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Independent school applications

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Ju6121, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. Ju6121

    Ju6121 New commenter


    I like to think of myself as a fairly successful teacher with 12 years worth of experience. I have been applying for Independent school leaderships jobs for the last year but have never even been offered an interview out of maybe 10 applications, even for those at my current level.

    Are independent schools looking for something specific or does my lack of an Oxbridge degree mean that I am always unlikely to be shortlisted, even though I am currently studying for a PhD?
  2. JJ83

    JJ83 Occasional commenter

    They could just be promoting internal candidates but advertising because they have to.
    Have you had someone look over your cover letter etc?
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    The "internal candidates" idea is very rarely true. There is no legislation that compels advertisement nor any that requires competition between applicants. If they want the internal candidate, they'll offer the job and save a lot of time and money on advertising and interviews.
    Oxbridge is also irrelevant. We will look at the degree but might well take a punt on a 3rd given the right work record. Whether you got to Oxbridge or not was determined in your teens; what your teaching and leadership are like have been determined in your twenties and thirties, and no doubt you are different now to what you were in Year 11 or 12!
    We want to see experience, relevant skills, track record, commitment. Remember there may be 100+ applications so chances of success are statistically slim!
    TheoGriff likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good post, @Skeoch !

    I have been an Indy Head, large, HMC, and we are just looking for great teachers with a lot to give our pupils. So that's what must come over in your application.

    Now for some sharp questions. They are really rhetorical, you know the answers, I don't need to be told them, you need to answer them to yourself and then act on them.

    Q1 How good is your application?

    Is it fulfilling its main aim: to show the school that you should be shortlisted and interviewed as the preferred candidate already, going into the interview with this big advantage?

    Q2 So how can you improve it?

    Q3 How good is your interview, is it fulfilling their expectation of you as the preferred candidate, allowing you to demonstrate why they need you, and making you the obvious choice?

    Q4 See Q2

    So, your applications may not be doing you justice, not showcasing effectively your strengths and skills, and what you have to offer a school.

    And then the interview (oh how we all hate interviews!) may not be helping you clinch that job either.

    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 E.S. this 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 all 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!

    Perhaps even one with a whole section on applying to independent schools, alongside a host of 5-star reviews from fellow teachers in the UK.

    Good luck

    Twitter @Theo_Griff
    PaulDenny likes this.
  5. Ju6121

    Ju6121 New commenter

    Thank you for the responses.

    I guess my confusion stems from the fact that I have never had any issues with being shortlisted for leadership jobs in academies, but have never had a single invite to interview from an independent school. Even for positions that are equal to or slightly below my current role.

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