What Is a Headteacher?


You Will Learn.

  • What is a Headteacher? 
  • How to become a Headteacher
  • What are the responsibilities of a Headteacher?  
  • What qualifications does a Headteacher need?
  • What’s the average Headteacher salary?
  • Who employs a Headteacher?
  • What skills does a Headteacher need?  
  • Where the latest Headteacher jobs are and how to apply for them

What Is a Headteacher?

A Headteacher manages and oversees the general running of a school ensuring all Teachers, Teaching Assistants and wider staff deliver the highest standard of education. 

As well as creating a safe and successful environment for all students and staff to thrive, a Headteacher will also be responsible for the overall performance of the school ensuring that it meets statutory obligations.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Headteacher?

A Headteacher must be able to bear the critical responsibility of shaping a school's vision and values, setting its strategic direction for future success. They must manage the school's budget efficiently to allow for the effective allocation of resources to support quality education. A Headteacher's unwavering commitment to safety ensures a secure environment for both staff and students, fostering a conducive space for learning and growth.

A successful Headteacher will collaborate with external bodies to strengthen the school's connections within the broader educational landscape. 

Organising and overseeing staff training initiatives empowers the faculty to continually improve their skills and knowledge. Measuring and monitoring the school's performance allows for data-driven decision-making, and a Headteacher will lead the development of action plans when necessary to drive progress.

Ensuring adherence to the national curriculum set by the Department of Education ensures educational excellence. In the day-to-day running of the school, effective leadership should be demonstrated through leading by example, delegation, and recruitment of faculty, which plays a pivotal role in maintaining a positive and productive school environment.

Headteacher's efforts extend beyond the school gates as they foster and maintain relationships with parents and governing bodies, promoting collaboration and a shared commitment to students' success. Building positive relationships within the community further enhances the school's impact, promoting a sense of belonging and support for all stakeholders.

Lastly, recognising the importance of ongoing professional development, Headteachers enrol staff on training courses when necessary, fostering a culture of continuous growth and improvement. Through leadership and dedication, a Headteacher should guide the school toward excellence, empowering students and staff to thrive and achieve their fullest potential.

While working as a Headteacher, you will be required to: 

  • Set the school’s values and its strategic direction.
  • Manage the school’s budget.
  • Ensure the safety of all staff and students within the school.
  • Liaise with external bodies such as Local Authorities when requested. 
  • Organise and oversee staff training.
  • Measure and monitor the school’s performance and develop action plans when necessary.
  • Ensure the school follows the national curriculum set by the department of education. 
  • Manage the day-to-day running of the school.
  • Lead by example for staff and students. 
  • Delegate tasks.
  • Recruitment of faculty.
  • Maintain and develop relationships with parents and governing bodies. 
  • Create positive relationships within the community. 
  • Enrol staff on training courses when necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

The salary of a Headteacher in the UK can vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the school, the location of the school, and the experience of the Headteacher.

According to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the current pay range for a Headteacher in England and Wales is between £47,735 and £117,197 per annum.

However, this range can vary based on the factors mentioned above. It's worth noting that these figures are for state-funded schools in England and Wales, and private schools may offer different salary packages.

The majority of Headteacher jobs are in educational institutions such as a primary schools, secondary schools or colleges. 

Every school, whether it be public or private, or primary or secondary, needs to appoint a Headteacher. Headteacher positions are appointed by a governing board or the governing body which oversees the school or institution. 

Private schools may be run by their owner with no governing body.

Becoming a Headteacher typically requires following a progressive career path in education. A Headteacher will start their career by obtaining a Bachelor's degree in education or a related field, gaining valuable teaching experience and developing a strong understanding of educational principles. 

They will subsequently pursue a Master's or Postgraduate degree in Educational Leadership or School Administration to gain specialised knowledge in leadership and management. Additionally, they should engage in further professional development, such as leadership training programs and workshops, to enhance their leadership skills. 

An aspiring Headteacher should seek opportunities to take on leadership roles, such as department head or Assistant Principal, to demonstrate their competence in managing school affairs. This will help them to build a positive track record as an effective leader, communicator, and problem-solver which is instrumental in securing Headteacher positions.

Active involvement in educational networks and professional organisations can also enhance a Headteachers candidacy. When applying for Headteacher vacancies, a candidate should demonstrate their vision, commitment to excellence, and ability to lead a school community toward educational success.

Before progressing to a role as a Headteacher, you will need to hold a valid teaching qualification (either a PGCE in education or a teaching degree) and have experience working as a teacher within a school for a number of years. 

You will also need experience working at a senior level (such as a deputy head) and the time frame of this progression largely depends on factors such as the size of the school, when opportunities for career progression arise, and personal development.

Additional training in educational leadership or management will also help your application. 

What Skills Does a Headteacher Need?

As an effective leader in the education field, it’s important for a Headteacher to possess a diverse skill-set to navigate the challenges and opportunities that arise. Leadership skills form the bedrock of an approach, guiding and empowering a team towards shared goals. Proficiency in IT, literacy, and numeracy ensures they stay at the forefront of educational advancements, utilising technology and data effectively.

An unwavering commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is paramount, creating a safe and nurturing environment for their growth. Equipped with strong time management and organisational abilities, a Headteacher should efficiently manage responsibilities, ensuring a well-structured and productive school environment.

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills enable Headteachers to effectively engage with staff, students, and parents, promoting positive relationships and open dialogue. As a problem solver, a Headteacher should embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, inspiring others to adopt a similar mindset. Their motivational and inspirational approach should uplift and empower both students and faculty, creating a culture of continuous improvement. Delegating tasks strategically allows for efficient operation and the development of a team's skills.

An optimistic outlook fuels enthusiasm and resilience, leading to a positive atmosphere within the school community. With a keen sense of role awareness, a Headteacher should navigate the complexities of educational leadership with clarity and purpose.

Headteachers coaching abilities should nurture talent, empowering staff to reach their potential and contribute to the school's success. Business management skills enable them to make sound decisions that align with the school's vision and goals. Finally, an ability to work well under pressure ensures a steady hand in times of challenge, demonstrating grace and poise in leading the school community towards a bright and successful future.

Key skills of a Headteacher include: 

  • Leadership skills.
  • Good IT, literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
  • Time management skills.
  • Organised.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. 
  • Problem-solving.
  • Motivational and inspirational.
  • The ability to develop positive relationships.
  • The ability to delegate tasks.
  • Optimistic.
  • Role awareness.
  • Coaching.
  • Business management skills.
  • Working well under pressure.

Headteacher Jobs.

If you're searching for your next career opportunity, why not take a look at all the latest Headteacher jobs available in your area now?

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At Spencer Clarke Group, we work with a variety of schools covering a wide geographical area. We offer Headteacher placements at:

  • Primary Schools
  • Secondary Schools
  • Special Education Needs Schools
  • Colleges 

Why not get in contact with one of our specialists who can advise on current and upcoming opportunities?


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