Deputy headteacher: what does the role involve?


Becoming a deputy headteacher might be a role you aspire to. 

Deputy headteachers will work closely with the headteacher and will be in the second most senior position at school, line-managing staff and working towards the objectives in the school improvement plan. 

At Edapt we support many deputy headteachers and senior leaders in England and Wales. You can access high-quality employment advice and support for your role by subscribing today.

To progress to the role of deputy headteacher you might already be an assistant headteacher or head of year. You might have also decided to complete a National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL) to support your application to deputy headteacher.

You can apply for a deputy head role at different schools or decide to apply for a position at your own school. We have written another support article about internal recruitment practices in schools.

In this article, we link to job descriptions and person specifications for the role of deputy headteacher.

Deputy headteacher: job description examples

Newsham Primary School in Blyth has a job description for a deputy headteacher. 

It explains, “the deputy headteacher must play a lead role in establishing a culture that promotes excellence, equality and high expectations for all pupils.”

The deputy headteacher assists in providing vision, leadership and direction for the school and helps to ensure that it is managed to meet its aims and targets. This includes:

  • Through a visible presence on a day-to-day basis and at school events, create and maintain an effective partnership with parents and carers to support and improve pupils achievement and personal development
  • On a day to day basis, provide guidance and leadership to ensure the highest possible standard of pupil care, record keeping and communication
  • Take a lead role in managing pupil behaviour across school and additionally by consistently modelling and implementing the agreed policy for pupil behaviour
  • Take a lead role in the pastoral care of all staff by supporting the headteacher to develop positive working relationships and sustain motivation, with and between all staff
  • Treat people fairly, equitably and with dignity and respect to create and maintain a positive school culture

Park Lane Primary School in Brent has a job description for a deputy headteacher. 

It explains “The deputy headteacher will work alongside the headteacher in defining and articulating and implementing the shared vision and values of the school through effective communication and engagement with all stakeholders. It is expected that the deputy head will demonstrate outstanding leadership skills working with the headteacher on the implementation of the strategic direction of the school.”

Key accountabilities in teaching and learning include:

  • Playing a major part in securing outstanding classroom practice across the school
  • Encouraging innovation, the development of independent learning, cross curricular initiatives and the further use of technologies
  • To ensure that the learning and teaching provided by different curriculum areas and teaching teams form a co-ordinated, coherent curriculum which achieves the best possible outcomes for all
  • Ensuring that information on student progress is used to improve teaching and learning to inform and motivate students, to inform parents and to aid governors in their future management of the school
  • To contribute to the monitoring and development of learning and teaching and our commitment to academic improvement
  • Share in whole school data analysis to determine how well the school is performing and assist with target setting as appropriate

Hitchen Boy’s School in Hertfordshire has a job description for a deputy headteacher. It explains the deputy headteacher will:

  • Undertake the normal responsibilities of the class teacher
  • Assist, support, represent and deputise for the Head Teacher
  • Play a major role in formulating and reviewing the School Improvement Plan
  • Take specific responsibility for development of teaching and learning  
  • Maintain and develop the ethos, values and overall purposes of the school
  • Promote a positive image of the school
  • Ensure that the school plays a constructive role in the life of the community
  • Monitor and evaluate the performance of the school
  • Implement policies on equality issues for all staff and pupils
  • Take a lead in the efficient organisation, management and supervision of school routines 

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.