MOE to rotate HODs who have been in same school for 8 years, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

MOE to rotate HODs who have been in same school for 8 years

Senior educators in leadership positions who have been in the same schools for more than eight years will be reshuffled from 2027, to allow more schools to benefit from their experience.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that one to two senior key personnel – who hold designations like head of department and year head – from each school are expected to be rotated each year. This is to ensure stability of the school’s leadership team.

Currently, principals and vice-principals are rotated every five to seven years.

In a statement provided to The Straits Times, MOE said this new scheme will “enable senior key personnel to grow professionally and build a dynamic fraternity of educators”.

Other senior key personnel are school staff developers and lead teachers.

“The rotations will provide senior key personnel with opportunities to contribute to other schools, which will benefit from their years of experience and expertise in education,” said the ministry.

MOE said it will work with school leaders, where needed, to help these educators identify suitable postings for rotation. They can apply through MOE’s internal posting exercise for a posting to any MOE school with vacancies. MOE said that supervisors will work closely with these educators to plan for the movements, taking into consideration the needs of the school and staff.

According to a report by Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao on March 27, key personnel aged 55 and above do not need to be rotated to another school.

Mr Mike Thiruman, general secretary of the Singapore Teachers’ Union (STU), told ST that there is bound to be a learning curve for senior educators who have to leave their comfort zones and move to new schools.

He said: “Just imagine, I’m a senior KP (key personnel), like an anchor figure in my old school, then I’m going to a new school. I’m practically a newbie. So how do we ensure that this KP who goes in is successful in the new school?”

Mr Thiruman said that there needs to be proper support mechanisms to help key personnel who transfer to another school to assume leadership duties.

“It has to be structured and cannot be just left to chance. The SOPs (standard operating procedures) need to be ironed out, and KPs need to have discussions with the school leaders about their vision,” he said.

He said that the new scheme especially benefits younger key personnel as they have a longer runway in the fraternity.

“I think in the overall scheme of things, for our individual and long-term employability, it’s better for us to try out different things in the organisation so that we become valuable and can contribute more.”

A head of department who declined to be named said the structured rotation of key personnel prevents stagnation within leadership ranks. She added that it ensures a constant flow of talent and expertise throughout the department.

“By occupying senior spots for prolonged durations, senior KPs limit opportunities for career progression among their younger colleagues. This stagnation can lead to frustration and disillusionment among second-echelon leaders who aspire to take on leadership roles, but find their paths blocked.”

Mrs Buganeish Squires, 45, has been through two rotations as a head of department for English language and literature across three schools.

The former Queensway Secondary School educator was posted to Orchid Park Secondary School in 2019, and subsequently to Yuan Ching Secondary School in 2023, where she currently serves as a head of department for English language and literature.

With over 20 years of experience as an educator, Mrs Squires said that the key to a successful transition to a new school is to speak to people and go in with an open mind.

“I’ve definitely grown as an individual, and I’ve seen that there are many ways of doing things to achieve the outcomes that we want,” she added.

“I honestly believe that as a fraternity, our collective experiences will make us stronger. I would like to think that our students will benefit from the depth and breadth of our experiences.”