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Ht Recruitment

Discussion in 'Governors' started by cornflake, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    Hi Digoryvenn,

    My background ... Teacher, Middle Leader, Now a supply teacher, Parent Govenor, Overseen a school close to RI to Good through a process of federation, academisation & now part of a MAT as a governor

    I have been involved in appointing 2 heads - 1 was a Head, the other Head of School

    Both times the appointed candidate was the best person for the school, not necessarily the best qualified or candidate if that makes sense?

    I felt at least 1 time if we had appointed the most 'qualified' candidate the school would've suffered as a result because I got the impression they would've rubbed too many staff up the wrong way at the wrong point in our journey

    Neither time did it come down to finances - in that regard we are lucky
  2. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Thank you very much The-Gaffer for your insightful comments and for taking the time to reply.

    Yes, your explanation does make sense as that is the impression I received at my interviews. It is about appointing the candidate who would be best for the school. It is sometimes difficult to accept that, particularly when you say a candidate may give the impression that they would have "rubbed too many staff up the wrong way". How do you avoid that?!
  3. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Yes, @digoryvenn and @the-Gaffer— I think this is the case with many appointments, not just Heads or senior posts. There has to be a feeling that the person will ‘fit’ at the school and can take the school/department on a journey where most people stay on board, storms and rocks are avoided and progress is made towards a good destination (unless you are seeking a complete shake-up).
    Interesting to hear that the ‘most qualified’ person was not chosen. I do feel that Heads can sometimes be blinded by qualifications, higher degrees and letters after people’s names - especially in certain subject areas.
    I think personality is very important, too, and if there is a feeling that you wouldn’t get on well with staff, pupils or parents then no matter how good you may be in other areas, the door will close. This one is really difficult, because sometimes you can come across to others in a way you didn’t intend at all, or you are judged on one small thing you said or did. It’s hard to get across the fact that you may be friendly or personable but also have the gravitas or tough streak needed to deal with difficult issues.
    digoryvenn likes this.
  4. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I have higher degrees. I thought that together with the three years experience that I have would be enough.
    I now realise that it isn't enough. I can't remember what I was like when I was appointed to my first headship but I know I am a different person now and I know (having been told so) that I have a personality that doesn't 'fit'.

    I am beginning to understand why I haven't been successful at my five recent interviews.

    Thanks Viola.
    ViolaClef likes this.
  5. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Keep going, @digoryvenn. It’s hard being rejected, especially if you liked a school or thought it could be right for you. Interviews do help to crystallise what you do and don’t want and where you do and don’t fit. Someone once said to me that the interview experience is never wasted. Interviews can be like stepping stones which take you, a step at a time, across the stream to new pastures. Sometimes we just don’t know how many stepping stones there might be! All the best.
    digoryvenn likes this.
  6. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Just seen this, over 25+ years I have been on 6 / 7 HT interview panels.

    OK, so this is what I look for... I want to know that you know what our school is about, that you bothered to look at where we are on the tables, that you know we are outstanding and have thought about how to keep us there rather than coasting. When I ask you why you want to be our HT, I need to know that the children are front and centre in your answer... "I visited the school and the pupils made me so welcome, they were curious and engaging."

    I want you tell us what you think we do well and where you would like to improve it, what could you bring to the school. I want to hear what you are passionate about... not marking or data because you should have that under your belt already but what makes you come alive and how you will pass it on to our children.

    Also don't forget you are interviewing us too, do you think you can work with us, does the school feel happy... as former Ofsted Inspector, we had a fair indication within the first five mins of what sort of school it was. You could see it, hear it, smell it (cabbage and urine are an unholy combination) touch it...if your shoes stuck to the floor, then the caretaker might not really care, and if the school lunch was grim, we knew that there were going to be problems. So ask us, what makes this school special to you? What is the best thing about your school I would learn if I got this job? How do you view your role in the SLT?

    Finally look at us... No one enjoys interviewing the crown of a head, get us to re-ask the question if you lose it... and prepare. You know what the regular questions /topics are:

    Why do you want to come here?

    Have the examples ready to dazzle us and tell us where you failed, what you learned from it and what you would do differently next time.

    What are you most proud of?

    Finally, remember we are sitting on that panel are bricking it, because if we get it wrong we get it wrong for 250+ people and it is a nightmare to put right. We want someone who will work with us and who will make us a better school and who will inspire out children.
    digoryvenn and JohnJCazorla like this.
  7. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    I have been a HT since 1997 in the same school that I was the deputy in, so when I applied for my promotion all those years ago, I never had that question, but I know from people who have applied for headships in different schools have been questioned about their latest OFSTED reports. When I’m recruiting for a Deputy Headteacher or Assistant Headteacher, I also look at the prospective candidate’s school’s OFSTED report and I’m more interested in the effective leadership and management in the school, as this will give a base for questions to be asked should I shortlist them for interview.
  8. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Interesting. However the same question will need to be asked for each of your candidates to ensure that the process is balanced.

    Are you suggesting that perhaps you would do this when they came for a school visit? This would very much be a different matter. Also as the exiting HT, you would not be on the interview panel.

    I also forgot to say that if you have not been on a school visit, that it is unlikely you would get past the shortlisting.
  9. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    LatteLady - can I come and work in your school! I'd love to be part of a team with a GB that had that approach (passion, inspire, children!). Lots just want OFTSED!
  10. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    A great insight Lattelady, thank you!

    Very timely too as I have three HT posts to apply for over the next few weeks.
    I now realise that I have completely misunderstood what governors want in a HT and I have amended my application accordingly.
    Sundaytrekker likes this.
  11. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Digory Venn... how is it going with your applications?
  12. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Not very well, I am afraid. Thank you for asking.

    I have just emailed an application and will send another next week, which will be my 23rd application!

    I think it may be time to give up. How many applications do I need to send before I realise I will never find another post? It is quite embarrassing really.
  13. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Sorry to hear that, digory. Is it time to consider classroom teaching if the applications were all for headship?
    digoryvenn likes this.
  14. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Unfortunately yes, all the applications are for headship.

    I am in the process of setting up my own business; a music teaching studio.
  15. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Oh, that sounds interesting.
  16. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    Governors read Ofsted reports of all candidates applying to phase leader or higher positions in my LA.

    If you're in an RI school, you should be having termly checks from SIA so you could always share quotes from these reports about how you're moving achool forward in your applications.
  17. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Thanks @Sundaytrekker .

    I need to earn some money soon although it is taking a long time to set up as I am not making too much of an effort! Music is the only thing I have left after my life had been completely destroyed last year. At least it is a distraction from all those failed applications!
    Sundaytrekker likes this.
  18. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Yes they do. But it’s more likely to be senior MAT or LA staff doing the looking than govs...
  19. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Hi DV, just a thought but if you ever need to chat about applications etc with an ancient Chair, please ping me. More than happy to have a chat about what we look for and why.

    Keep on plugging away with the applications, the school who will be lucky enough to have you working there and making the difference is not far away.

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