What is a deputy headteacher?

It’s a leader

When the leader is away

Stepping in,


To save the day.

Speaking with authority

That is delegated

Often berated

Ofsted rated

And never sated.

What is a deputy headteacher?

It’s a behaviour preacher

The headteacher’s creature

A supporting act

To the main feature

A shouter, a screecher,

A lesser performance

Than the headlining band

A dotted line drawn in the sand

Of Performance Management

(The cardboard cage for Leadership)

And hands on hip

This deputy stands

Dotted line fading on shifting sands

A guide with a flickering lamp

One foot in each camp,

Both driving and conducting the bus;

Requiring limbs like an octopus.

What is a deputy headteacher?

It’s a rota maker,

Temper faker,


“Have it back later”

A blusterer, a badgerer

A business manager

Teach and mark

Take kids to the park

An acronym guru, an E.V.C.

Knowing A.F.L. and A.P.P.

With S.E.N. and I.E.P.

Being merely tools for P.R.P.

A deputy headteacher

Is out of the classroom forty percent


Yet one heartbeat away from the top.

To some, the deputy is heaven-sent

To others, the deputy must repent,

Or simply give up and stop.

What is a deputy headteacher?

Is it a mouse who’s learning to be a rat?

Or a cat

Who hasn’t quite got the cream,

Not quite living the dream?

Is it a dog without a bite?

Or the penultimate step of ambition?

A sub-aspiration?

A role in its own right?

Or is it a not quite?

An almost? A maybe?

Is the emphasis on ‘head’?

Or ‘teacher’?

Or ‘deputy’?