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A few questions

Discussion in 'Independent' started by skinnimini, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. skinnimini

    skinnimini New commenter

    Hi. I currently work in a very high achieving state school and I’ve been shortlisted for interview at a prep school. I absolutely love the school and the role is perfect as it uses my subject specialism. I just have a couple of questions.

    It mentioned on the advert that it offered an “attractive salary”. Would this be considered similar to the state MPS or above? And do I ask to clarify at interview? Would there be room to negotiate?

    Also, I would like to find out about maternity pay etc as planning to start a family in the next 2 years. I’m thinking this is something that would put them off if I were to bring it up at interview as I don’t want to give the impression I’m going off straight away but at the same time I’d be moving from a state school with very good maternity pay so I’d like to know and make a decision. It wouldn’t be a dealbreaker but just be useful to know before I sign the contract. Is it worth asking to see a staff handbook as I’m guessing it would include these things?

    Also, I’m thinking of putting together a portfolio to showcase my skills and talents. Does this sound like a good idea?

    Finally, what sort of questions have you been asked at interview at independent schools?

  2. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    It should be similar or above - but could vary hugely. When I worked at a prep, I was simply paid MPS. TLR policies are different in every school, and may not be written down anywhere. After M6, many independents have a slower rate of progression to the maximum pay offered (eg UPS3) - so in theory those who have just progressed beyond M6 will be temporarily behind state sector colleagues who have jumped to UPS1.

    It shouldn't count against you. Personally, I'd wait until offered the post over the phone, then you can ask.

    Depends on the subject. For English...from attending interviews I don't remember seeing any other candidates with them; interviewing 20 or so candidates when I was a HoD I only had one candidate bring a portfolio. It looked a little desperate, frankly.

    No different to state schools, frankly. Some, however, would have you believe it's:

    1. How would you best prepare our children for Oxbridge/the Eton Scholarship?
    2. Great! Now tell me about your extra-curricular and sports* activities that you could offer.

    (you do not have to be the slightest bit sporty to get a job in the independent sector - this is probably the most annoying preconception on this forum)
  3. dts

    dts Occasional commenter

    You absolutely need to discuss salary before accepting the job. When I've been asked if I am still a firm candidate or if I will accept a role, I don't give an unconditional yes. Instead I'll say something like "assuming we can come to an agreement about pay and conditions, then yes".
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    A couple of tips.

    If possible, check what schools their pupils go on to, or their SATs results, to give you a feel for the level they will be at. It may be higher even than in your school!

    Most certainly have a Plan B that you can bring in at a moment's notice if your lesson plan is not high enough. This is very important.

    Nothing is worse than watching a teacher doggedly sticking to a lesson plan that is clearly totally the wrong level.

    You could have asked about terms and conditions, including maternity leave and pay, by emailing the school in advance of applying, from a completely different one from your own email. ;-)

    However, it's a bit late to do this now, as you may be the only female shortlisted, so they'll know it's you. Pay, yes, ask about it st the end of the interview. But not maternity rights, I don't think. I know it shouldn't make a difference, but you could encourage one Old Buffer to think "2 terms and we'll have to fork out maternity pay AND find a replacement!"

    There's a whole section on Indy interviews in . http://bit.do/Clickk

    You can download it on the free Kindle app to a phone, tablet or PC.

    Best wishes!
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    True enough. In my first job I wasn't asked anything about sport at the interview - I was just put down to teach two afternoons of rugger/hockey/cricket a week, despite having no interest or ability in all three.

    But to be fair, this was many years ago. Today, most of the larger secondary indys now prefer to employ trained sports professionals to assist the games staff, plus a few keen staff who may well be Oxbridge Blues. It's very much a sales technique to be able to say that you have an ex-Harlequins rugby coach and a former Kent cricketer on the staff.

    The point that may be made at interview is that staff in the independent sector are almost always expected to take part in more out-of-school activities than their state school colleagues. More parents evenings - and proper evenings at that (often 7pm to 10pm, not just staying for an extra hour or two after school), helping with open days, assisting at concerts and plays, going on trips, and so on - as well as perhaps running an out-of-school activity.

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