How to become a headteacher

01/08/2022 | All

Acting as a headteacher of a school is the most senior position that a teacher can achieve. A headteacher is responsible for leading and supervising the staff. Their responsibilities also include maintaining the code of conduct of discipline and the general day-to-day running of the school. Unlike other industries, there is no clear set pathway to advance in the education sector. Having the right qualifications, set of behaviours and leadership skills may count in your favour. With the use of this blog we hope to help you understand how to become a headteacher!

How to become a headteacher

There are no set routes for how to become a headteacher – other than the requirement to have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). It often depends on the size of a school, your personal development and the timing of opportunities. Keeping this in mind, we have put together some steps to follow that can help you to become eligible for a career as a headteacher.

Advance beyond the necessary training

Since the board of education decided to remove the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) as a requirement for headship, the pathway is a little more complicated than before. Whilst having this qualification is certainly advantageous, recruiters are beginning to value in-school experience equally. A good balance of both in-school experience and professional training is extremely helpful to set you in good stead in promotion.

Get several years experience as a teacher in different schools

Different schools come with different ways of working, staff, students and more. Having a wider net of experience gives you a more well-rounded take on schooling and can count in your favour. When you are ready to begin your progression to headteacher, make sure you pick the school that aligns with your own ideologies.

Step up by taking on more responsibility in a senior position

As a teacher, being versatile always counts in your favour! An eagerness to get involved demonstrates that you are a team player and willing to collaborate. While teaching is great for getting the experience necessary for progressing to headteacher, exploring other avenues such as taking on more senior roles gives you that extra experience which will really make the difference. Having experience in senior roles gives you the opportunity to deal with different situations which you can reflect upon during your headteacher interviews and applications.

Shadow your current headteacher

Having a headteacher who is willing to show you the ropes is invaluable. According to a recent survey by Tes magazine, almost 40% of new heads claimed that shadowing their old boss was a key factor in preparing for their current role. Mentoring from an experienced head, placements and job shadowing are great accelerators, exposing future heads to real-life experiences and lessons. 

Become an all-rounder

Showing your versatility is key to convincing governors you are right for their school. Teaching will rarely be your main priority as a headteacher and the strategic vision for the school will often give way to more practical concerns. Ultimately, as a headteacher, absolutely everything will be your responsibility!

Get to grips with the finances

It is likely that before becoming a headteacher, teachers rarely understand the intricacies of the school budget. Thankfully, there is much you can do now as an aspiring leader to ensure that you are better prepared if you get the top job. With school budgets coming under increasing pressure, headteachers have to know how to balance the books. This is something that will inevitably come up at an interview and it pays to have some experience you can reference. It may be useful to shadow a school finance manager if possible or get to know the details of the school budget and the annual rhythm of budget planning. 

Choose a school that’s right for you

If you’ve put in a huge amount of groundwork on your way to headship, don’t ruin it by choosing a school where you won’t last! Choosing a school which fits with your own personal teaching ideology will vastly improve your chances of landing the top job. In addition, finding governors that support your vision will make your life a lot easier once you’re in position. 

How i-teachers can help you find a teaching role

Here at i-teachers, we are an education recruitment consultancy focusing on providing long term and permanent jobs in Primary, Secondary and SEN schools across the UK. 

So, how can i-teachers help you to find a teaching job?:

  • Our friendly and experienced education consultants are dedicated to perfectly matching our candidates to schools suited to their skills set and personal goals. 
  • We work with NQTs and experienced teachers across the UK, as well as graduates looking for teaching assistant roles prior to teacher training. 
  • For our job seekers we provide an approachable, responsible and easy to work with team of professionals, all driving towards finding the perfect role and ideal solution for the future. 

What makes us unique:

  • Caring and experienced team of education consultants (check out our 5* TrustPilot reviews to see for yourself!). 
  • We won’t rest until we have found you the perfect role in the ideal school.
  • We are education experts, and offer industry leading, specialist advice. 
  • We work nationally, so we are ideal if you want to relocate. 
  • Our consultants are with you every step of the way, helping you to make the best decisions for your career before, during and after your placement. 

Get in touch with one of our dedicated consultants to find out more on how to find teaching jobs, or have a look through some of our current vacancies!