For my Blog this month, I want to take the opportunity to highlight the role of our Curriculum Area Leaders at John Taylor. In some schools they are known as Heads of Department, or Subject Leaders, but whatever the title, the responsibilities of these individuals is worth considering.
As leaders of learning for their area, they have to have exceptional knowledge of their subject and the way it is assessed in the National Curriculum or via examinations at GCSE, BTEC, or Advanced level. Moreover, they have to be able to guide students towards careers and further academic study in their specialist area. They are required to be outstanding classroom practitioners, modelling high standards of teaching, planning and assessment to those within their teams. They liaise with students and parents to answer queries and provide additional support, and they work with their line managers and I to construct plans that are aligned with the school improvement plan – always looking to make what goes on in their subject area more effective. They are increasingly working alongside members of the governing body (identified as “link governors”) so that governors have a thorough understanding of our subject teams and can provide support in return.
Many of the above roles and responsibilities are longstanding. However, more so than ever the importance of effective leadership of our curriculum areas comes to the fore. New data dashboards show subject by subject the performance of the school, there is a new national curriculum to be implemented, new assessment measures to work on in key stage 3, a new examination regimen at key stages 4 and 5, and changes to the way in which some subjects are viewed by central government (EBacc, “Facilitating Subjects” etc.). As “the engine room” of the school – where our strategic direction is given the impetus and pace to move us forward – these new or accentuated features of the role of curriculum area leader cannot go unnoticed or unnoted.
So, why feature this in my Blog this month? Well, during Open Week and Open Evening last week I lost count of the number of visitors who commented positively on the quality of displays, the activities being undertaken in classrooms across the school and (perhaps most importantly) the passion for their subjects and the joy of teaching it that they caught a glimpse of when speaking with Curriculum Area Leaders. Their dynamism and enthusiasm is infectious on both their colleagues and our students. I am very proud to work alongside them.
Thanks for reading.