Overcoming challenges as subject leaders in primary school

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The role of subject leader in primary schools has become increasingly demanding, particularly in light of Ofsted’s deep-dive curriculum inspections. Primary school teachers may lead a subject in which they have limited knowledge and experience; this is especially common in foundation subjects, such as Music or Design & Technology.

What does a subject leader do?

In most schools, a subject leader has several important responsibilities. They ensure quality teaching in their subject, help colleagues improve teaching and manage resources. Subject leaders also plan for subject enhancement, lead inspections and track curriculum / pupil progress. Their diverse responsibilities come together to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in school.

What challenges does a subject leader face?

Although the workload varies from school to school, subject leaders will face similar challenges. These include limited time for effective leadership, grappling with confidence issues or gaps in subject knowledge, contending with restricted resources, preparing for Ofsted inspections and allocating time / money for staff CPD.

So, what can help to overcome these challenges?

Resources every subject leader needs

Inspection preparation

Getting ready for an Ofsted deep dive inspection can feel daunting. However, subject leaders can simplify the process with useful tools such as sample deep dive questions, subject audits and examples of pupil questions. These resources enable subject leaders to proactively and effectively prepare for their inspection.

Curriculum framework and standards

Subject leaders can find their tasks more manageable with the implementation of effective planning and well-defined curriculum frameworks. They should showcase how subject topics are distributed across different year groups, ensure national curriculum coverage and demonstrate a well-thought-out progression of knowledge and skills.

Subject-specific training and professional development

In primary schools, CPD in foundation subjects is often neglected, with priority given to core subjects. It is challenging for subject leaders to attend appropriate training or implement it for others.

Quality teaching resources

Quality teaching resources are crucial for supporting subject leaders. These resources should aid excellent teaching and learning, be up-to-date and be evenly available across the school.

Assessment tools

Subject leaders hold the important responsibility of overseeing assessments in their subject. This involves ensuring consistency across the school, tracking pupil progress and identifying gaps in attainment. All to help identify actionable areas to drive improvement.

How Kapow Primary supports subject leaders

Kapow Primary is an online platform that delivers schemes of work for foundation subjects. Committed to empowering subject leaders and enhancing primary education, Kapow Primary has created various resources for subject leaders to help alleviate the pressures of the role.

These include:

✔ Subject leader toolkits comprising subject audits, pupil voice documents, action plan templates and other subject-specific support.
✔ Deep dive preparation toolkits.
✔ Detailed long-term plans.
✔ Curriculum coverage documents.
✔ Skills and knowledge progression.
✔ CPD integrated into lesson planning – short teacher videos outlining the knowledge and skills required for specific lessons.
✔ Assessment resources including unit quizzes, knowledge catchers and spreadsheets to track pupil progress.
✔ Webinars featuring expert guest speakers – covering subject-specific and curriculum-based topics for ongoing subject leader professional development.
✔A dedicated Kapow Primary subject leader Facebook group.

Kapow Primary’s extensive subject leader support caters to teachers of all experience levels and subject expertise.

Every subject leader should have the tools to teach like a specialist and deliver high-quality curricula. By utilising available resources, subject leaders can confidently navigate their roles, improve subject knowledge and guide their colleagues.

Visit Kapow Primary’s profile page to learn more. You can sign up for a no-obligation free trial today!

Updated on: 23 August 2023

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