If you’ve taken on the role of subject leadership and you’re unsure of the role, this guide shares what is expected of you within your role.
It is the role of the subject leader to implement the aims of the school and contribute to the continued drive for improvement through their individual subject area.
All teachers, other than NQTs, are expected to contribute to subject leadership.
Core Purpose of the Subject Leader
While the Head Teacher, governors and the Trust have overall responsibility for school improvement, a subject leader provides leadership and direction for an individual subject and ensures that it is managed and organised to meet the aims and objectives of the school and the subject. A subject leader has responsibility for securing high standards of teaching and learning in their subject.
Role of the Subject Leader: What subject leaders do?
1. Strategic direction and development of the subject – Standards and Progress
Subject leaders lead on a subject, developing the subject to ensure that it reflects on the school’s commitment to high achievement, ethos and values and effective teaching and learning. Subject leaders must evaluate practice and develop an acceptance of accountability.
They monitor the progress made by pupils and the progress towards achieving subject action plans and targets. They evaluate the impact of actions taken on teaching and learning, and use this analysis to guide further improvement, using a variety of Subject Leader tools including work sampling, planning sampling, teacher discussion, data analysis, pupil interviews, drop-ins and lesson observations.
All subject leaders develop a ‘subject action plan.’ In their role, subject leaders support the development of the School Development Plan through the actions put into place. They carry out a cycle of monitoring throughout the school, ensuring that they are able to make judgements about the standards within their subject. Evidence of monitoring is kept in the form of a monitoring form and feedback is given to teachers, along with next steps and actions. A plan can be made to ensure that actions are planned for and put in place at the correct times through a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan. These are then monitored at a later date and the cycle begins again.
Evidence of what has been done and what impact it has had on whole school development throughout the year can be recorded and presented at Performance Management.
Subject leaders ensure curriculum coverage, continuity and progress in their subject for all pupils. Curriculum coverage is key and getting to grips with the National Curriculum and the Progression of Skills document within the subject area, will ensure that this is easier to monitor and support other members of staff. Subject leaders have the role to review the curriculum within the school and ownership over what is to be covered is in the hands of subject leaders. This is to be shared with the Curriculum Leader when designing the final Curriculum Overview each year.
Subject leaders ensure the effective and efficient management and organisation of learning resources to meet the needs of the school. Resources are kept up-to-date and relevant to the needs of the subject. Storage systems for resources need to be managed. Where new resources are needed, these need to be identified and costed as part of action planning.
5. Staff CPD
Subject leaders sustain their own motivation and that of other staff in their subject area. Subject leaders audit and/or identify training needs of staff and co-ordinate the provision of high quality professional development. Subject leaders act as a first point of advice for staff to provide the support, challenge, information and development necessary to sustain motivation and secure improvement in teaching.
6. Subject Leader File
Subject leaders must establish and maintain a file including information relating to their role. In the event that subject leadership roles change, the new subject leadership will clearly be able to see where the subject has been developed and build on this, rather than starting again.
7. Guidelines for Implementation
Most aspects of the subject leader’s role can be discharged outside the teaching day – however, it is acknowledged that the role requires considerable investment of time and energy and that some aspects of the role require time during the school day. Therefore, subject leaders will be given or can request non-contact time throughout the school year for the purposes of monitoring.
Subject action plans and evaluations will be monitored termly by the Senior Leadership Team. Feedback following monitoring activities is also shared with the Leadership Team.