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'Academic credentials' - will an MA be enough?

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by corblimeyguvnor, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. corblimeyguvnor

    corblimeyguvnor New commenter

    Dear all,
    I'm grateful for any advice anyone can offer.
    I've recently been applying for SLT posts. My background is 16 years teaching, ten in Indy schools with 15 years as HOD and the last 5 as HOF and some other whole school responsibilities, so the next step would be DOS or Assistant Head - and I really feel ready to take this on. I have been lucky to have recent opportunities for professional development (courses to prepare for SLT, Data analysis, Leadership etc.) and evidence and of success and adding value in my current and past posts.
    I've had various feedback implying that my 'academic credentials' are not good enough - two as interview feedback (I know they chose to interview me knowing my credentials and interview feedback is often vague/pointless - but I've also, through contacts/friends in SLT at four of the other schools I've applied unsuccessfully for, had this lack of academic credentials confirmed as reason for not making the shortlist). I also know myself that my academic credentials are weak - I have a degree in Drama and Education (from a top drama school) and at A Level I did non-facilitative subjects (I also got a C in English Lit) and a BTEC - and I have 12 GCSEs all A*-B. At the time I obviously made decisions based on my desire to be the best drama teacher I could be, rather than thinking about fifteen years down the line when I'd be losing out at SLT interviews to those with Oxbridge degrees in science. I chose to attend drama school and I know this played a large part in getting me some great drama teaching posts in the early years of my career, so I don't regret it. I know (I hope!) that I am a reasonably intelligent person, but more than this I know that my experience shows I am able to lead well.
    I'm now at the point where my current school have offered me more responsibility (but not SMT) to stay put - along with, if I want, the chance to take on a partially funded MA. I'm planning now to stay at my school for at least three more years so that I can see some of the whole school projects through.
    The advice I'm hoping for is whether you think having an MA will 'cancel out' my poor degree and A Levels and my non-core subject specialism and give me more hopeful academic credentials? If so, does the university matter - am I best to look at places like Cambridge for MA study? Or is it more likely that due to my academic history I am not going to get an SLT post in an independent school, regardless of whether I have an MA?
    Thank you in advance - be as brutal as you want!
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Here goes . . .

    This is a long rambling post. If you rambled like this at interview . . .

    As you say, your academic credentials didn't prevent you being shortlisted. But they made a handy excuse to give for not appointing you.

    Interview feedback - they blamed my experience, but they knew that when they shortlisted me!

    It seems to me that they thought that you had potential, but in the interview you didn't show it. That could therefore explain the two occasions when you were interviewed.

    Other occasions, again to be blunt, if your application was unstructured and rambling . . .

    I would expect a SLT candidate to be a good communicator, in writing and at interview. You are not illustrating this in the post above.

    Have you read all the applications advice? I am going to give you links to it for you to read and ponder. It could be that your application could be improved, and your interview skills too. (There is advice on that too, later). I don't think that the doing of a MA would necessarily improve your chances, except with schools who want all their staff to have MAs. Of course, you might improve your communication through the writing of the thesis, which could be good.

    But a more effective application might improve things.

    Applications advice: I have included here links that may not be relevant to you, for the benefit of other posters.

    2. Applying for a job in a school I suggest that you read these in this order

    NQTs start here! *** N.B. ***

    Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere?

    Pre-application visits to schools

    Why you should always include an E.S. in an application

    How to get shortlisted for a teaching job *** The basic advice***

    How NOT to get shortlisted

    How do schools shortlist candidates?

    Common errors found in applications

    The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth!

    Who should be my referees?

    Can I see my references?

    Can your Head write a negative reference for you? Or refuse to write one? Can you see what was written...

    Step-by-step: How to write an E.S. *** More basic advice ***

    Executive summaries - where to start when no person specification

    Person Spec too long - how do I do an E.S.? And where do I put it? *** Beginners start here ***

    Blank E.S. Pro-forma for job applications***NEW ***

    Letter of application for a teaching job ***NEW ***

    Application form: how to present long list of posts outside education

    How can I provide details of examination results?

    Can I omit, on an application, a period spent teaching abroad?

    No CPD to put on the application form!

    5 common errors in applications

    Best wishes. Hope my bluntness didn't knock you back too much . . .

    wanet likes this.

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