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Getting an Interview in a Prep School

Discussion in 'Independent' started by William8686, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    I am currently in my second year of teaching PE in a mixed comprehensive
    school. I have always wanted to work in a prep school and noticed there are a
    few vacancies popping up.

    I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to boost my
    chances as much as possible.

    Do prep schools tend to employ teachers who have already been
    teaching in a prep school or do they also consider applicants from a
    comprehensive school?

    Any help or advice would be very well received.


  2. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Just a few random thoughts. First, do the obvious and check the website of any school to which you apply to identify their major sports. Footrball may appear, but rugger, hockey and cricket are more likely - and you would almost certainly be expected to teach swimming.
    If you get an interview, you need to look super-smart (sporting blazer and tie are usual). The HT and governors are likely to want to see you as the public face of the school on away matches, so you need to come across as very positive and outgoing.
    Remember that in a small prep school you may need to offer a second subject.
    Be aware that you may still encounter schools in which the first teams are run by the academic staff rather than the PE master. This is more common in senior schools, but if you do come across such arrangements, they can need great discretion (65-year old latin teacher running the first 11).
    Having previously worked in the maintained sector is no barrier at all, but you will be expected to show a real commitment to independent education (not a desire to escape the state system) and, as I'm sure you're aware, hours can be very extended in the independent sector, with Saturday fixtures being the norm, and (in the cricket season) matches continuing until 6pm or later, and the possibility of team tours to distant parts.
    Good luck!

  3. Thanks Florian,
    I have applied for the post and will kepp you posted!
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Good luck! One further thought, prompted by a comment in another forum about how uncompetitive sports have become in some maintained schools. Be aware that sports in the independent sector tend to be ruthlessly competitive (in the nicest possible way, of course!).
    Staff are likely to turn out to cheer on their side in house messages, and parents are likely to do the same at fixtures. Cups and honours boards proliferate, and it is normal for HTs to read out the sports results at assembly. Sports days also tend to be major events.
    This could be the case in the school where you currently work, but I know that competitive sports have been run down in some parts of the maintained sector.
  5. v12


    And don't forget that the ALL after school sports activities MUST clash with the choir and musical production rehearsals!
  6. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    ...and in school time games sessions dictate the timetabling of exams! (I am a school timetabler and games and music makes the timetabling hard!)
  7. Ireton

    Ireton New commenter

    Good advice above as always. Also consider that you will be spending a lot of weekends taking matches as well. If you are in a boarding prep school then Saturday afternoon will be matches and or training plus, on Sundays, you may also have extra fixtures and competitions to attend to - plus possible boarding duties. So remember to factor in that you will have to put in extra on site or in attendance hours (though less paper work) than state school. If you have ayoung family and or desire an energetic social life then choose your schools wisely.
    If you are looking for a day school, I would suggest a larger one which usuall will have a dedicated Sports Dept. Florian is right in saying that some schools have certain staff who jealously protect their domians, I went from coaching the 2nd XI and XV down to the Under 9s - great fun but had to be aware of a pecking order existed irrespective of actual experience and ability. You may also like to approach local prep schools and ask for a visit, then see at first hand what is required at different institutions. Most Directors of Sport are a one man bands supported by colleagues who are keen amateurs so ensure that you can display at interview excellent administrative skills, good interpersonal skills and an ability to range beyond the classroom/sports hall.
    Good luck!
  8. Thanks guys, really helpful. I will keep you posted.
    Has anyone got any idea, how many people I might be competing against for a PE role in a prep school?
    Bit of a tricky one, but just curious!
  9. Ireton

    Ireton New commenter

    We have about 40 applying for each post. Depending on the school size a major consideration will depend on what else you can offer, so really show that you are a jack of all trades and are willing to be fully involved in the life of the school!
    Very best wishes to you!
  10. Thanks Ireton,
    That's what I thought roughly. Everything seems so competitive at the moment!
    I will let you know how I do.
    Thanks again,

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