Well, I'm having a look around the job market again - and things haven't got any better in terms of quality of school job advert since last year, have they? Apart from the completely unnecessary information requested on most forms that takes so much time to provide - unnecessary, that is, as the basis for a decision on whether or not to shortlist - the forms themselves are often badly-designed and in so many cases don't allow for variation or adequate space. A somewhat eccentric factor in so many adverts is the CRB/child protection statement. With varying degrees of verbosity and grammatical accuracy, most schools seem to think it important to state, for us all to see, that they are committed to the well-being and protection of the students in their care. You don't say? Good job you mentioned that - we thought that you routinely delivered the kids into slavery. And most also say, seriously and pompously, that CRB checks will be made on all staff applying for jobs with them. Now, I may be wrong, but I would imagine that most people applying to teach will have been trained to teach - and one of the things that they will have been told during their training is that they will need a CRB check before they have access to children. And before they can complete their ITT they will have received such clearance. So it would be interesting to find out exactly how many people apply for mainstream teaching jobs who do not have full CRB clearance. My guess would be between about, er, 0 and 0. Shortlisting criteria seem to be almost infinitely variable. Some schools are more concerned about academic success than about ability to teach, whereas others are the opposite. Some don't care what else you can contribute, others value extra-curricular stuff highly. Some are concerned about previous experience outside teaching, others aren't. Now that's clearly going to depend on the type, location and ethos of the school to a certain extent, and so it should - but one colleague, known throughout our school as a brilliant and fluent teacher of German, who lived and worked in Germany for five years post-degree and before entering teaching, failed to make the shortlist at one school because he didn't get a 2.2 in his subject. We know this because we now have links with that school and somebody told us. Their loss - in spades! - was our school's gain. What on earth has the class of a degree taken 10 years ago to do with one's current ability in the subject and one's aptitude for top quality teaching? Answer: absolutely nothing. Visits is another area. I remember being rudely told by one "receptionist" that the school didn't encourage visits and had no time to waste showing applicants around. Another Head of Department told me very pleasantly that it wouldn't be fair to let me look around and meet colleagues and students, as those potential applicants who lived a long way away would be "disadvantaged." I was so astounded I had her repeat this - and yes, she was actually being serious. Talk about having no idea about how life works. No, I didn't apply to either of these. But I did apply to the school who took time and trouble to show me how things worked, to introduce me to my potential colleagues, to give me a couple of Y10s for half an hour to question over a cup of tea and biscuits and to invite me to observe two lessons and look through the Department's resources. Of course I applied - and am now very happy there, in one of the best schools around. I seriously advise any applicant to ask every school, initially for a visit. If they won't let you in, then DON'T APPLY. THEY ARE NOT UP TO SCRATCH! THEY ARE WORTHY OF NEITHER YOUR TIME NOR YOUR TALENTS. And if they don't get applications, they'll be forced to change. Or, better still, be taken over by people who can actually run decent schools. Then there are the mistakes in the ads.. Legions of them. A recent "person specification" for a non-Maths subject had obviously been copied directly from the Maths department. All looked fine to start with, but then there was the sentence that some fool had forgotten to change, requiring that the applicant "..will be able to deliver high quality Maths teaching..." Sorry, people - no point me applying for that one then! Didn't do much Maths on my English course... Then there's the ubiquitous misuse of the apostrophe ... the inability to distinguish between company's and companies ... the misspelled words by the hundred ... the website links that lead nowhere ... the unwillingness to specify enough basic detail of the post, especially if part-time, so that you have to wade through a few website pages during your break, only to find that it's actually Urdu they want, not Gaelic, in their MFL job. Typos are one thing - we can all make them - and sometimes there isn't the opportunity to correct them. But these apart, it's a mess, and yet these schools are supposedly trying to recruit the best quality of staff. Well, they won't get an applicaation from me, that's for sure, unless they show efficiency,competence, foresight and a willingness to welcome questions. My loss, not theirs, you may say. But you don't know how good I am, do you? I'd be delighted to hear of any more advert or interview howlers that others may have come across. Somebody suggested a while ago that we ought to name and shame these incompetent schools. I'm beginning to think that's a good idea. Day off halfway over now, so back to the reports. Good luck, everybody!!