Creating a Mission Statement As a Head of Curriculum in a High School


When you are first appointed as a Head of Curriculum/Department, you go from being ‘one of the boys/girls’ to a person in a lone role. One moment you are a ‘follower’ and the next, you are out there in front as the ‘leader’. It is a new feeling for you and you may have a sense of isolation and surprise what you have let yourself in for. Let me tell you that is the way most people feel.

For me, personally, it took me most of the first year to just settle into the school itself and much longer to create an efficiently running department. Admittedly, I was in a large school of 1200 students where almost all did Mathematics. My teaching staff of 26 Mathematics teachers was spread among every staff room in the school. This made my lauching more challenging.

This article comes out of my experiences of almost 16 years in the role of head of department (HOD). In the latter years, I was asked to present workshops on my role to groups of newly appointed and aspiring HODs.

The success of my department was not built on what I alone contributed. It came about because I was able to develop a culture where I was a leader among leaders. That is the essence of what successful leadership is about.

Part of being a successful leader is to have a set of behaviours that enshrine what you see as being your role. This can be in the form of your own Mission Statement.
Below is the one I presented to the teachers in my workshops. I hope it will give you something to consider for yourself.

My Mission Statement as Head of Department
I must:
• Provide a quality service to my staff, students and parents, (i.e. I must make things happen).
• Be an innovator and challenge my staff to original.
• Continue my own specialized development, (i.e. I must become a ‘catalyst’ for change, a guide to others, and a mentor).
• Listen first, speak later, (i.e. be or become a powerful listener).
• Have short and long term goals, (i.e. be an ‘agent of change’ for the better).
• proportion the load, (i.e. be a leader among leaders).
• Do it now, i.e. be a doer. (If there is a problem to be solved, work on solving it now)

Use this as a starting point for creating your own mission statement. Have a copy of it somewhere you can see it often as a reminder of how you want to be seen by your staff, parents and students.

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