A deputy head is a teaching position within schools in the U.K. The deputy head is normally the second-highest position within the school after the head teacher, a position known as a principal in the U.S. While some deputy heads will continue to teach some classes, the role is more managerial and supervisory.
Deputy heads work in conjunction with the school's head teacher to implement the aims and objectives of the school. This may include helping recruit staff, overseeing the financial management of the school, ensuring that pupils are motivated, responding to issues brought up by teachers, and resolving pupil disciplinary problems. A deputy head will also work with the head teacher to ensure that the school is up to date on the latest teaching methods and technologies.
The qualifications of a deputy head teacher are the same as required for other teachers. In addition to a bachelor's degree, a deputy head must have completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education (PGCE), which can be taken throughout the U.K. in a number of universities and colleges. Once completed, a teacher will have qualified teacher's status, which is required to teach in the U.K.
The working days of a deputy head will normally be longer than the standard school days of Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They will also work the regular 39 weeks of the year with the rest taken as holiday, including six weeks over the summer. However, many will be expected to work during some of this holiday period also.
Required skills include the ability to lead teams of people both in the role of deputy head and in the position of acting head in the absence of a head teacher. They will also need good interpersonal skills, having to communicate with teams of teachers and other school-based staff, and must possess a desire to work with children. Deputy head teachers should also be able to identify those who are struggling academically and should be able to work well under pressure.
According to My Salary, the average earnings of a deputy head teacher in the U.K. in 2009 was £50,742. There was a large variation, however, given the locations of the job, with those in London and eastern England taking home the most and those in the southwestern England taking home the least.