The Roles of Headteachers in a School Institution

Headteacher addressing students

Headteachers and teachers have a responsibility of ensuring that learners get the best out of their studies. Considering this, there is extensive research trying to understand the role of head teachers and teachers in a school institution. The head teacher is in charge of the whole school and therefore supervises the entire school program and is fully responsible for the effectiveness and proficiency of all activities in the school (Walker, & Dimmock, 2012). However, the role of head teachers has become more complex and overloaded over the past decade (Fullan, 1991). According to Fullan (1991), effective school heads are a minority. Due to the urgent need to make the school a better place for learners, the government has focused on improving school management by strengthening the role of head teachers. Quality education depends highly on how well the school is being managed (Beatriz et al., 2008).

Promote performance 

Head teachers have a responsibility of promoting academic performance in a school institution. The quality of education in many countries is evaluated based on the number of students who pass in their national examination. In light of this, it is important for head teachers to put the necessary measures in place in order to ensure the school institution is well organized and managed. According to Rutter et al (1979), a student performance can only be improved if the school is well managed. This can only be achieved by defining a mission and vision of the school and ensure the students clearly comprehend it. Once a vision of the school has been identified, the head teacher should work with the teachers in order to ensure this vision is achieved through proper allocation of resources and giving instructional leadership. If there is no clear vision in the management of the institution it can lead to an imbalance in the distribution and use of resources. Brigg and Ayot (1992) state that, poor performance in education is directly related to the resources allotted to it. If for one reason or another this parameter is not taken into consideration, the school will continue to produce poor results in national examinations.
A Teacher Evaluator

The head teacher is also responsible for evaluating the overall performance of the teachers. The evaluation is done based on set guidelines given by the ministry of concerned authorities. For a school to be effective, the teachers must also be effective. An evaluation system is therefore put in place in order teachers are as effective as possible (Kyriakides et al., 2006).

Developing, Implementing and Evaluating Programs

The head teachers will also be greatly involved in any school developments. Headteachers are always looking to improve the student and the teacher experience in their schools. These developments are implemented in partnership with other stakeholders (Troman, 1996). The head teachers will be in charge of implementing these developments and evaluating their success. School development programs have specific evaluation timelines. Some are evaluated yearly while others may require a shorter window. It’s the job of head teachers to ensure all evaluation reports are done in time.

Reviewing and Developing Policies

Every school has a set of rules and regulations. These rules act as student’s guidebooks. They are meant to guide the conduct and behavior of students and teachers within the school environment. It is the job of head teachers to develop these rules (Aslanargun, 2012). Head teachers may also review and rewrite the rules in order to offer the best possible student or teaching experience.

Provide Conducive Learning Environment

Head teachers also have a responsibility of ensuring that there is a conducive learning environment. Effective head teachers allow both the teachers and students to put learning at the center of the daily routine (Mejia, 2016). A good school environment is characterized by basic factors such as orderliness and safety. Additionally, less tangible factors such as good attitude, supportive and responsive are also important. The climate in a school goes hand in hand with good performance (Hattie, 2009; Papanastasious, 2008; Johnson & Stevens, 2006). Sweeney and Winter (1994) also claim that the “school climate is more like the weather. This implies that it is difficult to manage but can be felt everywhere. Probably this might explain elusive and unclear indicators in the learning environment. Some of the factors that have been shown to correlate with learner’s achievements are a suitable classroom climate and learners feeling safe in the learning institution (Ma & Willms, 2004). 

Hiring new teachers and other staff

The staffing needs of a school are diverse but head teachers tend to have all the information needed for this. They will decide which areas of the school need new personnel and move forward to hiring (Cranston, 2012). This may be additional teachers or non-teaching staff. The head teacher will take the responsibility of finding and hiring suitable people for various duties in a school.

Setting The School Schedule

Although schools run based on a universal schedule set by the ministry of education or other concerned authorities, there are other smaller school activities that need to be planned internally. Lesson scheduling, meal times, and sports time are all within the purview of the school administration. The head teacher will, therefore, create a schedule for his or her school that allocates enough time for all important activities within the calendar year given by the ministry of education or other concerned authorities (Horng et al., 2012).

Delegating Roles

A school is an institution that has various departments and a number of staff members. In order for it to function correctly, people need to play very specific roles based on their expertise and skills (Morake et al., 2012). The head teacher is responsible for delegating tasks to each member of staff based on their abilities or qualification. Delegating tasks helps to enhance efficiency leading to better school performance.

Maintaining Parent And Community Relations

The head teacher is the liaison between the parents and the school. He is also the representative of the school and will pursue collaboration with the community and parents on behalf of the school (Sharma, 1995). The head teacher is also responsible for fostering better relations between the school administration and staff with the parents and the community around.

Enforcing Discipline

A head teacher has a responsibility of enforcing discipline in a school organization. This refers to the discipline of teachers, students, and other working staffs. The Kenyan government abolished corporal punishment and enacted the Children’s Act in 2001 which basically entitles all children to protection from any form of violence and abuse. Even though corporal punishment has been rendered illegal, head teachers need to put measures in place to ensure students are always disciplined. Educators such as (Joubert & Prinsloo 1999:55) argued that abolishment of corporal punishment resulted in the indiscipline cases in schools.

For centuries teachers have preferred corporal punishment (Cohen 1996:20) because of a belief that has existed for a long time that severe punishment was vital to educate children and maintain discipline. Different researchers for example Witten (1993:6) argue that corporal punishment is a controversial measure of ensuring good behavior in the classroom. In light of this, corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure requires careful consideration. Considering this, head teachers should use other forms of motivation to ensure that learners remain disciplined in school, for instance, rewarding the most disciplined student in the school. 

Budgeting and Planning

Headteachers work with the governing body in the school to develop a strategic view of the school in its community and plan for its future needs and further development. The principal develops the plan in consultation with school executives including the preparation of a staffing and resource plan (Orden & Picus, 2008). In addition to this, the principal will review the performance of the school in terms of its objectives as stated in the strategic plan. All financial matters including planning and sustainability, the allocation for resources, identification of new income sources, monitoring expenditure to ensure the budget objectives are met (Orden & Picus, 2008).
Chain Of Command Role

The head teacher is the center of both the teaching and the administration process. This means that he or she is the middleman between the staff and the school board. He is the liaison between the board management and the rest of the staff. He or she communicates board decisions to the staff and communications staff and student needs to the board.


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