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choosing a school to be head in

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Tracy Blue, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. I would always go and have a look round. I had an interview for a DHT job once. I was so excited, everything seemed ideal but when I had a walk round I was filled with dread, the classes were divided by shutters and tiny. The offices were in a separate part of the school. These were the things I had very little control over. It all felt wrong and I am glad I didnt get the job. When looking for HT role, I would go and have a look round, have a good think about how the school made me feel, could I work with the staff, do a bit of digging, have a drive past at the weekend etc
    I don't think I would compromise, in my part of the world there about 12 primary headships going at the moment and HT conferences are like a Saga holiday-I would say hang in there until you feel it's right for you.
  2. I agree with Tracy Blue- anything that mainly meets your criteria- go and visit. You'll know just walking round and talking to people.
    Unless there are serious reasons for wanting/needing to move quickly, wait till something comes up that really fits what you want and what you can bring to it.
    Good Luck!
  3. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Don't compromise. You will know when you've found " your" school.
    You're going to spend a huge chunk of your life there, make sure you really want to!
  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Moreover, if it's not the right school, it can seriously damage your life and your career.
  5. The cynic might say "Don't be in a rush. Thousands of Heads are just about to hit retirement age and most are pretty keen to go."
    There will be plenty of schools desperate for Headteachers soon.
  6. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    They already are Tom, Ive had a couple of emails asking if I'd be interested in applying for certain schools. It's not uncommon to receive flyers from schools all over the country via email.
    I hear that some schools are interviewing lone candidates. I'd hate that personally, you'd always be thinking " did I get it because I was the only one?"
    I suspect the OP will have plenty of choice soon enough.
  7. Thanks for your replies.
    I am seeing a Junior school later this week, but really want a primary. But will see what's it like before dismissing it.
    Any other points to take on board?
  8. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Go with your gut feeling. If it doesn't feel right then it probably isn't.
    I don't mean just go for " soft" options ( nice catchment, results ok, good ofsted etc.)
    you'll know what you want and you'll know if the school is right for you. Any qualms, leave it.
  9. In view of the current economic situation try and get a feel for the schools finances. Junior school funding can be tighter than primary with nursery / reception children who tend to attract higher AWPUs
  10. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    We will soon be looking for a new Head, but wouldn't want one who sees us as a "compromise" We want someone who wants US, not just any school. Hopefully we will find them!
  11. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Most infant and juniors near us that havent already merged are soon likely to due to funding. Fine if one head retires and you are left with it but not if one is made redundant.
  12. One might also say that this problem could be solved via Mr Goves belief that primary should be pulled into acadamies run by secondary schools, or primary schools should federate to acadamies, in which case their might be lesser paid roles for "directors of studies" type jobs for those existing less strategical heads and up and coming types........
    Being run by a secondary school........what fun!!!!!!
  13. Sounds horrendous!!
    Take the NAHT position of 1 school 1 headteacher.
    As it stands Exec Heads have no legal basis to run a school. They can't do PM nor is theirs the name on the door when Ofsted come a calling!
  14. Does this apply to acadamies and who's to say that the rules are not changed. I have it on very good authority that Mr Gove is very keen on the private school system of main school and prep school/ schools.....That is the way to excellence, and of course the £14,000 pa per pupil that comes with it !!!! can we expect this level of funding from La Gove ?
    If the prep school we are presently working with is a fair representation of teaching within the sector (and the head assures me it is) then we can look forward to drop in standards accross the piste (exlcuding music and sport)!The few qualifed teacers are very poor, and the keen amateus, those old boys and girls with a classics third class degree, or the like, are dreadful! No state head I know would stand for such awful practice and Ofsted would give any school emploing such staff a life time season ticket to special measures......
  15. Has my thread been highjacked here?

    I was asking heads how they chose their school and whether compromised on their choice?
  16. Blizzard, there is enough wisdom in the first few posts after yours. I wouldn't compromise!
  17. v12


    Sorry Blizzard - it got slightly side-tracked and went off-piste for a post or two.
    My error for forgetting the tongue-in-cheek icon in an earlier reply.
    Back on track now, I shouldn't wonder..
    I've never had any inclination to go into headship, or even senior management, but have always chosen my schools in a very logical manner. In order of importance to me:

    Is it independent and preferably HMC/IAPS.
    Is it a boarding school.
    Does it have a CCF.
    What is the staff discount for children.
    Do the staff all have masters degrees [damn that sense of humour!]

    I'm sure that there will be those who might disapprove of my particular criteria, but it helps to sift out those schools which are likely to be wholly unsuitable.
    Of course, the fussiness of one's criteria will largely depend on how desperate one is to move!

  18. I have been a primary head for 4 years and I think the job is vastly different depending on the size and location of the school. For example, I do not have a deputy as I have too few pupils. My head teacher post also carries with it a weekly teaching commitment, I may also serve the school lunch, look after sick pupils, team teach.....I am also the co-ordinator for most areas of the curriculum. It is all a bit mad but I love it! Heads I have worked for have been able to delegate lots of the responsibilities to others and just mastermind the process. This has worked well for them and they have loved it. The job description is not uniform. make sure you find a school that allows you to be the kind of head you want to be.
  19. This idea makes me so mad. I am VC of governors in a primary school and the idea that a secondary head know ANYTHING about primary education make me spit. It is rooted in the prejudice that because it is the "big school" the headteacher is more qualified. I am yet to meet a secondary headteacher who has a grasp of child development in the under 11s, a sound understanding of the 11 subjects (plus) of the primary curriculum, a real understanding of integrated learning etc...

    When we were approached by a secondary school offering to "let us join a federation" I told my HT to say, OK but I'll be the excutive head as, "the primary phase is obviously the more important phase of education as when we get it right the children are on the right course, but by secondary it is too late". Didn't hear from them again!
  20. I am in my second headship & think location is important - some days are long so I avoid having to travel too far and like a good view on the way there & back! Meet the staff and watch dynamics in the staffroom. I like going to schools where I think I can make a difference. Looking at potential in the site is key and thinking about the opportunities you could bring. It is worth keeping an open mind in your first Headship & visiting quite a few. You'll want to know about support from governors & particularly the Chair for you as you embark in the new role.

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