Diary of a subject leader
Real issues in the life of a fictional Subject Leader
My second in department is fantastic. She’s the sort of colleague on whom you can depend not only to implement initiatives, but also create and develop them. In short, she makes my life at work easier.
Up to now her primary responsibility has been as KS3 coordinator. I was more than happy leaving the leadership and management of Years 7, 8 and 9 within her capable hands, freeing myself up to concentrate on raising attainment at KS4. However, in light of the assessment changes announced back in October, we have both contemplated how her role within the department will change, if at all.
At present she oversees the KS3 scheme of work and assessments, coordinates all planned intervention, implements and drives new initiatives and acts as a filter and/or buffer with matters that occur within the lower school. I am consulted on the ‘bigger’ issues but day to day events are, thankfully, left in her capable hands. However, my concern is with the imminent changes ahead. Is the exhausting level of intervention still necessary within Year 9? Should we be concentrating on developing the pedagogy in Year 7 in light of the new Programme of Study? Will APP be driving our Teacher Assessment in the future and should we be getting our heads around it sooner rather than later? Suddenly the workload, complexity and demand of coordinating KS3 has become far more challenging.
From experience in running a department, I am very aware of the importance of having a clear vision in order to assess what changes are needed and how they are to be achieved. Consequently, we recently met to discuss and agree our aims and priorities for KS3. The launch of the Key Concepts and Process Skills within the new PoS could not be ignored and if implemented well, the learning experience within Year 7 should be different from that experienced by the older students. We are however, realistic enough to know that change will not happen over night and that developing pedagogy takes time. Nevertheless, teaching and learning within KS3 would continue to be our priority and my faithful second is to lead all developments, including a review of the scheme of work, the sharing of good practice, promotion of the Key Processes and development of assessment procedures.
On reflection, her responsibilities have not really changed yet the dialogue we had was essential in realising this. Although missed by the majority of mathematics teachers, SATs were just another test and in theory their absence shouldn’t affect the continuing development of teaching and learning within the department. If anything, it should promote better progression from KS3 to KS4. Only time will tell!