Headteacher vs head of school: role comparison

Understand the difference between a headteacher and a head of school, including how their responsibilities and pay scales differ.

Last reviewed on 3 November 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 9964
  1. Duties of headteachers and heads of school
  2. There’s no single head of school model
  3. Differences in pay

Duties of headteachers and heads of school


Headteachers may undertake duties related to:

  • Whole school organisation, strategy and development
  • Teaching
  • Health, safety and discipline
  • Management of staff and resources
  • Professional development
  • Communication
  • Working with colleagues and other relevant professionals

These duties are explained in more detail on pages 44 and 45 of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). 

You can also read our model job description for a headteacher.

Head of school

Some schools may choose to have a head of school working under an executive headteacher. The STPCD does not clearly define these roles. 

It may help to think of the roles in terms of the following STPCD definitions:

  • The executive headteacher has the responsibilities of a headteacher
  • A head of school has the responsibilities of a deputy headteacher (as they have headteacher responsibilities delegated to them by the executive head)

There’s no single head of