Science leaders’ survival guide
Helen Harden (ed)
The Association for Science Education
2014 | 289pp (pdfs) | £35 (members) | £60 (non-members)
The Science leaders’ survival guide is a new online resource from The Association for Science Education. It is intended to provide support to teachers new to the position of head of science, while also being of use to more experienced heads of department.
The resource covers every conceivable part of the job of leading a science department, from lesson observations through to risk assessments, in a series of clearly defined chapters. Many areas are further exemplified with real life case studies from teachers. As an online resource the intention is to update it regularly.
I am sure this resource will be of great use to many new and more experienced heads of department. It is all real, useful, up to date advice, and is free from meaningless management jargon. It is easy to see the resource has been written by experienced, practising teachers who know what they are doing. It works most well as a drop in reference resource, for someone looking for best practice on a particular area. I liked the case studies that were included and I hope more are added over time because it would be good to read a range of different practical solutions to the same problems.
My only criticism is that it lacks an introduction looking at an overview of the role of being head of science and the qualities needed in a science leader. I think a new head of department reading the resource cover to cover may therefore find it hard to prioritise what are the most important aspects of the post and may even be more daunted after reading it about the sheer scale of the job described in the guide. I found the most useful piece of advice almost hidden near the end of the resource on one page where the guide told us to prioritise building good relationships with your team, to focus on your own teaching and to keep the big picture in mind. I would say this should be at the start on page one.