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Headteachers manage schools. They create the right conditions for children and staff to achieve their best.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £44,000 to £115,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

To become a headteacher you’ll need experience as a teacher, usually as a deputy head or other senior manager.

You'll have experience of extra responsibilities, for example as a co-ordinator of literacy or head of pastoral care.

You'll need training and qualifications in school management, for example the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) or the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).

The National College for Teaching & Leadership has more information.  

Another option is to join the Future Leaders fast-track programme, run by Ambition School Leadership

You'll need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to inspire and lead
  • IT, planning and organisational skills
  • management and finance skills
  • the ability to improve performance

3. What you'll do

Depending on your experience, you could work in primary, secondary, special or independent schools and academies.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • setting the school’s values and communicating them to pupils, staff, parents and the community
  • creating and maintaining a healthy and safe space for learning
  • deciding staff priorities and delegating tasks
  • setting high expectations of achievement for staff and pupils
  • keeping to rules on equal opportunities
  • using data to track performance and produce reports
  • informing parents and pupils about progress
  • selecting, supporting, assessing and developing staff
  • leading and attending meetings
  • controlling school finances
  • working with external advisers and school governors

4. Salary

Starter: £44,000, increasing to £51,500 in inner London

Experienced: £81,500, increasing to £89,000 in inner London

Highly Experienced: £108,250, increasing to £115,500 in inner London

These figures are a guide. In state schools, pay depends on the number and age of pupils in a school. Some schools have their own pay policies linked to performance.

Independent schools set their own pay.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work at least 45 hours a week, for 40 weeks of the year. Headteachers get long holidays but you’ll usually spend some holiday time working.

You’ll also attend meetings outside school hours.

6. Career path and progression

Due to the variety of schools in the UK, there are opportunities to move between different types and sizes of school.

You could also train to be an Ofsted inspector, an education adviser, or become a teacher training lecturer in a college or university.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018