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Dear Theo... an interview after 20 years in the same school

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Gimenez2010, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. Gimenez2010

    Gimenez2010 New commenter

    Dear Theo,

    You might remember that last summer after a very long time in the same school I made a decision to leave my school that I love but does not have a position that I am interested in . I know no other but accept that it is time to move on and that I am determined to secure a good position in another school

    I applied for a position as a lead practioner in an outstanding school ( mainly a middle management not an SLT role). Despite my devotion to one school I have kept up to date with application methology ( thanks to you and other TES contributors) and I know I am lucky that after only one application I have been asked for interview.

    My problem is although I am very experienced I am not very good at interview.

    I will be interviewed by a panel and asked to do an in-tray exercise - no mention of observing a lesson

    To be honest I can't imagine what this in-tray exercise might be. The last time I formally did one under examination was as a new graduate 27 years ago !

    Would it be acceptable to ask exactly what type of in-tray exercise might be expected ?

    If anyone could give me a few pointers I would appreciate it

    I know I sound really naïve ... but I am determined to succeed as this will most probably be my last chance (although not entirely over the hill I am no spring chicken)

    Huge thanks to all of you wonderful people that help so many of us jobseekers
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Well done for starters! You have already impressed them with your application. Now to nail it with that interview.

    No, don't ask.

    If you did, they would just say The type of in-tray that you would cope with if appointed, and possibly mark you down for asking something so obvious . . .

    Here's an in-tray example; not for your post, but gives you an idea. Think: what sort of issues would I have to deal with? And do note the hints I give for tackling this.

    In-tray exercises. Deputy Head

    Do you mean them observing you, or you, as a potential middle manager, observing and feeding back on a lesson? Just think through now, in preparing for the interview, what you would do if they sprang either on you.

    And here is a nice lot of other reading for you to do . . . I have posted all the articles, including some not relevant to you (and re-posted the in-tray one too) for the benefit of other readers of this thread.

    Help, I've got an interview! *** The basic advice ***

    Teaching an observed lesson at interview

    Using mind-mapping for interviews *** The best-loved advice ***

    Tell us about yourself - dream or nightmare question? *** Read and note this ***

    Daft Interview Questions

    What shall I wear to the interview?

    Interviews – making a positive first impression

    How do you decide who to appoint?

    What excuse can I give for going to interview?

    Child Protection: the questions, NOT the answers

    A typical Child Protection Policy

    Two interviews and a dilemma

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

    SLT interviews - possible questions

    In-tray exercises. Deputy Head

    Assistant Head interviews

    General interview questions

    Questions to ask at the end of your interview

    Now you must know what I am going to say next, if you are a regular on here!

    On Old-TES we had a very nice tradition that when you actually got a job, you started a brand-new thread (not adding it to this one - a brand-new thread) where you told us your good news. You call itDear Theo - I got that job!and this gives everyone a chance to congratulate you. It also gives them hope and inspiration for their own jobseeking, to see you successful.

    If you see one of these threads, make sure you congratulate people!

    So I will end by saying that we look forward to seeing your Dear Theo - I got that job!

    Best Wishes
  3. Gimenez2010

    Gimenez2010 New commenter

    Thanks Theo,

    I do hope that I will be accepted and that this school is the right match.

    One thing I found odd was that despite having 30 sections on a very detailed job description there was no mention of actually teaching. There was mention of being a form tutor. I do believe they have left out the obvious.

    I will let you know how it goes
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  5. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    would love to know some good answers to the in-tray exercise.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    NOT a good idea! And you know that really yourself, @JL48 ! But I'll spell out why, nonetheless.

    1) They would be my answers, not yours. If you were appointed on the basis of what I can do, instead of what YOU can do, how would you actually do the job? Phone-A-Friend every morning? ;)

    2) If I posted the answers on here, they would be seen by . . . by however many people view this thread. Who might be going to the same interview as you.

    How would you reply to the Governor in the interview who asked: Can you explain how you and Candidate B gave the same answers to all the questions in the In-tray exercise? Did you both gett he answers from the internet?

    3) Heads come and read this forum too, so the Head may have seen my answers on here too, so the question in interview would be: I see that your answers to the In-tray exercise are not yours, but TheoGriff's. How does this fit with our maintaining of high standards for students in coursework?

    4) There are not necessarily right answers anyway to these exercises. Although there are, indeed, good ones and those that are less than good. ;)

    Best wishes

  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    If you don't have them in your head, you're not the best candidate...
    midnight_angel likes this.
  8. Gimenez2010

    Gimenez2010 New commenter


    I had the interview and felt it went very well....but that's really for the interviewers to say.

    I loved the school and staff.

    Even if not selected I am really proud that such schools exist doing brilliant work for our children some of whom had a very poor start in their lives. In this school they have not been forgotten.

    It was a pleasure to attend and I wish the school every success ... I hope that I can be a part of it ;) !

    Thanks for all the help and support and I'll let you know the result.
    midnight_angel and scattykatty like this.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Looking forward to hearing the result - it sounds as though you did yourself proud.

    Best wishes

  10. Gimenez2010

    Gimenez2010 New commenter

    Unfortunately I was not selected. They have offered feedback after half term so I'll have something to work on.

    I will continue to search. Although disappointed I am still happy to return to my present school. So I'm looking at this as a win win situation not forgetting that I still need to move on.

    Huge thanks for the support.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    How disappointing for you, even though you are taking that decision very philosophically, @Gimenez2010 .

    How about beginning half term with an actual real live avatar? ;)

    Let's get rid of those Little Green Martians!

    And something to console you?


    Don't eat it all at once!

    Best wishes

  12. Gimenez2010

    Gimenez2010 New commenter

    Thanks Theo

    I really felt the interview went well and I could have really offered the school a lot. I was really specific and accurate with all my responses and the in tray activity was to write a lesson plan...I wrote one which was actually seen by an Ofsted inspector and graded outstanding. I felt I was well matched.

    I did find it very strange that I was not asked to teach... I knew this before the interview

    I am more concerned that I felt the interview went really well yet it was clearly not good enough ...maybe I have a clouded judgement of myself and that does worries me. I 'll try not to dwell too much over the half term and just hope that the promised feedback will be helpful... not something like you lack experience in working for similar schools to ours ( they knew this from my application)

    I definitely need the practice so it was excellent experience.

    I find this website to be very therapeutic and moreover helpful

    Huge thanks
    midnight_angel likes this.
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    Not that you were not good enough, nor that the interview wasn't good enough.

    A very big possibility is this:

    They just clicked with someone else who was as good as you but they felt would fit in better.

    You just didn't fit the particular hole they decided they had.

    So don't feel it was a failure.

    Best wishes

    Kartoshka likes this.
  14. Gimenez2010

    Gimenez2010 New commenter

    Thanks Theo.

    You are too kind.

    I was thinking that maybe I unintentionally pulled faces or had some strange body language that they picked up.

    The only odd gesture was when the interviewers asked me to feel free to ask them to repeat a question if I didn't understand and I responded with a smile and nod ( it was a smile and certainly not me being arrogant or over confident ..because I'm not at all that type of person)

    I must stop dwelling !

    What you have said is really appreciated and yes it could be a possibility. They'll let me know but you have helped me not to dwell on the matter. I'm definitely not giving up.

    Theo you are a star !
  15. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    (The missing thumbs-up emoticon )

  16. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Oh, I'd never apply for SLT positions, as I don't think that I'd be very good. I was just curious as to what someone would consider to be good answers to those situations. It seemed really interesting.
  17. c43210

    c43210 New commenter

    Gimenez, I have found it really hard to go for interviews after a long time in one school. I recently received coaching for interviews that really helped. It's definitely a lot about being the right person at the right time, and also using the interview to find out more about the school. I have often dwelt on what I did wrong at interview, but have come to realise that someone else just often feels more right for that particular hole. Interestingly I have just been offered a much better job than any I have previously interviewed for but I did better because I was able to use all my previous experience. Good luck with the job hunting and don't give up!
  18. Gimenez2010

    Gimenez2010 New commenter

    Firstly huge congratulations to c43210 and many thanks for your kind words and support. It really impresses me how supportive TES is.

    I'm sure I do need coaching and will seek it from my current school ... although they don't want me to go they are supportive. However I'm always given really good feedback and so It's difficult to see what I need to work on. Of course there will always be someone better. I think that the fact I have only ever worked in one school might be somewhat of an issue for some schools. I was asked about how I felt leaving my current school to which I responded how highly I regard it but have the skills that the current school could utilise and more...maybe it was that they could still see a perceived attachment to my old school (which I honestly don't have) ...who knows ?

    There I go dwelling again ...must stop !

    Once again congratulations and good luck with the new role.
  19. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    If you said that you have skills your current school can use, and then added more about how you can use your skills in your current school, then I suspect they do see you as unwilling to move on.

    A simple "its been great, and I've learned XYZ, but now I'm ready for a new challenge" might be the tactic to try next time.
  20. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    It depends entirely on what the exercise is, and the position.

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