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You are here College Governance > Faculty/School Governance - Appointments and Elections > Head of School - Role and Responsibilities

Head of School - Role and Responsibilities

Heads of School are appointed by, and are formally accountable to, the Board. The Head will exercise his/her authority in consultation with the School Executive, in consideration of a consensus of the School Committee, and with due delegation of responsibilities as appropriate. The Head of School will nominate members of the School for appointment to the following roles, taking account of the range of disciplines in the School:

The effective discharge of the Head's responsibilities and accountability necessitates that he/she retains the confidence of the School Executive through leadership that is exercised in a fair, open and responsive manner.

The Head of School is responsible for the effective general management of the School, for ensuring the provision of academic leadership and strategic vision, and for the quality of the student experience. The Head of School will be the budget holder, following devolved authority, and will be financially accountable to the Faculty Dean (in the first instance) for the School. Faculty Deans and College Officers will not act as Heads of School during their term of office.

The responsibilities of the Head of School include:

Strategic and Budgetary Planning

  1. Developing a strategic plan for the School, in consultation with the School Executive, including the preparation of a staffing and resource plan.
  2. Engaging the staff of the School and the University's senior officers in devising and agreeing the School's plan.
  3. Reviewing the performance of the School in terms of its objectives as stated in its strategic plan and in its staffing and resource plan.
  4. Having responsibility for all financial matters, including financial planning and sustainability, resource allocation, the identification of new sources of income, the monitoring of expenditure to ensure that it is within appropriate levels, ensuring the linking of resource allocation to strategic and operational planning; compliance with College approved financial policies; ensuring all staff are aware of the existence and extent of the College’s financial regulations.
  5. Managing and monitoring of implementation of the resource allocation process within the School.


  1. Dealing with staff recruitment matters that fall within the remit of the School.
  2. Membership of the Selection Committees for all appointments in the School. (The Head of Discipline may replace the Head of School as appropriate.)
  3. Creating a supportive working environment for all staff in the School and fostering their career development.
  4. Ensuring that staff review and development is completed in a timely manner (including PMDS).
  5. Completing probation reviews with all newly appointed academic staff in line with the College's Academic Probation Guidelines, in consultation with the relevant Heads of Discipline where appropriate.
  6. Allocating duties to staff within the School and the management of staff in accordance with College policies and procedures.
  7. Approving outside earnings activities of staff members in accordance with College regulations.
  8. Handling grievance procedures for staff except where a grievance is against the Head of School, in which case the Faculty Dean is responsible.
  9. Managing relevant disciplinary procedures for both staff and students.

Teaching, Learning and Research

  1. Having overall responsibility for the management of the School's programme of teaching and research and the implementation of the College's academic policy.
  2. Ensuring the effective delivery of high quality teaching and the maintenance of academic standards.
  3. Promoting a culture of learning that is directed to student needs, and of teaching that is informed by the research interests of the School's staff.
  4. Dealing with professional matters where relevant to the activities of disciplines and in particular, the educational requirements of professional accreditation bodies.
  5. Fostering the development of academic policy and initiatives within the context of the long-term strategies of the College and the School.
  6. Developing and maintaining a vibrant research culture of international standard, including the promotion of research initiatives and networks.
  7. Fostering interdisciplinarity both within the School and between Schools.
  8. Promoting excellence and improvement in all matters of teaching, learning, research and administration.
  9. Ensuring the regular review, evaluation and development of programmes offered by the School.
  10. Advising the Senior Lecturer and the Dean of Graduate Studies on entry requirements for specific courses, in consultation with the relevant course committee and Directors as appropriate.
  11. Promoting collaboration within the School, with other Schools, and with other institutions.
  12. Liaising appropriately with the Faculty Dean on cross-School and Faculty-wide issues.
  13. Nominating External Examiners for undergraduate programmes to Council for approval.


  1. Representing the School both internally and externally, including representation on College committees.
  2. Managing and encouraging an information flow to staff and students within the School regarding School and University developments.
  3. Ensuring the effective operation of the School in accordance with approved governance procedures.
  4. The general management, subject to College policy, of the School's physical facilities and equipment, including the allocation of rooms and other space.
  5. Having overall responsibility for ensuring that the School's arrangements comply with legal requirements and related College policies such as health and safety, data protection and data retention policy, freedom of information.
  6. Implementing decisions of Board and Council and the supply of information in accordance with Board and/or Council directions.
  7. Prepare an annual report in agreement with the School’s Executive Committee and for consideration by the School Committee.
  8. Delegating to an Acting-Head during any period of absence of more than three working days (see below).
  9. Conducting elections to Headship of Discipline in the School, as required.
  10. Other duties as may be assigned by the Board.

Absence of Head of School /Acting Headship

Where a Head of School will be absent from College for more than three consecutive days (but less than 21 days), the Head must appoint, in consultation with the School Executive and with the agreement of the individual concerned, an Acting Head of School. The appointment of an Acting Head of School should be notified to the Faculty Dean.

The Board may grant leave of absence for periods of twenty-one days or more. As part of this process, the Faculty Dean should request permission of the Faculty Executive Committee for leave of absence for a specified period, and nominate a member of the School as Acting Head. Such requests would not normally exceed a period of twelve months.

Heads of School and Professorial Chairholders in the School

The relationship between Heads of School and professorial chairholders will vary from area to area in College. But generally it must be assumed that Heads of School are charged with running the affairs of the School and that chairholders will, in the same way as any other members of the School, perform the teaching duties, supervise the graduate students, and undertake the administrative tasks assigned to them. In addition, professorial chairholders may be expected to assume a prominent role in the profession suitable to their seniority and special distinction. This will involve them in the active promoting and publishing of research, in contributing significantly to curricular and pedagogical developments, and, where appropriate, in the mentoring of younger staff and helping them with the development of their careers. They will normally be provided with such facilities and support as is necessary to fulfill their special responsibilities.