A report of the key issues raised during two free discussions
Is the role strategic? Some see it as governance: ordering textbooks, organising cover etc.
Do we have a clear idea as a community as to what a subject leader is? there is a massive difference in the role in different schools.
How can you bring innovation without time, especially if you are teaching 20hrs a week.
Teachers are all very busy; it is difficult to get people to change, it needs time and effort. Do colleagues see you as trying to rock the boat if you try to change things?
There is a clash in the role between management and leadership. Should it be split?
It is a question of responsibility and how you organise. The better organised you are in the smaller things the more time you free up for the more strategic elements of the role.
It is about how the whole team is structured – the subject leader needs a mandate to lead. If you devolve to the rest of the team this is good CPD for all and you may help prepare the next subject leader.
There’s an issue about the leadership of a school/college. many heads do not value this sort of leadership. It’s about the philosophy.
Perhaps heads want subject leaders in the classroom because they are good teachers.
I believe the only person who can change me is me. You can’t make people be different, you can only make them think about the way they are.
Teachers are another set of learners.
It’s about knowing your team – some are good at knowing resources, other on assessment.
You have to bring change I softer ways with some people who have perhaps been teaching longer.
A slot for teachers to share a good experience of teaching at the end of a meeting is a good approach. Sharing can be very effective and avoids imposing your will. It takes discipline to focus on teaching and learning and not let admin take over.
You need time to think about how to bring change so that you don’t alienate people.
There is a lot of pressure in the role – you need lead-up to being a subject leader. Some are not ready when they take on the role. Where is the support for people who are young and enthusiastic but need guidance? You need training to be a subject leader. Buddying can help.
In primary subject leaders often aren’t maths experts. You also need to compete with other subjects for CPD.
In primary the role is often handed out in a pragmatic way, not because you’re passionate. Some lack confidence and don’t understand the role.
Central points decided upon by the group:
- subject leadership has a strategic element that needs time for thought and preparation. The culture of the school is crucial in allowing this
- preparation for leadership is needed. And if we teach subject leaders to manage efficiently it will help the leadership element, the most important part
- local networks are very important no matter who provides them. We need to provide opportunities for subject leaders to share together if they are not going to be able to meet together in the new climate.