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Applications for Primary Deputy Head

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by karensmadhouse, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. What are Heads looking for when they ask for a statement of your philosophy and practice? I recently applied for a post but did not get shortlisted. I was told that, although I had included a lot on my supporting statement, I had not talked about my philosophy. I am writing my application for another post, that I would really like, and want to get it right this time.
    Any other suggestions for a good application would be really appreciated as well.
     
  2. What are Heads looking for when they ask for a statement of your philosophy and practice? I recently applied for a post but did not get shortlisted. I was told that, although I had included a lot on my supporting statement, I had not talked about my philosophy. I am writing my application for another post, that I would really like, and want to get it right this time.
    Any other suggestions for a good application would be really appreciated as well.
     
  3. Possibly ensure you answer the following:
    What do you believe the purpose of education/schooling is? (You could use some supporting evidence for your beliefs/trend analysis.)
    How you believe children learn best? What sort of whole school approach? What level of personalisation? Draw on evidence and research here- how does learning happen? What conditions are needed? How shoudl schools ensure they personalise learning for individual need?
    What does the best curriculum look like? (Undestanding that the curriculum is not just what is taught).
    Include your feelings about the balance between high standards/core skills and a broader curriculum; extended school provision; the importance of well-being. Which other skills and abilities are important to develop? What about independence, ethical values, enterprise?
    What do you believe about the nature of integrated services? How should they work and what is the school's role?
    Most imortantly, look at all the school's literature and information and make sure your philosophy meets with theirs- otherwise don't apply. If you do apply, link your philosophy with the school literature.
    Make sure you read the new whitepaper- it's on line. Read education sections of good newspapers, watch DoE Minister's Question Time and Primeminister's Question Time (they're on BBC Iplayer). Make sure you know something about the research about leanring over the last 10 years or so. Ofsted and DoE documents are also useful- even though some of them are politically outdated. Every Child Matters, 20 Outstanding Schools... Go on Ofsted and DoE sites- they will help you clarify your views.



     
  4. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    What they're looking for is your philosophy and your practice.
     
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    And someone who can think for themself. I'm one of the experienced heads who has always wanted to recruit a deputy who knows what the questions in the application mean and can write their own answers. If you can't, you need to wait until you do before you apply, otherwise you're not going to be much use as a deputy - especially as you're only a heartbeat, accident or serious issue away from taking over as head.
     
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    It is a trick question. Don't answer it, or when you get to interview they will only want to investigate it further. If you don't have the foggiest what it means when a recruiting headteacher asks for some idea of your educational philosophy and practice, then could be embarassing for you in an interview and possibly be violating your human rights as an applicant who is not yet ready for this career step. On the application form just write "Pass".
    If, (in a snowball's chance in Hell), you get to interview and are asked about your educational philosophy and practice, just shrug your shoulders, put on a Spanish waiter's voice and say "I am from Barcelona. I know nothing".

     
  7. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Ha ha, I don't think the Spanish accent will be needed!!
    Stupid questions!! why can't they put them in Normal English?
     
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    What's stupid or not normal about being asked to write about your philosophy of education? It's been pretty standard for applications, especially for senior management positions, for many years.
     
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    When people apply for jobs, or are called to interview, have an observed lesson to do, or are asked to prepare a presentation as part of a selection process, it is pretty common to have one moment of Blank, and to cry "Help!".
    Usually a second moment of Light comes, and all is well.
    On these Forums, people are pretty good at helping others with their problems. You see it time after time.
    However . . .
    When it comes to job applications, interviews, observed lessons and presentations that are part of the selection process for a teacher, a Head of Department, or a member of the Leadership team, most Old Hands on here believe that it is good to help with process and format, but not with content.
    Not with content.
    The Older, More Experienced and possibly Wiser heads (and Heads . . .) believe that you shouldn't give people a full-blown lesson plan, tell them the main points they must cover in a presentation, nor provide an outline of what should be in a personal (note that: personal) philosophy of anything. And we have said it on here more than once.
    Talk to yourself, as my son says.
    You don't want to have an application, a philosophy, a lesson plan devised by someone else that leads to you being appointed to a post that is above your competency level. If you didn't write all these yourself, then you might not be able to Walk the Talk on appointment.
    Sorry to sound harsh; 'tis for thine own good,believe me!
    Best wishes
    ____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars and workshops, one-to-one careers and applications advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews.
    The next Applications Workshop I'm doing that still has vacancies is on Friday 25th February. www.tesweekendworkshop15.eventbrite.com

    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for more details of how to book a meeting with me personally.
    Look forward to seeing you!
     
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Very diplomatically put, Theo.
    However, once again I am amazed that there are applicants for leadership posts who appear to be incapable of completing the application process without soliciting help of the most basic and rudimentary nature.
    And once again I am professionally disappointed that there are headteachers and others on the leadership scale who are prepared to provide that help.
    To what purpose?
    Providing ready-made answers for the unready and incapable is hardly likely to ensure that the next generation of school leaders are fully prepared for the rigours of headship or deputy headship.
     
  11. Give me a break! I didn't give ANY content! Just some questions to think about which might clarify things and some things to read to stimulate ideas.
    No 'ready-made' answers at all.

     
  12. The OP only asked what HTs are looking for, she didn't ask people to give her a model answer to be fair. It's a legitimate question and Mrs C provided an excellent answer.
    If you are asked to comment on philosophy and practice, there's probably a reason for that wording. I would say they're asking you for your ideas (philosophy), but then want you to relate it to real-life outcomes. This is an opportunity for you to say how you've put your philosophy into practice and what has been the result of it on improving outcomes for pupils.
    In interviews, I'm never impressed by people who spout philosophies without substance. My favourite being 'I believe in complete inclusion where all children are equal'...yeah wotever..
     
  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I know you didn't.
    I'm just astounded that someone who thinks they're ready for deputy headship doesn't know for themself what this standard question means. It's a bit frightening, to be honest.
     
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    True, very true.
    But on the other hand, the Job Details did not say:
    Please give us a statement of your personal philosophy and practice. You should include the following:
    What do you believe the purpose of education/schooling is? (You could use some supporting evidence for your beliefs/trend analysis.)
    How you believe children learn best? What sort of whole school approach? What level of personalisation? Draw on evidence and research here- how does learning happen? What conditions are needed? How shoudl schools ensure they personalise learning for individual need?
    What does the best curriculum look like? (Undestanding that the curriculum is not just what is taught).
    Include your feelings about the balance between high standards/core skills and a broader curriculum; extended school provision; the importance of well-being. Which other skills and abilities are important to develop? What about independence, ethical values, enterprise?
    What do you believe about the nature of integrated services? How should they work and what is the school's role?
    Most imortantly, look at all the school's literature and information and make sure your philosophy meets with theirs- otherwise don't apply. If you do apply, link your philosophy with the school literature.
    Make sure you read the new whitepaper- it's on line. Read education sections of good newspapers, watch DoE Minister's Question Time and Primeminister's Question Time (they're on BBC Iplayer). Make sure you know something about the research about leanring over the last 10 years or so. Ofsted and DoE documents are also useful- even though some of them are politically outdated. Every Child Matters, 20 Outstanding Schools... Go on Ofsted and DoE sites- they will help you clarify your views.
    Do you think that possibly, just possibly, they didn't say all that because they expected the applicants, at this level, to be able to do all this for themselves?
    Just possibly, of course.
    Perhaps they expected hand-held applicants only to apply.
    [​IMG]
    I shall say no more.
    ____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars and workshops, one-to-one careers and applications advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews.
    The next Applications Workshop I'm doing that still has vacancies is on Friday 25th February. www.tesweekendworkshop15.eventbrite.com

    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for more details of how to book a meeting with me personally.
    Look forward to seeing you!
     
  15. I think it might be useful, then, Theo if a shared protocol was drawn up for the forums. Save people on both sides from constantly 'getting it in the neck!'
    Across all forums, there a many requests for help with interviews- lessons, questions, applications.
    Responses are mixed.
    Perhaps a thread asking for opinions about what is and isn't approrpriate in response to these kinds of questions and what can be requested.
    Any final protocol, of course, should be in line with the work undertaken by TES employees on their application and interview courses.
    Just a thought!


     
  16. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    With respect, MrsC, I believe that you have seen many opinions as to "what is and isn't approrpriate in response to these kinds of questions and what can be requested". The fact that you interpret these opinions from a range of other headteachers including Theo, MiddleMarch, Curlygirly and myself as "getting it in the neck" does rather point to the fact that your views on this matter are in the minority.
    This is nothing to do with TES employees on their application and interview courses, but what is or is not appropriate professional support. From my point of view, there are an inordinate number of requests for 'spoon-feeding' from applicants, particularly those applying for leadership posts. Such requests indicate either laziness or that the applicant is unsuited to apply for the post. In the case of this particular thread, I suspect that the OP is unsuited to a leadership post such as a deputy headship if he/she does not understand what it means when the recruiting head wishes to know something of the applicant's educational philosophy.
    As I have indicated above, spoon-feeding them does nothing to help either the applicant (as MiddleMarch has clearly pointed out) or the profession in general. And as such, I consider such action to be unprofessional. Sorry, but there it is.
    I do wonder whether, were you to advertise for a Deputy Head, you would ask for an indication of the applicant's educational philosophy, or lay it all down in detail as you have above. I suspect the former.
     
  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I'm not a TES employee, but if you mean me, then why don't you come along to the next one and see exactly what I do?
    [​IMG]
    That would perhaps put your mind to rest - you have suggested before that I may be spoon-feeding applicants.
    ____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars and workshops, one-to-one careers and applications advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews.
    The next Applications Workshop I'm doing that still has vacancies is on Friday 25th February. www.tesweekendworkshop15.eventbrite.com
    There is also another seminar on Applying for Senior Leadership on 13th March.
    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for more details of the above and for how to book a meeting with me personally.
    Look forward to seeing you!
     
  18. I haven't suggested you are 'spoon-feeding' at all Theo (Nomad used this term). I feel your courses offer useful advice to applicants (from the information I have seen) and said this on another thread. However, I am unsure as to your consistency across posts, and compared to the content of your courses.
    In your 'How to get shortlisted' advice you give a sample opening paragraph and outline the content of each paragraph thereafter and an example executive summary. In addition, your thread about 'Personal Statements for NQTs' offers advice about content and some questions to consider.
    This coupled with your 'how not to get shortlisted' and 'applications that annoy the appointment committee' list lots of very obvious things- like 'don't waffle', 'follow the instructions' etc. Many might (not me) argue that a degree qualfied professional applying for a job in teaching should already have worked this out- or doesn't deserve to get a job.
    Below is a response you made to a supply teacher looking for a longer term post:
    Are you presenting this positively, therefore, in your applications?
    Let's look at what you gain from doing supply. The supply teaching has given you flexibility and versatility, allowed you to observe a variety of different classroom practices and learn from them,, improved your classroom management skills from dealing with a wide range of different pupils, from the too-compliant to the downright difficult. You have gained self-reliance, have learnt to work co-operatively with colleagues in different types of schools, you are able to deal with difficult situations (and difficult people), you have experience of a wide range of year groups. You have become a much more effective teacher than you were before, and are very grateful for these opportunities.
    Are you setting all this out in the letter, right at the beginning, getting it all in before you even mention the word "Supply"?
    Since successfully completing my PGCE in xxx I have been able to acquire etc etc etc through a series of contracts as a supply teacher. (You can easily write a whole paragraph on the benefits of supply and what it will enable you to bring to this school).
    Make sure that you get someone who you've worked for in a school to write one of your references, and get him/her to include the phrase "Would appoint without hesitation if I had a vacancy". Get into your letter that schools asked for you by name from the agency (but only if true, not if not!), that you had repeat postings because you were a valued colleague.
    In other words, don't be apologetic, supply is great preparation for the day-to-day of teaching.
    And I do hope that you are noting all those posters who say "the executive summary worked for me - I got no interviews until I used it"
    Very best wishes

    Fantastic advice butI believe this offers much more content than my questions did.
    Again I state that I have no difficulty with what you are say and feel it's good advice and entirely appropriate. But I do feel that your response to my guiding questions on this thread is not congruent with the advice and training that you offer ongoing.
    I took the point about content previously (although didn't entirely agree) and offered only questions to guide thinking.
    I'd love to come on one of your courses, but not sure it'd be best value for money and time to learn about applying for posts. Unless that is, you are giving guidance on how to pick the winning lottery numbers!
     
  19. I very much respect your points and opinion and, of course, you are entitled to them.
    The 'getting it in the neck' reference, wasn't particularly about me. Across forums those who request advice of this sort (some who say they are posting for the first time) can get a very negative response. It might be better if they were advised not to post in the first place. This also seems to happen re. posts about Ofsted lessons/assemblies etc. I feel it would be kinder if people simply posted that 'the protocol was not to answer questions of this kind because....' rather than put them down.
    I disagree that applicants are simply lazy. Where else might they seek development from, if they don't have a managers who will help?
    And, I have seen many teachers (at all levels) who lack confidence about the interview process, but are fantastic in their roles, including a superb headteacher who brought his school through Special Measures and now feels anxious about selection procedures for a new headship and was unsure as to what to write in his application, though I coudl see he clearly fitted all the criteria. So, I don't feel it always makes them unsuited either.
    Looking at it from the reverse angle- we all know people who can 'spout' about their beliefs and experiences, but are not particularly able when it comes to actually fulfilling the role.
    I don't see how defining some terminology and giving some questions that might help to develop a more specific personal philosophy and consider a person's experience of best practice is so damaging to the teaching profession. It may just help somebody to become a better potential leader.
    Opinions are mixed across the forums- some offering advice and support (including Theo on some threads) and some critical of the request. In addition, I have received some private messages form those who feel it's appopriate to support but daren't post their views.
    Of course, should I advertise for a Deputy Headteacher, one crtierion would be about philosophy and practice. However, I would have no issue if applicants had clarified what was meant by the terms with others. At interview it would be pretty clear if s/he had a philosophy and could describe best practice.
    We all use terms differently and expect them to encompass different things.
    I have no issue with being in a minotiry sometimes- doesn't mean it's right just because it's popular, or 'getting it in the neck'. I have no issue with being wrong sometimes either and moderating/adapting my views.
     
    oddchinateashop and misshmj6 like this.

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