Head of Art Role


This file was originally prepared by Max Darby and Tony Lenten. It has been re-worked in 2009

The role of Head of the Art Department often varies from school to school. Leadership styles also vary considerably. There are some critical tasks, however, that should be considered essential to anyone who takes on the position. It is important that the expectations of the role and its responsibilities are quite transparent and that everyone clearly understands what is expected of the leader.  Disputes, disagreements and major disappointments are then less likely to occur.

The Head of the Art Department needs to be quite clear about the expectations of the school and this should be available in the job description for the position. All Art staff members need to understand what the Head is responsible for what is not in the work brief.  A wise and successful leader, however, usually needs to willingly take up any challenges that arise rather than fall back on the minimum outlined in the position brief.

While probably it would not be a good thing if all members of the Art Department agreed on all things, it is essential that they share meaningful broad common goals about its purpose and approach to teaching the subject.  The following list of possible Art Department’s functions provides some clear directions for the Head of Art role.


Staffing of classes

Assisting in timetabling solutions

Financing and budgeting

Ensuring efficient and practical rooms, facilities, equipment, material and buildings are available

Planning for the future development of the Art Department (forward vision and growth)

Planning programs and activities

Evaluating programs and activities

Maintaining records

Assessing and marking

Writing students reports

Providing safe and efficient storage of materials and equipment

Providing safe storage of student artworks

Ensuring efficient classroom practices

Ensuring safe and healthy work practices for students and staff

Making links to general education initiatives undertaken by the whole school

Coordinating Art Technicians or assistants

Ensuring all Art teachers engage in professional development and training

Organizing displays and exhibitions.




Ensuring high staff morale

Sharing purposes and directions

Sharing responsibilities when appropriate

Providing co-operation and mutual support

Covering for classes of Art teachers unavailable for various reasons

Encouraging, inspiring and providing guidance

Ensuring good communication links

Assisting when problems or challenges arise

Teaching each other new skills, as appropriate

Practical (dependant on school)


Designing and preparing sets for plays

Over-seeing School publications

Organizing excursions and visits

Collecting money and special fees

Carrying out first aid (if trained and if allowed)

Handling emergencies

Designing posters (if agreed)

Participating in community activities (eg fund raising)

Preparing submissions

Organizing parent support groups for the Art Department

Being group or Form Teachers

Checking rolls and attendance

Developing inter-faculty interaction and co-operative ventures

Organizing and running Art clubs and after school activities

Providing Art career advice

Speaking to parents and prospective parents.


To do these things successfully and positively the Art Department Head needs to be engaged in a broad range of activities. Some of these are included below.


An effective Head of Art should


Have the ability to weld together a cohesive  Art Department team which always works together for the benefit of the subject, its staff and its students

Have the ability to ensure that the students work towards similar goals as the Art staff

Provide sound leadership and judgment on questions relating to the welfare of the Art Department

Develop a genuine appreciation for the special and/or unique abilities of other Art Department members

Treat others as important individuals

Give due consideration to other Art Department members’ viewpoints, desires and needs.

Encourage constructive and positive use of creative ideas and abilities of all Art Department members

Assist the Art Department members to examine and evaluate its beliefs, performances and achievements

Encourage Art Department members to further develop and enhance successful approaches to teaching

Acknowledge problems, errors, etc when they exist, correct them and then move forward

Assist the Art Department members in deciding upon its goals

Assist the Art Department members to have the confidence to act on ideas

Ensure that frequent meaningful Art Department meetings are held to maintain contact; to ascertain the needs of members in terms of equipment, both expendable and permanent; to put forward and discuss policy ideas and to provide opportunities for opinions to be viewed; to ensure a united policy towards general school-based policies and ideas, and to ascertain problems and concerns of members.

Ensure that correct and sound budgetary practices are adopted

Ensure that all Art Department members engage in useful professional development

Ensure that sound Occupational Health and Safety practices are instituted

Ensure that the facilities are clean and efficiently organised

Negotiate with the School Principal and/or school Administration etc on matters effecting the Art Department

Be acquainted with current trends and requirements in the subject area.

Promote the subject strongly and positively throughout the school, the local community, geographical region and state.


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One Response to “Head of Art Role”

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