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Secondary Magazine - Issue 36: Diary of a subject leader

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 15 June 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 22 June 2009 by ncetm_administrator

Secondary Magazine Issue 36secondary magazine diary header - books and journals

Diary of a subject leader

Real issues in the life of a fictional Subject Leader

The departure of Year 11 always prompts me to start looking ahead to the new academic year and to review progress over the last 12 months. It’s been an interesting year. The implementation of the new programme of study has not run as smoothly as anticipated. My department and I are fully behind the shift towards an increased focus on process skills within lessons, but maintaining consistency across all classes has proved difficult. I have similar concerns regarding the implementation of APP as routine practice across the department. We all value and agree with its aims, yet its consistency and sustainability will inevitably be a challenge. So what will my priorities over the coming months be? 

I consciously categorise the priorities into two areas: teaching and learning alongside intervention. Developing pedagogy and the raising of standards within the classroom is an ongoing process. Encouraging my staff to be reflective in their practice while embracing new initiatives is essential if we are to move and develop with recent curriculum and assessment changes. To me, this is the interesting and fulfilling part of being a subject leader, i.e. the bit that requires vision and people skills in order to maximise the attainment of the students. This is where the majority of my job satisfaction lies. The ‘sticking plaster’ intervention is equally important yet more mechanical in its approach. I acknowledge that squeezing every last drop of potential out of students prior to exams can make a considerable difference to the results of both individuals and the school, however it is without doubt less satisfying.

I used to be somewhat cynical about having to write action plans. I would perceive it as a paper exercise and of little use or importance to the department or myself. I’m still unclear as to when and why I changed my outlook but now I see it a vital tool in planning future developments. It forces me to reflect and prioritise, creating a degree of self-inflicted pressure in maintaining the pledges and intentions set out at the start of the year. Most importantly, it outlines a vision for the department to adhere to through the clarification of our aims. Perhaps it’s just the way I am, but I need this kind of structured approach to function. Long live action plans!

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