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Subject Leadership: Leading a Team, Not a Subject

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

Subject leadership has the potential to feel a bit lonely – like you are the only person championing your subject in your school but this is not so.

The clue is in the name: you are a leader. A leader of what? Not a leader of a subject – you cannot lead something that does not move under its own steam.

No, in actual fact you are a leader of people - a team of people who are teaching your subject to the children in your school. And because you have a team you are not alone. And if all the other teachers in the school are in your team – the art team, the English team, the RE team, then you too are a part of many other teams.

Subject leaders are actually part of an intricate network of team leaders and team members - a network with a common goal. You all want your subject to be developed, for children to be successful in demonstrating the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in that subject and for teachers to be delivering it so that this is so.

Yes, each subject will have its different development needs and challenges, and each subject will be at a slightly different point on its journey, and some subjects may be a priority on the school improvement plan, but you are all working towards the same goals, and working in roughly the same ways too: implementing change, training and supporting staff, checking to see how things are going, providing feedback and adjusting your approach. You are not alone – you work in unison, helping each other out, understanding that whatever you might ask of teachers, they might ask of you in their capacity as subject leader.

And because of this, it really is in your interest to work together – if everyone is working in silos then it can very quickly become overwhelming: you can’t all be delivering CPD at once, or expecting teachers to make drastic changes in all subjects, or all doing lesson observations in the same week. You have to work together, coordinating who does what and when. And this slows things down for individual subjects and subject leaders, meaning that you have to take time in developing your subject.

If you would like Aidan to work with your organisation on subject leadership, use the 'Contact' tab above, or the phone or email details at the top of the page to get in touch.

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