The journey we have been on…
Teachers lead the subjects that interest them, they have a passion for or they have a qualification in.
This has evolved through discussion, observing good practice and looking at qualifications staff have in these subject areas. The impact of this is that all subject leaders work hard and all want to learn more. This forms a part of the interview for teachers and we think about succession planning of subject leadership as new staff join and staff leave for promotional roles.
An example is a teacher who has taken this journey in the last 2 years at Mousehold:
- Joined the school in September 2020, having taught for 5 years and an experienced subject leader in a small school.
- Thorough handover of PE leadership with previous PE lead.
- Started as PE lead at Mousehold because of her PE qualifications and dance teacher status.
- Worked with SLT on managing the Sports Premium Grant.
- Autumn 2021 – started NPQLTD training.
- Autumn 2021 – Attended in house leadership coaching sessions with Headteacher.
- January 2022 started shadowing English Lead, as showed an interest.
- February 2022 – External subject leadership coaching sessions from VNET, along with other school subject leaders.
- February 2022 – Attended an external virtual VNET review alongside English Lead and presented on Phonics provision.
- April 2022 – Joint English Lead. Monitored alongside other English Lead.
- May 2022 – Sole English Lead whilst other lead on Maternity leave.
- May 2022 – Presented at Trust Progress Board.
How do we train new subject leaders and keep experienced subject leaders up to date and refreshed?
New subject leaders receive training from the Headteacher on leadership in general, school systems for subject leadership, how to access external training and how to lead other more experienced teachers. New subject leaders have a transitional period of shadowing an experienced subject leader, where they are coached and work together. New subject leaders are quite quickly given the opportunity to present to an external professional ( Progress Board, VNET Review ) with the support of a senior leader in coaching and preparing. This has been successful this year with 2 teachers in their 2nd year of teaching and their first year as a subject leader.
Experienced subject leaders are expected to have a performance management target related to subject leadership with the expectation of seeking out training specific to the subject area they lead. They then feed this training back at a staff meeting to cascade ideas that can be transferrable across different subjects.
Experienced subject leaders are also given opportunities to present at external audits and reviews.
VNET supported all subject leaders, through a series of coaching staff meetings in the Spring Term. This was a valuable experience for all with very positive feedback.
Developed, refined and now monitor subject leadership systems
We are now in the position where we have effective systems in place for summarising subject leadership work and impact of this termly. These are called ‘ Subject Leadership Reports.’ These reports have supported in the reduction of teacher workload strategy as the information is now on one document and not duplicated for different people. Subject leaders are now very familiar with these documents and ensures they are meeting the Teacher Standards. This system enables subject leaders of more than one subject to easily lead 2 subjects, as reporting formats are the same. The impact of these reports is that subject leaders feel confident answering questions from an external visitor. The report includes, what monitoring has taken place, attainment, progress, SEN, disadvantaged, pupil voice, provision, next steps. We review the format at least annually, linking to new Ofsted frameworks.
Holding subject leaders to account
The Headteacher holds subject leaders to account in Performance Management meetings twice a year. Subject leaders present at Progress Board, VNET reviews and Ofsted. Subject leaders have opportunities to present and talk about their subject at different intervals throughout the year.
The most recent development in subject leadership is Partnership working. This has enabled subject leaders, of little or much experience, to work alongside the partner school’s subject lead. This has strengthened capacity, made good use of shared skills, expertise and experience and has already had significant impact – particularly in Maths. Subject leaders are excited by this and are proactive in finding ways to work together to benefit the children from both schools.