Supporting Subject Leaders in Primary Schools (part 1)

As a primary governor and teacher who is passionate about reducing workload and improving work life balance for teachers I’m looking more closely at how schools can support more effectively subject leaders to fulfil their role and have an impact on school improvement without an excessive increase in their workload.

To help I ran 4 polls:

The results were actually quite distressing to read.

With over 1000 replies, only 28% of primary teachers are paid a TLR for being a subject leader.

Almost two thirds of those who replied to poll 2 don’t have any allocated time to fulfil their leadership role.

90% of responses thought that primary subject leaders should get allocated leadership time.

Just over half of responses felt that a fortnightly allocation of management time would be appropriate for subject leaders.

I then followed it up with another poll as a result of a tweet I received with two paragraphs from the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (Sept 2019)-

Management time
52.6. A teacher with leadership or management responsibilities is entitled, so far as is
reasonably practicable, to a reasonable amount of time during school sessions for
the purpose of discharging those responsibilities.

Section 3 – Guidance for Local Authorities, School Leaders, School Teachers and Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools

Allowances and other payments TLR payments (paragraph 20)

48. Teachers are expected to contribute, both orally and in writing as appropriate, to
curriculum development by sharing their professional expertise with colleagues
and advising on effective practice. This does not mean that they can be expected
to take on the responsibility of, and accountability for, a subject area or to manage
other teachers without appropriate additional payment. Responsibilities of this
nature should be part of a post that is in the leadership group or linked to a post
which attracts a TLR1 or TLR2 on the basis set out in paragraph 20.

The poll showed this:

This appears to suggest that a significant number of subject leaders in primary schools are not currently being paid a TLR but are being held accountable for the subject that they lead through the performance management process.

Part 2 of this blog will suggest some possible strategies that schools of varying sizes might be able to employ to support their middle leaders to drive improvement in their schools.

If you have any suggestions of strategies that work in your setting then please comment on this blog.

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