5 Responsibilities of A Department Head in Education

When you have been a teacher for a while, you may be looking for a way to advance your career while still working as a teacher.

Many teachers opt to train as a department head, which is, in essence, a curriculum team manager role, who is responsible along with the principal for the delivery of the curriculum in one area. In short, you will be required to ensure that all of the children in your year group or subject receive the best education and get the top marks. 

What else is involved in becoming a department head?

Teaching to High Standards

It is seen as somewhat of a rarity when a principal teaches a class, as they are seen in a more administrative role. But when it comes to being a department head, you will still be required to teach classes and provide a high standard of educational enrichment when doing so.

This may mean that you will need to undertake additional programs, such as online educational leadership programs to help you build your knowledge of how to teach to a higher standard and how to help students to engage in their work effectively. 

Support Staff

When you are working in a school environment in a leadership role, you will need to be able to support the staff on your team. That means that you will need to work to create an environment in which your staff feels able to approach you to discuss any concerns they have or to highlight issues they may have noticed in the department. 

The support of staff will also require you to oversee meetings with the staff in your department too, as well as provide them with one-on-one sessions. 

Provide Training

Yes, as a department head, it will also be your responsibility to ensure that the teacher in your department is up to speed on the latest training techniques and aware of changes to the curriculum and the requirements for exam marking. Typically, this will also be undertaken with the help of the principal, but you will be expected to help out with the training of the staff in your department.


OK, so you won’t be expected to write the exams, but you will be responsible for knowing the subjects and areas that are going to be looked at in upcoming exams and ensuring that the staff in your department are effectively teaching these areas. 

For example, if you are a department head in a middle school math department and you know that multiplying fractions is going to be queried in an upcoming exam, you will need to relay this to your staff and ensure that they are teaching it to the required level. 

Track Progress

One of the most important roles in a department head’s job is to actively track student progress and respond to the findings. You will also be required to write reports based on exam performance, as well as practice exams, and look at areas that require improvement.

It’s worth noting that all of these are just some of the responsibilities of a department head. If you are someone who loves to teach and oversee administrative duties, too, this could be an area that is well worth training in.

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