Headteacher Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Headteacher, or Headmaster creates a positive and appropriate learning environment through the management of a school. Their duties include helping deliver the highest standard of education to the students, supporting Teachers and staff and ensuring an overall safe and successful school environment. 


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Headteacher duties and responsibilities

A Headteacher must be prepared to face a wide range of challenges and responsibilities daily. They should be able to communicate in public and spend time on their own completing administrative assignments. Their main duties and responsibilities include:

  • Creating an academic programme for students that meets national standards
  • Working closely and communicating with students’ parents
  • Helping assess students’ needs and development
  • Selecting, training, supporting and assessing staff
  • Providing guidance to staff to help resolve issues with students
  • Using data to track student performance and produce reports
  • Working with external advisors and school governors
  • Controlling school finances
  • Ensuring the safety of all children in the institution/programme


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What does a Headteacher do?

A Headteacher leads the staff and students of a school. They help create the curriculum and overall social environment that the Teachers and students must adhere to. They work closely with staff to ensure the school provides exceptional education, physical health, emotional well-being and parental involvement services to all enrolled students. Their daily tasks may vary greatly,and can include anything from working directly with Teachers, creating a new syllabus to having cost control meetings dedicated to maintaining the school budget. 


Headteacher skills and qualifications

A Headteacher should be professional, decisive and able to think quickly in order to take responsibility for the health and well-being of staff and students. A successful Headteacher candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include: 

  • Business management skills
  • Openness and flexibility
  • The ability to work well with others
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • Leadership skills
  • The ability to teach and design courses
  • Excellent verbal and communication skills


Headteacher experience requirements

A candidate must have experience working as a Teacher in a school as well as several years of experience as a Deputy Head or Senior Manager of a school. Some employers accept previous experience as an Ofsted Inspector or an Education Adviser as appropriate qualifications. In order to further their professional development, many applicants will have taken courses with the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership or the National Professional Qualification for Headship. Applicants will have had very different experiences due to the variety of schools within the UK, but all must have some experience where they provided leadership and guidance to an educational institution. 


Headteacher education and training requirements

Applicants must have obtained a university degree in one of the following areas: Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. If they possess a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, they must also obtain a Qualified Teacher Status from the Department for Education. Many graduates complete a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship in the specific area where they want to specialise. After spending a few years as a Teacher within a school, an applicant should show progression to a more managerial role such as Deputy Head or Senior Manager.


Headteacher salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Headteacher is £45,904 per year in the United Kingdom. Salary is usually dependent on experience, location and company.


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Headteacher job description FAQs


Who reports to a Headteacher?

This will depend on the size of the school. A small school with a few Teachers may have all staff report directly to the Headteacher. A large school will have one or more Deputy Headteachers that Teachers report to, who in turn report to the Headteacher. An applicant must have a plan for how to work within either environment and be able to explain how they would deal the with reporting hierarchy if hired. 


What is the difference between a Headteacher and a School Business Manager?

A Headteacher works with students, staff and parents of a school to fully involve children in the curriculum of a school. A School Business Manager may manage multiple schools within an area and focuses on budgets, salaries and school inspections. A School Business Manager works with a Headteacher and advises them on financial and administrative matters. 


How can you make your Headteacher job description stand out?

Focus on what makes the school a unique and exciting place to work. Explain what the curriculum Teachers are expected to do and the environment they are meant to create for the students. Highlight the professional support and development given to help employees reach their career goals. Also, mention competitive aspects such as salary, employee discount scheme, life assurance and anything else that can set the school apart from others in the community. 

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