Year Leader vs Phase Leader: What progression can look like.

With many people looking for additional roles and responsibilities in school it can become perplexing where one role ends and another begins. Within schools, there are many different levels of management and knowing where you fit within that is vital. When looking to move up the career ladder, teachers may take on the role of a Year Group leader or a Phase Leader. Some people think these are one and the same. In some instances, where schools are smaller or offer mixed year group classes there is no need for an individual Year Group leader and so some schools may remove this role. In other larger schools, you may have the Year group leader coordinating the day to day running and planning of the year group with the phase leader overseeing the different year groups within their phase.

What is the difference between a Year Group and a Phase?

Within education, there is a lot of terminology used to refer to the different parts of children’s educational journey. The year group is the smallest dominion you can refer to in terms of stages of education, phases encompass two or more year groups. The UK year groups, phases and ages are as follows:

Key Stages are broad blocks the National Curriculum is split into. There are certain objectives children need to learn first to prepare them for the next part of their education. Without these foundational blocks, it will cause issues with retaining and mastering their understanding of certain topics. Within each Key Stage, they then break down the order these objectives should be taught in and go into more detail about what is expected from each year group. As you can see, phases can be quite broad. The largest of these Key Stages is Key Stage 2, which is often split further into upper (Year 5 &6) and lower (Year 3&4) Key Stage 2.

After the age of 16, pupils can attend Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13 – ages 16-17 and 17-18 respectively) or may seek alternative education through apprenticeships, college courses etc.

How does responsibility differ?

Year Group leaders are responsible for the teaching and support staff within their year group. This means ensuring the year groups have the correct provision for their children with  Special Education Needs (SEN), English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Pupil Premium (PP) as well as ensuring that there are appropriate interventions running to support children who need a little extra help. The Year Leader is the next level in the chain of command to a teacher. They are there to provide support, advice and help to their fellow colleagues and ensure that they uphold high standards for behaviour, the quality of learning, pupil progress and deliver a creative and engaging curriculum.  This could also involve the arranging of extracurricular events such as trips and liaising with parents regarding pastoral and academic concerns. These duties are done in addition to a teaching role. 

Phase Leaders are the line manager for Year group leaders and are the connection between teachers and senior leaders such as the Special Needs Coordinator, Deputy Head and Headteacher. Phase Leaders are typically a position of middle leadership (depending on the size of the school) and can has some crossover of duties with the year leaders – such as delivering high quality and engaging lessons, being held accountable for attainment and outcomes of their phase and pastoral and safeguarding responsibilities. Where their role differs is that they ensure they are leading and managing the curriculum across their Key Stage and ensure the teachers in their year groups are implementing school policy and non-negotiables. They also support in contributing to the school improvement planning or implementation of this in their year groups. Making sure that the overall targets set out within a School Improvement Plan (SIP) are being met in their phase- including data driven targets for attainment and progress. Phase Leaders also hold Year Group leaders to account for the running and delivery of the curriculum within their year. Where needed, the Phase Leader will be involved in developing continuous professional development opportunities for the teachers in their phase and offering support and advice to their colleagues.

What does progression look like in these roles?

Above you can see how these roles progress in terms of responsibility and accountability. Secondary schools may have Head of Department roles which would probably sit in a similar position to the Year Leader role. The caveat being that Year Leaders in secondary schools are typically more a pastoral and wellbeing role and Head of department being more of a curriculum focused role. Within Primary schools, the Year Leader role somewhat combines the pastoral and curriculum organisation side where as the phase leader will be more focused on curriculum coverage, assessment and standard of teaching driven. 

If these are roles that you are interested in, it is worth discussing in your performance management review and finding out what the next steps would be for you to progress to one of these roles. Alternatively, if you feel you are capable and confident enough fulfil your teaching duties and the added responsibility but this cannot be provided at your current school, have a look on for more career opportunities.
Comments are closed