Working as a head of department within the further education sector can be both challenging and rewarding in equal measure. As an academic leader you would guide the department's staff and curriculum whilst also managing the budget to ensure that your department functions to the best of its abilities.
You would need extensive experience as a teacher, having demonstrated talents for curriculum development as well as the management skills to support and mentor staff towards achieving your department's goals. You'd work closely with the principal or FE director to ensure that your department and college as a whole can attract students and deliver high standards.
What does a head of department do?
The head of department would be responsible for the department's staff, curriculum planning and development, financial management, cross-department liaison, and teaching delivery. A head of department normally teaches around 400 - 500 hours per annum.
General responsibilities may vary, but could include:
- Teaching students
- Managing and reporting on the department's budget
- Recruitment and induction of all departmental staff, including technical, support and administrative staff
- Development of staff through training, appraisals and performance management
- Designing departmental timetables in collaboration with other senior staff
- Agreeing and implementing targets for recruitment, retention and success of students
- Monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the recruitment, retention, and success of students
- Monitoring the effectiveness of the learner journey including induction, communication channels, teaching, and IAG provision
- Helping to plan and deliver publicity events and materials
- Promoting and safeguarding the welfare of students
What hours does a head of department work?
Heads of department normally work full time, between 37 and 40 hours a week although this may increase during busy times of the year. Heads of department usually work Monday to Friday. On occasion they may work weekends to support the delivery of open days or special events.
What salary can a head of department expect to earn?
As a head of department you could expect to earn between £36,162 and £90,273 per year. Salary is likely to dependent on the size and prestige of the institution and department.
Guideline figures only
What qualifications and experience will I need to become a head of department?
Firstly you would be expected to have a degree or equivalent professional qualification within your subject area. You would also be expected to have a recognised teaching qualification such as a PGCE, Cert Ed. or Level 5 diploma teaching qualification.
On top of your subject specialism and teaching qualifications you would be expected to have a proven track record of delivering a successful curriculum with strong evidence of long term student success. You would have already gained experience as a programme or course leader and would have a proven track record of working with partners and other agencies such as examining bodies, cross-departmental staff and senior management.
Many heads of department have also taken a post graduate management qualification or have completed significant CPD in management development. Going forward you would need to be committed to CPD and research activity linked to the role to help you consolidate and develop your skills.