reaction.
Q: I am a secondary languages teacher but I've recently discovered a love of all things fashion and textiles. Would it be possible to retrain as a textiles teacher, and how can I go about it?
A: As you already have Qualified Teacher Status you will not be eligible to retrain fully. After all, you know how to teach. What you need is subject knowledge and application to teaching. How sympathetic is your school and does it teach fashion and textiles as part of design and technology and the new diplomas? Would it fund some appropriate training at the local FE college, if it is available, or at a higher level at a university?
If you wanted to transfer to another subject covered by the Open University, I would say do a degree and then start applying for jobs in the new area. This is more tricky. You probably need allies and advice from within the design and technology community. If there is no one in your school, try the local inspectors or Data, the Design and Technology Association.
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