How to Become a Headteacher
Many teachers aim to become a headteacher in either a primary school or a secondary school, and for good reason. Being part of school leadership means being able to make a significant positive impact on the education of all the children within your school, as well as securing yourself a long-term, full-time career.
As a Beginner, Where Should I Start?
The most important thing for a headteacher is to first undertake formal teacher training. A degree in teaching will afford you your Qualified Teacher Training (QTS) and will mean that you can start developing leadership skills, interpersonal skills and experience in different schools from London to Dublin. Many young people also choose to undertake short courses in order to upskill and ensure that they are prepared to step up into a leadership role when it becomes available.
Alternatively, if you feel that you didn’t achieve the required A-levels, consider seeking out teaching assistant roles in order to develop a pathway into being a classroom teacher. If that sounds like something you could benefit from, check out our teaching assistant courses.
Of course, any kind of experience with children is going to be highly valued in teaching. If you know you’re interested in teaching or becoming a headteacher, it’s always a good idea to get started early with childcare. Consider babysitting, nannying, tutoring, volunteering at your local church in Sunday school or other volunteering, childcare or paid positions to gain experience with kids and show your enthusiasm for the industry.
Skills Required for a Headteacher
There are also a number of skills and attributes that a headteacher or deputy head needs that you should be working on throughout your career. These include:
The Next Step into Headship
Finding a job as a teacher isn’t always easy, but there are a number of ways to get into teaching. If you’ve completed a course already, and are looking to get into teaching, you can always start as a teaching assistant or by doing supply teaching before moving into a permanent teacher’s position. After working for a while as a classroom teacher, look for opportunities to take on leadership opportunities. They may include:
Becoming a head of department
This will serve as your first opportunity to really prove yourself as a leader and demonstrate that you have the skills and qualities needed to later take on the role of a headteacher.
Heading up a new project or a special project
Again, the ability to take over a project and lead it and the people involved successfully to completion is bound to get you noticed. Any opportunity to shine as a leader will be of use to you on your way to becoming a headteacher.
Helping new headteachers get acquainted with the school
Not only will this win you brownie points with the headteacher you’re helping, which could speed up your career progression, but it’ll also give you a unique insight into the headteacher role. Finding out these things early will help you prepare for the future and avoid surprises.
You will also want to consider, after a few years, working towards attaining your national professional qualifications for headship, or an NPQH. This will allow you to be considered for more senior leadership roles like becoming a deputy head. Click the button below and check out some useful courses on offer.
Working As a Deputy Head
It is incredibly important that as a deputy headteacher you hold yourself responsible to be part of the governing body of the school while also clearly showing care for the school community. Understanding organisations like OFSTED is crucial, as this may be the first time you can show your own school just how suited you are for the final position. While working as a deputy head, it’s also a good idea to continually undertake professional development.
Relevant Learning Areas for Headteachers
There are a variety of short courses that could further your skills in areas that will be crucial in the future. Consider courses in:
Understanding the way data works and the data that’s going to be stored within school databases will not only make your life easier, but also show the board of directors that you’re ready for the future and for the duties of a head teacher. Find out more about database administration courses here.
Program planning & curriculum evaluation
Being able to both plan programs and curriculum as well as evaluate their effectiveness within a school is the mark of a good headteacher.
Educational law and ethics
There are a number of laws that relate specifically to education and the safety of children. If you have ambition for school leadership, it’s important that you understand and can apply the relevant laws and ethical concepts to real-life situations.
Hopefully, after a few years working as deputy head, the chief executive and other board members will recognise your significant contribution to the school community and consider you for the next headteacher position either at the school you’re already at or at another school where they think your leadership would be valued.
There are of course a variety of ways to become a headteacher but working your way through the school system is one of the most direct and foolproof ways to show your enthusiasm for the top job long term!
Get started by doing childcare or teaching assistant courses today!