The Senior Leadership Team – you’ve been asked to join?

You’ve just had a quiet chat with the Headteacher and have been asked to consider joining the SLT the Senior leadership team of the school….now what do you do?

Why would you be invited?

If you have read the previous article on structure and strategy of the SLT then you will see the scope of the management tasks that the team undertakes – and to be quite honest it is quite a load.

So the idea of having an SLT is to spread the management load, aims and aspirations both current and future with senior members of staff who can both lead and collaborate on the various aspects.

In order to be able to contribute towards the team you must meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • A broad balanced experience in Primary Education
  • Has successfully held the role of subject coordinator in one or more areas of the foundation subjects.
  • Shows excellent understanding and interpretation of the National Curriculum and complement this with high standards of teaching in the classroom.
  • Have a solid understanding of the requirements and operations of assessment and tracking processes and how this informs and guides teaching and learning.
  • The member of staff may have held previously leading practitioner roles or possibly TLR 3 level awards for a particular initiative.

The Head and Deputy are therefore looking for someone who has excellent classroom practice, organised supportive systems (planning, assessment and tracking) and has a broad range of experience that leads towards the next step which is the Senior Leadership Team.

If you meet most or all of these criteria then you will be ready to step up to the next level of management within the school.

What does the next level entail?

Well I can tell you straight away that there will be more responsibility – and that means more work! The SLT is the management backbone for everything that happens in school and as such the responsibility for the direction and implementation of all aspects of school life fall to this group.

Leaving aside the day to day, practical and maintenance areas let’s consider the core purpose of the school – which is the education of the children.

Irrespective of the size of the school the tasks falling to the SLT remain pretty much the same and as such so are the roles of the members of the group.

The big hitting roles here will be:

  • Planning systems
  • Assessment and tracking
  • Core subject coordination and I would now include Science as I think this will be included in the KS2 SAT’s very soon.
  • Staff welfare and well being.
  • Any additional priorities that may be identified by the HT and DH

Planning systems and Assessment and tracking are usually overseen by the Deputy Head and (nowadays) an Assistant Head. They are not usually put together especially as assessment and tracking is such a major area in itself. For a new member of the SLT I would think you would be asked to take on one of the Core subjects for coordination as you have shown previously your success with foundation subjects and can apply this towards a new and more complex area.

Your new responsibilities:

As a member of the SLT you will have a larger vision as to the workings of the school and will be privy to about 80 -85% of what is happening. With this new position comes the responsibility of Confidentiality and it is something that will be emphasised when you first start and something that you must adhere to.

Having been given your “specialism” within the team you now have to set to and become an expert – and you really do need to know what’s going on because it is now YOUR responsibility to lead not only the SLT on this but the whole school. As it is a steep curve there may be opportunity to attend training courses or for advisors to come to school to guide your thinking and approach so never feel alone or confused. (You could always refer to Primary Practice articles or by email should you wish!)

If It’s a core subject then you will need to ensure the following: (for other areas of responsibility¬†your involvement is just as comprehensive)

  • That you personally know and understand the whole curriculum requirement
  • That you can guarantee that the curriculum is being delivered correctly in every year group
  • That standards are being met in every year group
  • That you know at regular intervals the attainment of all year groups
  • Ensure that intervention work is being done in response to any failings
  • Testing and tracking are carried out at regular intervals to monitor pupil progress.
  • You have comprehensive records of everything.

Of course, you will not be alone in doing this, as you will be liaising with colleagues overseeing both planning and assessment. However, now that you are in charge EVERY question regarding your subject will be referred to you and just to make matters worse so will OFSTED!

So what’s in it for me?

On the negative side:

  • Increased workload
  • Direct responsibility for all aspects of your area to the school, governors and OFSTED
  • Possibly no extra release time to do it (depends on your school size and priorities)

On the positive side:

  • Extra pay…always good to hear….expect to move up to TLR 2 level as it’s a permanent responsibility. (I would think twice about TLR 3 but depends on you really). I would expect a first post to be on this scale but of course other HT’s may see things differently.
  • Career movement upwards – if you wish to move your career forward then this is the first big step. Its a great opportunity so take it.
  • You get to experience the “inside view ” of school management and be part of the decision making of the school. Everything from here is about getting experience and it is this that you take with you in every step of your career.

Ask yourself the questions based on the above positives and negatives. Talk to family, talk to friends, talk to other members of the SLT…ask questions and then sit down and make your decision.

I hope this has been of some help – every school is different of course and so every situation will be different; but the principles remain the same.

Schools need great leadership so take a deep breath and step forward.







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