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Independent School Snobbery?

Discussion in 'Independent' started by Eccithump, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. I am an NQT working in an inner city, challenging secondary school. My time so far has been horrendous and no amount of teacher training can prepare anyone for life in this environment. Rather than moaning, I decided to do something about it and have been applying to independent boarding schools. I have paid for application advice from the TES advisory service. Unfortunately, 5 applications down the road, I haven't been able to secure an interview! I am happy with each of the personal statements and have followed the advice I have been given. I do have a 2ii from a new university and my PGCE is also from a new university. Is this why I am not being invited for interviews? When lookingh for my 1st post in state schools, I had no problem in being invited for interviews and was offered the 1st post I interviewed for. Are independent schools so fuelled by snobbery that they recruit depending on academic background as opposed to quality of teaching? I have read inspection reports for schools charging 25k+ a year in fees and, quite frankly, they have been far from impressive. Yet, after applying to such a school, I still was not invited for interview!
    My faith in education has been completely crushed and I'm sure I will end up being yet another casualty of our wonderful education system.

  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    What you haven't said is the subject you teach, as this can have a large impact on the competition for positions.
    I am presuming that in addition to the TES advisory service that you have also been following the advice given on the jobseekers board.
    You know, it does cut both ways. When I finished my PGCE I must have applied to over 60 state schools for a teaching job. I have a degree in maths, speak four languages with native speaker proficiency and do quite a lot of sports. Precisely zero state schools asked me for an interview. Only one even bothered to take up references and that was as far as it got. The first ( and only ) independent school I applied for asked me to attend an interview before the closing date and offered me the position the next day, which I happily accepted.
    Sometimes, in spite of everything, schools are not interested. If I knew why, I would have my own employment agency.
  3. bobbycatrules

    bobbycatrules New commenter

    I would much rather work in a sink estate school than listen to the small- minded snobbery which goes on inside independent schools. They too often look down their noses at teachers in the state sector, yet the irony is that you don't even need QTS to work in an independent school. Four teaching jobs advertised for my local independent school, which incidentally charges just under £4,000 per term, is for teachers to teach at the school on the GTP. If I was paying that amount of money I would most certainly be expecting a teacher with QTS to teach my children, not trainee teachers.
    Further, I would love to see these snobs teach in the difficult schools I have, as they would be eaten alive. Working in a challenging school certainly requires a wider range of teaching skills than those required by teachers in independent schools. We can all get outstanding results if we have classes who are keen to learn and encouraged to get top exam results and jobs by their parents.
    Snobbery in independent schools does exist as I have had personal experience of this. A relative of mine who teaches in an Independent school, thinks I shouldn't be a teacher at all because I'm working class. And he had the cheek to marry into my bl**dy family! What an idiot!

    Thanks for the rant, much needed.
  4. I rest my case......is it because I work in the state sector that you assume I would "hint" at a negative statement against the school I was applying to? Dear oh dear, credit me with some sort of common sense!
  5. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    That's nice. I am sure small-minded snobbery never goes on in state schools.
    Oh, hang on.
    I am sure you left university and became a teacher immediately, without any form of tiresome training and all that palaver.
    I doubt it. A good teacher is a good teacher, irrespective of the environment.
    Nope, it just requires more familiarisation with classroom management techniques pertaining to certain conditions. They are easy enough to acquire.
    Why don't you visit a local independent school and see what goes on in the classroom there? You might find it interesting.
    However we can also get excellent results where neither of these conditions exist. You might want to try it sometime, instead of accepting failure due to the social conditions you perceive your pupils are hindered by.
    So you are basing the whole of your premise on a single relative of yours. Well done. That's incisive.

    I am glad you got that off your chest.
  6. Looks like you touched a lot of raw nerves there bobbycatrules. I think Karvol, the very fact that you assume the training to be tiresome demonstrates the lack of QTS standards in independent schools. Yes, many have degrees from top universities, but as we all know, you can know your subject inside out, but being able to teach it is quite a different matter entirely. The very fact that you believe excellent results can be achieved in the most challenging environments also demonstrates your naivity. You've been living in the independent bubble for far too long. From what you have said, I don't think you'd stand a chance in some of the state schools in this country. Trying to teach children from deprived and quite frankly, horrifying backgrounds is quite different to helping children perfect their skills in fencing or rowing. Before you judge others' teaching abilities (namely state school teachers) I think you should try visiting a nice inner city school......I can see the dust from your heels already!
  7. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Hmm... Read some of my post again, but this time try and read a little irony into it.
    Particularly the bit about the training.
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Nopes! I also teach in the state sector and know many people with similar views.

    But your attitude towards the independent sector and the way you responded does give some clues as to why you aren't being successful.
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Perhaps you should visit some independent school and see what really goes on before you judge? Works both ways.
  10. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Truth is, you're applying to a competitive post. Of course the difficult school you currently work in snapped you up - for all you know you were the only applicant. That's not the case in the competitive field of independent schools.
    5 applications is nothing. Get over it, stop spending all your time ranting on tes and get on with your applications. If you don't spend at least a couple of hours tailoring each one to the post, I don't think you stand a chance. I have a first masters degree in my field and yet applied to probably 30 schools at the start of my career without hearing back from any of them.
    Also, moving on after just one year doesn't necessarily look good. Think about it. If you look too desperate, no one will want to hire you. And you do sound desperate, yet resentful that people judge you on your fairly low degree grade - they can afford to, so why wouldn't they?
  11. 'Further, I would love to see these snobs teach in the difficult schools I have, as they would be eaten alive.'

    Ummm, obviously a very narrow minded person! I teach in an independent school but have spent the last 7 years in a very challenging state school and was judged by ofsted as 'outstanding' twice! eaten alive.....dont think so!!!

    Different pressures in independent schools - parents, sport fixtures at weekends and evenings.

  12. minnieminx- I was educated in the independent sector and recently spent a day in an independent school. The class I observed was being taught by an ex-city lawyer. No teacher training experience to speak of......and it showed. Why was she recruited. Maybe her oxbridge degree and lawyer status helped her secure a position. If it was soley down to her teaching ability, then that really doesn't say much for the teaching standards required at this 25k+ a year school!
  13. Noemie - I was interviewed along with 5 other applicants. Believe it or not, many, many teachers thrive in such schools and actually do want to work in the state sector?! Also, there's no point in applying for every job that comes up. I apply to only those that I feel are a good match. Many NQT's move on after their induction year. It is usually a tool to get through induction. finally, if I want to rant, I will. That's one of the reasons forums exist isn't it? Or is it just for people to respond to others who find themselves in a bind with quite demoralising comments? Keep up the good work!!!!
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Ranting is, of course, fine. I've done it, most people do and it serves a good purpose. However, most of us rant in a way to vent our true feelings that we couldn't possibly express in polite and professional company. If the feelings and beliefs you express here are your true feelings then I honestly don't think you should be surprised not to have been appointed in and independent school.

    However there are very good and nice state schools, not all are hotbeds of madness. Many are full of lovely children and supportive parents all eager to do the best they can. Maybe try a different state school before giving up?
  15. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Fra, you still haven't told us the subject of your degree and whether that is the same as the subject for which you are applying. That's fine if you prefer not to say, but in the current climate there is enormous competition for jobs in the independent sector, and if it turns out that you have a degree that's not closely matched with the subject you wish to teach, that could be a difficulty.
    As to your degree (2ii from a new university) that could be a difficulty in some schools, although by no means necessarily so. For instance, in my own subject (music), an applicant with a music technology degree from one of the new universities would be welcome if a music technologist was wanted, but most Directors of Music are aware that it is not usually a course that would (on its own) prepare a teacher to teach some aspects of A level music, or to train the chapel choir, prepare pupils for conservatoire entrance, or to train them for Oxbridge choral scholarships, and so on. You need to remember that teaching at KS5 is often very specialist in independent schools.
    I do have to add that your posts here don't really reflect the commitment to independent education that would normally be expected from an applicant. In a very competitive market (and my own school had more than 100 applicants for my post when I retired a few years back) any hint of that leaking through could be a deciding factor when drawing-up a short list.
  16. boatmanco

    boatmanco New commenter

    I think Florians answer is spot on.
    Rather than rant...think about why you have not got the jobs you have applied for. As many have said you only have applied for 5. In a very competitive jobs market you just may not be experienced enough for the jobs you are applying for. As an NQT you just do not have the experience that schools maybe looking for. Many indie schools (and state schools) will wonder why you are leaving after just a year -I would. Better to consolidate the experience you have with another year.
    I have worked in both sectors and they both have their pros and cons so it is very unfair to blame your failure on the whole independent sector! Blaming snobbery for your failure to get an interview shows you are immature at best. Maybe you are not what they are looking for! With so many applicants to choose from there was probably someone else who was a better prospect than you.
    However that does not mean there isn't a job out there for you. My advice to you would be go and visit the next school you apply for. ALL schools are different and it does not matter what kind of school it is!

  17. Absolutely ludicrous, and an example of the prejudice that exists amongst those that think that independent education is for those with no experience of 'the real world'. I'll take my VR glasses off and attempt to set you straight.
    Having spent three years (including my NQT year) at one of the toughest schools in this half of the country, I'd done quite a lot. I'd reintroduced the teaching of GCSE English Literature, introduced another GCSE and become a head of house. Just before I left, my year 11 had just achieved the best results in the school's history (48% A*-C in English - a huge rise on previous years). It was tiring, and it was emotionally draining. The kids came from awful home lives, many of them were statemented, and sadly in many cases, neither they nor their parents cared about education. It was simply something that had to do so as to avoid a fine.
    A job came up at an independent school, and I was desperate to extend my experience; in particular, I wanted to stretch my subject knowledge to the highest level rather than my behaviour management. I find teaching kids with a real desire to learn far more challenging, and far more rewarding than crowd control and turning every lesson into some sort of game in order to keep the kids from running riot.
    On top of this, I and my II(i) from a fairly average university went up against someone with a PhD to get the post. Turns out that they were after a teacher, not an academic. That seems to have been the case when they hired all my colleagues too - we're all excellent, qualified teachers, with a wide spread of experience. We have student teachers, who are welcomed by pupils and parents alike. As for the attitude of my colleagues who don't have experience of the state sector towards those that teach in challenging schools; it's nothing but professional respect, which they don't seem to get in return.
    Quite simply, teaching in a tough school doesn't make you some kind of educational messiah, it just stretches your skills in a different way. It would seem, however, that it does a damn good job of giving you a persecution complex and turning you into a ridiculous inverted snob.
  18. asnac

    asnac Lead commenter

    Wow, that's a lot of vitriol! I sincerely hope that 'bobbycatrules' will never teach my children, as I want them to grow up tolerant, accepting individuals as they are, not labelling a swathes of people on the basis of prejudice.
  19. Oh yeah. I went to that university, in a former life that existed only within the pages of Daily Mail.
  20. Spot on Mrvonnequt!
    I think people have also lost sight of the fact that different schools measure "success" in different ways....


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