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Priorities of a new Headteacher

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Gather knowledge of the school

The most important first step is to get to know the staff and pupils. Do assemblies, have one-to-one meetings with the staff, try and be in the staffroom at break and lunch, even if it is just for a short time. Go into the playground and play with the children, they will tell you everything that you need to know! Make yourself available to the parents, hold a workshop or even just be present at drop off and pick up.

Make an effort to meet with governing body members. Don’t wait for a meeting, invite them in for a coffee afternoon or even better, plan this meeting to coincide with when parents are visiting the school. Make sure that they see you as someone that is approachable and see your vision for the school.

Read the latest school policies and development plan. This is the bread and butter of the school. It will also give you the chance to see if any documents need updating or changing. Reading the development plan will give you the opportunity to see where the school is going and how it plans to get there.

Get familiar with assessment and tracking data. Make sure that this isn’t just on paper but that you understand the children that are off track or working at GD (Greater Depth). Have a meeting with your SENCO and get to know the plans that have been put in place to support the children that are off track, as well as what is being done to push the others.

Avoid making major changes

Try not to implement any major changes until you have a good knowledge of the school (unless the school is in a category of Requires Improvement, in which case immediate action needs to be taken).

Making small changes with the consultation of all stakeholders will reinforce your ethos of working together to make your school great.

Build a support network

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of building a network or joining an established one. Joining a large group like Primary School Leaders will ease any feelings of isolation and make you feel much more supported. There are thousands of other people feeling exactly the same as you, so do make sure that you share your worries and your successes.

Maintain work-life balance

Remember that you have a life outside of school. Try to not take work home unless it is absolutely necessary and try and stick to a time to get home. Obviously, these may change depending on what occurs, such as a safeguarding issue, but having a clocking off time will help you to balance your work and home life.


Have you any other tips for new heads? Leave a message below or comment on our groups.

Popular topics this week (Thanks to our group members!)

  • Closing nursery schools by 2020? Is this true and should we not apply for SLT roles within these schools? Primary School Leaders
  • What time do HT/DHT arrive at school? A huge debate has been going on here Primary School Leaders
  • Moving back to a teaching role form SLT - huge thread again! Primary School Leaders
  • Issues regarding children doing guided reading in their lunch break - legalities and where, as a governor, do I take it? Primary School Governors
  • Do you have a standard privacy statement for pupils that goes MAT-wide or do you have individual ones for each school? MAT Leaders


As ever, please leave any thoughts in the comments below and have a great week.

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