#168 How to lead a maths department with Femi Adeniran and Matt Findlay

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Episode details

Experienced heads of department, Femi Adeniran and Matt Findlay, join me for an epic conversation about leading a maths department. We cover everything from consistency versus autonomy, departmental meetings, handling parental complaints and allocating sets.

Whether you are a current head of department, an aspiring one, or a teacher who is interested in the challenges a head of department faces, then this is the episode for you. I also have a feeling that the issues discussed are relevant outside of our maths bubble, but I will let you be the judge of that,

Whatever your style of teaching, experience or subject, I think you will get a lot out of this conversation.

Useful time-stamps:

  1. Matt’s favourite failure (06:26)
  2. Femi’s favourite failure (10:38)
  3. Matt’s route into becoming a head of department (15:45)
  4. Femi’s route into becoming a head of department (18:17)
  5. How many year’s classroom teaching should you have before becoming a head of department? (21:02)
  6. How strong a teacher does the head of department need to be? (24:41)
  7. What does your timetable as a head of department look like? (28:43)
  8. Do you find you are teaching more these days than 5 years ago? (32:38)
  9. Does your teaching suffer with all the other things you have to give attention to? (40:00)
  10. How does your workload compare to a teacher with a full time-table? (46:39)
  11. How often would you be pulled out of a lesson to deal with something? (52:13)
  12. How do you balance the need for consistency across your department with a desire for teacher autonomy? (56:46)
  13. What are the non-negotiables that members of your team have to follow? (1:32:54)
  14. What do your departmental meetings look like? (1:57:13)
  15. How do you ensure good practice is shared around the department? (2:21:51)
  16. How do you support less experienced colleagues, non-specialists, those who are struggling? (2:23:16)
  17. How do you deal with directives from SLT that you don’t agree with? (2:41:26)
  18. What do you do to help non-specialists (particularly SLT) understand what the characteristics of high-quality T&L in maths are? (2:48:37)
  19. How do you deal with difficult members of the department who are reluctant the make changes? (2:54:59)
  20. How do you deal with parental complaints? (3:00:48)
  21. How do you allocate teaching sets? (3:05:19)
  22. Final reflections (3:19:37)
  23. Craig’s takeaways (3:32:42)

Videos from our conversation:

Coming soon (hopefully!)

For hundreds of other video tips, check out Tips for Teachers

About the guests

On Twitter Femi and Matt are: @BeyondGoodPod
Their excellent Beyond Good podcast can be found here

Matt’s Big 3

  1. Why Don’t Students Like School?
  2. Running the room
  3. How I wish I’d taught maths

Femi’s Big 3

  1. The Behaviour Manual
  2. Corbett Maths
  3. Visit other schools!

My usual plugs:

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