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Headship application - letter/personal statement

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Professor Dumbledore, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Professor Dumbledore

    Professor Dumbledore New commenter

    Hello all,
    Not sure whether there is much traffic on here at this time of year but worth a shot, I suppose! I've seen an advert for a headship that I'm extremely keen to apply for. I've made a start on planning and organising my personal statement but am unsure what should be included in the covering letter. I've seen a huge range - some simply along the lines of "please find attached...yours sincerely, etc." and some that seem like an overspill of the personal statement.
    I'd be grateful for anyone's thoughts. This is the first headship I've applied for but the school looks fantastic and I've love to secure an interview. I also haven't had much recent experience in writing applications as my most recent promotions have been internal.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Not sure.
    Theo would be the best person to ask.

    In my covering letter (from five years ago), I wrote, 'please find attached etc' and I also asked them to pass on my thanks to the pupils and relevant members of staff for their time during my preliminary visit to the school.

    A covering letter is different from a personal statement.

    Good luck with your application.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Sounds like something @TheoGriff may be able to help with
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    OK, both @Rott Weiler and @digoryvenn suggest a bit of help from me.

    Here goes!

    Depends what you mean by a covering letter...

    In theory a covering letter would look like this:

    Dear Dr Griff

    Post of Teacher of Sanskrit in Holly Road School

    I wish to apply for this post and attach my application form, supporting statement with summary, and monitoring form as requested.

    Yours sincerely,

    Brian Brown

    In other words, it is just acting as a cover, a sort of envelope for your actual application.

    Some people say cover letter when they really mean a letter of application. Certainly you shouldn't include a letter of application as well as a statement, because they would be repetitive. Either one or the other, depending on what the school asks for.

    You need a letter of application (which may be called a cover letter), OR you need a statement (not both!) AND you need an Executive Summary.

    Actually, what you need, is a quick course in writing an effective application for a teaching job! I'll give you suggestions lower down for getting a book to help straight away. But here are some basics.

    Your application must do you justice, showcasing effectively your strengths and skills, and what you have to offer a school. And then the interview (oh how we all hate interviews!) must help you clinch that job.

    Because above all, you need to show how what you have to offer fits EXACTLY with what the specific school is looking for, in your application and then in the interview. Each school is different, you can't have a One-Size-Fits-All application, you know.

    The easiest way to do this, of course, is to do a nice neat Executive Summary.

    Go to TES Resources, where I've put up a free template for an E.S. for you to download, to save you having to faff around with the formatting. There are some notes there for how to use it, but here it is even more briefly. In the LH column you put what the school is looking for, taken from their person specification. You'll have to prioritise, select the main things, condense it a little, of course. then in the RH you put in neat note form exactly how you meet their requirements. Simple as that!

    So that would be your starting point for an effective application. You would use this E.S. also as the starting point for your Mind Map for interview preparation, of course. For further support if you feel that you need it, I suggest that you have a look on Amazon for a book to download straight away to the free Kindle app on your phone, tablet or laptop, that will give you more tips and help with application writing, the support to just push that application into the Must-Have category. Search on Amazon for books called "Applying for a teaching job" or similar, there will be quite a few books to consider. Choose one that is not American (you're not applying for a job in Los Angeles!), and have a look at the reviews to select one that seems to be helpful.

    I bet also that like any well-brought-up Britisher, you are slightly uncomfortable about blowing your own trumpet. :) But in a subtle way, that's what you need to do! You need to define what are your USPs - your unique selling points, what's so special about you that you can "sell" to the school. And how and when to use them, especially in the interview, is quite important. Because it is a selling job, you know, both in the application and the interview! But I'm sure that you'll find a book that will help you with all that, E.S., USP and all the rest!

    Happy reading.

    Best of luck - being a Head is the Best Job in the World

    Twitter: @Theo_Griff
    digoryvenn and nomad like this.
  5. Professor Dumbledore

    Professor Dumbledore New commenter

    This is brilliant, thanks so much to you, @TheoGriff, and those who pointed me in her direction! I may not have much recent experience in writing applications but I certainly remember your Executive Summary advice, even from when I was hunting for NQT jobs!
    Thanks again - this has given me a lot of motivation.
    nomad likes this.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    That has been much updated and expanded, nowadays... as I said, if you go to Amazon you may find a book that helps.;) Or even on Twitter

    Best wishes

    Twitter @Theo_Griff
    nomad likes this.
  7. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Professor Dumbledore, can I say as a Chair who will be reading your letter, please tell me (once you have said what an utterly wonderful school it is) exactly what you will bring to the party. I am going to be looking for someone who wants to lead the school to better things, by all means tell me what strengths the school has, I can see that you currently excel in Maths and would like to introduce a chess club or beef up your music provision to build on this. Or, I can see that as you have almost 100% EAL and recent reports have flagged oracy as a challenge, I would like to work with the older pupils on the local council debate scheme, building on your children's charter work and giving a strong emphasis to the work of your school council. Don't be afraid to tell me what you see as a challenge... but remember to tell me how you think you can improve it, change its direction or even fix it.

    But whatever you write in your application, please make it about the children and good luck!
  8. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Established commenter

    Please find attached- is simply not adequate enough for an email applying for a headship. Specify that you’re interested in the role, thanking them for accommodating a visit (if you did) and share a brief snapshot of what you could bring to the school. Eg:

    Dear Chair of Governors,

    First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for accommodating my visit to your school.

    Following my recent visit to x school with a prospective view to apply for the Headteacher role at the school, I would like to formally register my interest in this role.

    When I visited the school, I was impressed with the level of commitment, dedication and the quality of teaching taking place. It was also a delight to witness the passion that the staff hold working at the school and this conveys into the pupils’ learning.

    I feel that with my previous experience as a Deputy Headteacher in a similar school will be a benefit for the school to move it forward even further and I also feel is the next natural step in my career progression.

    I have attached my application and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kindest Regards,

  9. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    OK, write this as you would speak it... I doubt you would take the opportunity to thank someone for accommodating a visit. It's really easy to overthink it, so simplify it.

    I have had a little play, how does this feel?

    Dear Mr / Mrs etc [insert name]

    I have recently been to visit XXX school and would now like to formally apply for the role of Headteacher.

    When I visited the school, I was impressed with the level of commitment, dedication and the quality of teaching taking place. It was also a delight to witness the passion that the staff show working at the school and this really translates into your pupils’ learning.

    I feel that with my previous experience as a Deputy Headteacher in a similar school will be a benefit for the school as I understand the challenges it faces and I want to be part of the team that helps to move it forward. I feel XXX School is the next natural step in my career progression and I want to play a part in its future.

    Please can you thank the team who organised the visits, it was really helpful to see the school in action.

    I have attached my application and I look forward to hearing from you

    Yours sincerely

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