A school principal or known as head teacher provides professional leadership and management skills in order to promote a secure foundation from which to achieve high standards.
The role of principal and duties at a school is to gain high quality of education by managing teaching and learning effectively in order to realise the potential of every student and the school. They do this by providing day by day hands on leadership, coordination, and delegate tasks to the senior leadership team as well as other teachers.
School principal definition is a person, who has been appointed in charge of a school, staff, student’s, teaching, learning & achievement
I was never a headmaster and this page provides basic information on the role of a principal from my experience as a school teacher for any person aspiring to the role.
Principal salary at school
How much does a school principal make? Depends on the type of school such as international, independent & boarding or state funded. Size of the student role as well as location plays a significant role in determining the annual salary package of a head teacher.
State funded school you will be placed on a pay scale for a principal, certainly in the UK, Scotland head teacher salary pay scale is from point 1 to 19 £51,207 to £98,808 In England wage between £46,457 to £117,287 depending on years of experience and location of the school. Large challenging schools in inner cities headmaster/mistress get paid the most.
Outstanding top performing international and independent sector schools an experienced principal could receive a salary package of £85,000 -£100,000 or more that includes an apartment or villa and a car.
Why is the principal important in a school?
The school head teacher provides vision and direction, working with others and is responsible for evaluating the school’s performance for: identifying the priorities for continuous improvement and raising standards; developing policies.
In addition, a principal’s role is to implement efficient practices and ensures resources are used efficiently and effectively to achieve the school’s objectives. They oversee the organisation of the school on a day to day basis to ensure its smooth running and high standards in all aspects of education and work practices, and effective teaching practice.
In the wider community a schools principal plays a very important role. As a school leader you are also responsible for all finances, fixed and human resources and the overall performance of the school and students learning.
Principal teacher position can be found in international schools or certain other schools, although a leader of a school could be employed as head teacher in state school management structures.
In general to be appointed as a principal you would have around 10 years teaching and management responsibility experience. The position comes with ultimately responsibility to parents, owners and the education department.
Head teacher qualifications
Certainly you will be a qualified experienced teacher in your own country with possible masters in education. Headship qualification in England The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is useful to help get a leadership role, teacher in the UK and teaching abroad jobs.
Participants require completing a long course of up to 18 months of learning following a certain framework in England.
In Scotland schools head teacher require Holding the Standard for Headship starting their new position on 1st August 2020.
Schools Teacher jobs in Qatar, Teach in Dubai, Abu Dhabi. United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain all require a school leader such as principal to have a leadership qualification to be appointed to the position to gain a work permit. A postgraduate masters in education is also desirable by may schools abroad.
Key head teacher responsibilities, duties, accountabilities & tasks
Determine strategic direction and development
- Ensure the vision is articulated clearly, shared, understood and acted upon effectively.
- Translate the vision into agreed objectives and operational plans which will promote and sustain improvement.
- Demonstrate the vision in everyday work practice.
- As a school principal motivate others and create a positive climate.
- Lead as a school principal for staff to the use of new technologies to achieve excellence.
Strategic leader of teaching and learning
- Ensure a school wide focus on students’ achievement, using benchmarks to monitor progress.
- Establish effective approaches to learning.
- Set high expectations as school principal, support students to achieve success.
- Secure high standards of behaviour and attendance.
- Implement a flexible curriculum and effective assessment framework.
- Produce and implement clear, evidence based improvement plans and policies.
- Ensure as the school principal that policies and practices take account of national and local events.
- School management of financial and human resources effectively.
- Recruit, retain and deploy staff appropriately and manage their workload effectively.
- Implement successful performance review.
- Manage the school environment efficiently, meeting health and safety standards.
- Present an accurate account of the school’s performance and staff members clearly understand objectives
Working with others
- A school principal should treat all people fairly, equitably and with dignity
- As a school principal work collaboratively with others, local schools to build an effective learning communities
- Develop and maintain effective procedures for staff induction and professional development.
- As a school principal acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of individuals
A person that manages a school is not alone; they have a management structure underneath them who they have appointed in specific roles. Could be that a school does not have a deputy to stand in for the head teacher, and in that case an assistant head teacher would take charge on a temporary bases.
Vice Principal of a school
To deputise for the principal in his absence and actively promote the school’s achievement through the development of a curriculum and classroom practice ensuring that all students make good progress.
The deputy will oversee the organisation of the school on a day to day basis to ensure its smooth running and high standards in all aspects in the leader’s absence.
Day to day responsibilities 7 duties of deputy head teacher in senior leadership team
- Assist the principal in managing the school and raising standards.
- Assume the general duties of all members of the senior leadership.
- Support and uphold the school’s policies on behaviour and discipline.
- Positive role model of a teacher and senior member of staff.
- Fill participation in school parents/public events and open days.
- Develop cordial relationships with parents.
- Manage the timetable and communicate any revisions to all staff members.
Strategic leader of teaching and learning
- Direct teachers & staff to work effectively, fully engage with students & staff and contact with parents.
- Assesses progress of students and areas of under achievement.
- Identify and share good practice.
- Be involved in the establishment and delivery of the curriculum development programme.
- Through coaching and mentoring, develop teaching strategies appropriate to the needs of the students.
Manage external examinations
- Liaison with relevant heads of department, students, parents and examination boards, be responsible for the smooth running and administration of all examinations/tests.
- Liaise with examination boards regarding entries, results and appeals.
- Provide statistical information regarding results.
Raising morale and confidence amongst staff
- Exercising professional skills and judgement to advise, encourage and help staff to feel valued.
- Develop the ability of staff to take responsibility for their own learning and development.
- Be a ‘critical member of the senior leadership team.
Day of a principal at a school
Early start arriving at school prepared for the day events. Go to the school office check emails, letters received, phone calls from parents, education department or owner and see if any issue or indeed praise has arisen from the night before.
Meeting with the senior leadership team and then head to school assembly. Principal duties throughout the day a headteacher will be checking the school is running efficiently, liaising with staff members, such as head of department’s or head’s of year, contact with parents and an eye on the news for anything that will affect the school.
School Improvement for headmistress/headmaster
A continuous school progress is a for all age levels for public and independent schools consisting of three components that the entire school leadership team is involved in:
- Performance review
- Improvement planning
These 3 school improvement components are integrated into one cycle which consists of:
– Monitoring teaching/learning/students’ attainment and progress through first hand observation and collection of qualitative and quantitative evidence from a range of sources (policies, plans, financial information, job descriptions and assessment information).
– Judging whether standards are high enough through interpretation and evaluation of data and other evidence.
– Planning what needs to be done to overcome weaknesses and set clear objectives and targets for improvement;
Additionally, the school improvement process is a valuable means of identifying and sharing effective teaching and learning and examining what students are doing well and could develop for improvement.
Each principal and school has responsibility for its own school improvement. Make the best use of the challenge & support available to you from the owners of the school and the education authority.
To be appointed as principal you require applying for an open advertised position. See education job boards, local council job advertisements on their website.
Jobs as a school leader are advertised months in advance of starting the position, although posts arise more immediately as the school could not find an appropriate leader.
As you know the interview and assessment process is substantial that may take 2 or even 3 rounds of interviewing depending on the school.
Independent and international schools owners decide who gets the role, where in the state government school sector the board of governors offer you the job role
15 qualities, traits & skills of a school principal
- Projects authority
- Decisive leader
- Able to follow instructions, set guidelines and laws
- Willing to take calculated informed risks
- Manage risks
- Approachable and willing to receive feedback
- Passion for the teaching profession and school
- Able to motivate others for improvement and change
- Delegate tasks, willing and know when to ask for a second option
- Understanding, fair and firm
- Vision coupled with professional judgement
- Task completion to tight schedules
5 challenges running a school
– Recruit and retention of good teachers is an ongoing challenge especially for stem subjects.
– Meet the expectations of owners of the school or education department
– Ever changing exams.
– Political and media interference.
– Restrictive school annual budget.