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How to become a Head of PE

What is a Head of PE?

The Head of PE, also referred to as a Curriculum or Subject Leader,  is responsible for managing and running the PE department at a school or academy. They help build, develop and implement a curriculum and work with other staff to provide the best possible education for their pupils. A Head of PE may also be responsible for managing school resources and providing and maintaining extra-curricular activities.

What qualifications do I need to become a Head of PE?

A Head of PE will need all the qualifications required to be a regular PE teacher – qualified teacher status, through an undergraduate QTS degree, PGCE or on the job training – as well as considerable experience in a teaching environment. Generally this experience will have been gained teaching PE and will have given the candidate the chance to build an excellent knowledge of the subject and the way it’s taught.

What skills/experience will an employer look for?

As well as teaching experience, Heads of PE require the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, from students to other teachers and parents. Some management experience would be a significant bonus, as a Head of Department is a middle-management type role and as such a proven record of planning and implementing projects as part of a team can be useful.

Who might employ a Head of PE?



What salary can I expect?

To find out more about how much you could earn as a Head of PE visit the National Union of Teachers Pay Calculator.

What is my career progression?

Becoming a Head of Department places you in a good position to demonstrate the sort of management skills required to progress further. Candidates who prove themselves can become assistant or deputy heads, with the possibility of moving into a head teacher position in the long term.

What are the best things about becoming a Head of PE?

The chance to shape the way a department operates and, with it, the way children learn and develop is an enticing prospect for any Head of Department. Being involved in PE means you can be active and be responsible for the physical well-being and improvement of your students. Managing a department is a position of authority and allows you to show off the skills associated with such a role. You also get the chance to meet and work with a wide range of people in an industry and subject you enjoy.

Are there any drawbacks?

There can be a lot of pressure associated with a teaching role, particularly one which also involves management and as such it can be a stressful job at times. There may also be difficulties working with particular students or parents which will require you to be at your most sensitive and tactful.

Why not view our latest PE vacancies or sign up for job alerts.

More information:

For more information, advice and guidance about careers in PE, Sport, Training and Fitness and Activity Holiday Jobs, visit our careers advice centre; including job hunting tips,  CV guide and much more.

Useful Links:

For more information on how to get into teaching visit the Department for Education.

Visit UCAS to investigate and apply for relevant PE teaching courses at University.

The Association of Physical Education is the national subject association for PE and offer advice and support for all things PE related.

The National Union for Teachers are the major teaching union and can provide you with professional support and guidance throughout your career in teaching.