23rd November 2007 at 00:00
Q: Four of our last five pastoral heads have been geographers. Are some subject teachers better prepared than others for pastoral work in secondary schools?

John, Warwickshire

A: This apparent pattern - geographers migrating into pastoral roles - might be merely specific to your school, but not throughout the sector. If so, it might best be explained in terms of local factors - one geographer develops a career in this direction and becomes a role model for others to follow the same path. If this is the case, then the issue is not so much whether certain subject teachers progress into certain roles nationally, but whether there is such a pattern within different schools. Pat, Brighton

A: Any subject leader could become a pastoral head if they have the necessary inter-personal skills and emotional resilience to enable them to build up successful relationships. The fact they have been geographers in the past seems a complete coincidence. John, Cumbria

A: Perhaps the over-representation of geographers in pastoral roles in your school might say something about the paucity of the geography resources. On second thoughts, if you want guidance and direction in your lives, why not ask a geographer? Kevin, Cheltenham

Coming up

Q: Our sixth form pupils are full of ideas for extracurricular activities, but unless a teacher takes overall responsibility for a project, the initiative soon fizzles and dies. How do you create a culture of pupil "stickability" and ownership?

Q: Since the word "satisfactory" following an inspection now seems to mean the complete opposite where schools are concerned, isn't it time to reassess these judgments and have just two categories: "Good enough" and "Not good enough"? I'm sure it would save a great deal of post Ofsted gloom found in every school deemed "satisfactory".

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