Staffing reviews

20th January 2006 at 00:00
I am a head of department and am considering a move to assistant head. The school I am in is restructuring as part of the changes to staffing following the introduction of teaching and learning responsibility payments and wants to introduce about six or seven faculty structures. I'm assuming that the faculty heads will be paid at the top of the scale. There are signs that second language teaching will shrink over the next few years as assistant or deputy heads who leave will not be replaced. Presumably, faculty heads will pick up more responsibilities, effectively becoming senior teachers,covering the work of former assistant heads. Is there evidence of this approach being widespread in the UK? If so, does it mean the demise of assistant heads?

It is still too early to know what will be the outcome of the staffing reviews that all schools across England and Wales are conducting. However, there was a small drop in the number of assistant head posts advertised during September and October last year: 126 against an average of 137. The decline isn't dramatic, but it is constant. It may be that schools are delaying advertising senior posts until their reviews are done. You say, "There are signs that the SLT will shrink over the next few years". If that is the view in the school, what gave you that impression? If you are considering a move, most assistant heads don't expect to stay at that grade for long before trying for deputy head posts. If your career ambition is to achieve a senior leadership position, and you feel ready, go for it. After all, we can't always predict the future.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email

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