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Changing Key Stages with Music teaching

Discussion in 'Music' started by schmedz, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. schmedz

    schmedz Occasional commenter

    I am a Secondary trained music teacher who has been working in (primarily) Primary/Junior schools, although have maintained a lot of musical teaching activity with 11-18 year olds through community work and within through-schools.
    I am thinking I'd like to return to classroom-based KS3/4/5 teaching, but am concerned that without a track record of successful GCSE and A Level student results, I won't get a 'look in'!
    Do any music teaching colleagues have any ideas on how best to present myself as a Secondary school Music teacher again? If you are a HOD who wants to appoint a candidate for such a role, what skills/experience/personal qualities would be of prime importance for you?
    Thanks in advance for any help and suggestions.
  2. musobob

    musobob New commenter

    I don't often comment on these boards but I will for this one.

    I am an experienced teacher but am not having much success with interviews. The market is currently this:

    There are some jobs out there, but schools are looking for someone cheap - unqualified or NQT. Everytime I loose out on a job it is to an unqualified teacher or an NQT, and the successful candidate is often in the image of the HOD and/or wider school.

    Very often schools don't seem to know what they are looking for. You may have noticed that some schools on TES keeep readvertising jobs over and over again. There are two reasons for that. Either they call people for interview and decide not to appoint (and they are often calling in 4 - 6 people at a time), or the school is such an awful place to work people leave regularly. Often you find schools advertising for both a HOD and teacher of music, at the same time!!!

    My hypothesis is that middle and senior leaders want someone very young, who looks like them, and teaches like them (despite the ridiculous interview lessons and tasks they prescribe, which are often quite poor), and who is cheap as chips and do as they are told without question. Experience, qualifications and skills counts for nothing; however, they do want you to be able to do everything (exceptional sight-reader accompanist, bach chorale extraordinaire, conductor of every ensemble imaginable, organist, own musical performance career outside of teaching, etc)

    Most annoyingly SLT does not seem to understand how EBACC, Progress 8, Academisation, budget cuts, 2 year KS3 is affecting music in schools and the job market. Either that, or they are pretending not to at interview.

    Reading this, I realise that I sound as bitter as some other people on these forums but unfortunately, it is what it is. I understand now why so many are leaving, and I will probably be next.
  3. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Did you ever work in secondary and have exam groups? There's nothing to stop you applying, and present all the relevant experience you have as best you can. The biggest recent change is the new GCSE spec 1-9, so reading up on that and showing great willingness to learn quickly would help. Even if you didn't immediately have an exam group, being willing to be part of a team effort to support GCSE students in performance, extra composing sessions or revision will be an advantage. Make clear in your application any specialisms you have, e.g. music technology, composition, accompanying, running choirs, etc, as these are the things that can give you a good chance if they plug a current gap in the dept.
    If you could spend some time in a secondary school music dept that might help you be aware of recent changes too.
  4. schmedz

    schmedz Occasional commenter

    Thanks muso2 - I trained in Secondary Music and spent several years, teaching up to KS5, but not recently. I'm up to date with EdExcel GCSE in particular because my eldest is doing it at the moment and I also work in a 'through-school' so am working with 11-18 year olds outside the classroom regularly.

    Your response encourages me that I'm actually 'marketing' myself properly on applications, and I'm pleased to say I've recently been offered a couple of interviews (let's hope I'm not too expensive and my face fits, hey musobob! In all seriousness, I hope you have some luck with your interviews soon - as long as they are not for jobs I want, of course ;-) )
    muso2 likes this.
  5. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Good luck with the interviews!
    schmedz likes this.
  6. schmedz

    schmedz Occasional commenter

    Thanks, muso2 :)

    No luck with Monday's interview - I didn't have the Pre-U teaching experience they wanted! Would have liked the chance to show how I could deliver a lesson or two at that level, though... Ah well, onwards and upwards!
  7. musobob

    musobob New commenter

    Surely they would have known already that from your application form? No?

    Very few people would have had experience of Pre-U Music. I once interviewed recently at a grammar school that did it. None of the candidates had experience in Pre-U Music.
  8. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Can't win 'em all. Keep going!
  9. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    It’s interesting surveying the Music job scene at present - some valid points here I think. I feel that there’s a lot of caution from some schools so desperate to employ the ‘right’ person that they are very narrow-minded and almost want a carbon copy of the person who’s leaving. I once got a job which involved teaching an age group I had never taught before and a Year 10 GCSE Group, which I’d never taught before, but the school clearly thought I could do the job and were prepared to give me a chance. More recent experience suggests to me that this would never happen now.
  10. schmedz

    schmedz Occasional commenter

    I think no A-Level or Pre-U may have been the deal-breaker... and the school is prestigious and popular enough to have their pick of candidates. I'm encouraged I even got an interview before the closing date :)

    Hoping at least one senior school will realise I can absolutely deliver the upper levels and give me that chance.

    Early days....
  11. LoukuleleLou

    LoukuleleLou New commenter

    Have you considered doing supply, you will be almost guaranteed to be offered Music cover jobs in KS3 and 4 after November where you will be able to show recent experience of having taught these levels for when you next apply for a permanent post. Best of luck!!
  12. schmedz

    schmedz Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the helpful and supportive replies. I've landed a DoM job at a prep school, so not quite the original plan, but will be a lovely, regular-paying job and hopefully some higher-level type teaching for the older students, most of whom learn at least one instrument already!

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