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Leadership advice

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by timwebb25, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    In Octoher 2017 I stepped down from my Assistant Headteacher role due to a period of poor health. I made this decision alongside my Head on the basis that it would be temporary and better than me taking a long period of sick leave. In August 2018, having requested several times since February and being interviewed for the Deputy Headteacher post, my Head informed me that due to financial constraints and the fact that one of the deputies (not the one whose post I applied for) had decided not to leave I would not be able to rejoin SLT in any capacity. This was disappointing and difficult to understand; however, I decided to stay on as my first child was due in January. I made it very clear that I would be looking for a leadership role elsewhere. I continue to manage staff and work as EVC despite not being paid as a leader for these jobs.

    Since that time, I have applied for 5 jobs, I have visited schools and met with the heads on all occasions and have been honest about my current position. On all occasions they have stated that they don't see this as a problem and that they respect the fact that I took this decision and it should be applauded. I subsequently have not been shortlisted for 4 positions. The feedback each time has been that there were a lot of candidates and most of them were currently Assistant or Deputy Heads. The one I was interviewed for, all 4 candidates were sent home before panel interviews and when I asked for feedback I was told that: "You didn't have the experience or nuance of leadership (just) for this post." I have 8 years of leadership across 2 schools, 5 as KS2 leader and 3 as AHT. I accepted this and then subsequently discovered that they appointed internally a candidate who was not interviewed with us and whose leadership experience was limited, made worse by the fact that we all watched her teach an appalling lesson as part of the interview process.

    I am now in a quandary about how to proceed, my head and director of school improvement maintain that I just need to find the right school. It has been made very clear that there is no scope for a leadership position at my current school despite my contract still stating I am substantive Assistant Head and I am not being shortlisted as heads are dismissing my application due to my current position before seeing what I can do. Including the internal position at my own school, I have put in 6 applications in the last 18 months and got nowhere despite being able to fulfil the essential and most of the desirable categories on each application.

    I feel as if I am moving further away from leadership with every month that passes in my current role and that actually my only option is to leave the profession as my career is now over. This is becoming all-consuming and going to work every day to carry out a role which provides me with very little challenge or career development opportunities is heartbreaking. I only keep going in because it would let the children down if I didn't. I genuinely don't know how to proceed. My notice letter is written but I haven't delivered it yet. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have spoken with my union who can't help and it is clear that my own SLT are not interested in assisting any further. Thanks
  2. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I don't have a lot of advice, sorry! It does occur to me that if you hand in your notice that you won't have a job at all and will be applying for posts as an unemployed applicant which could be very tricky. Have you worked out how you are going to pay your bills?
    I do sympathise with your frustrations as I had aspirations for leadership but I'm a bit older and can't see it happening now.
    I'm surprised your union can't help if you have a substantive post as AHT. You should be being paid as AHT at the very least.
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Six applications isn't that many. I say keep applying but look at the jobs you're applying for more carefully. I was a well paid deputy and never got the headship I wanted because I wouldn't compromise on the pay - I only applied for jobs in large schools that paid more and was often up against candidates who were already heads of small schools. I can see now that I was never going to get any of those jobs although I did get interviews. What sort of jobs are you applying for, perhaps you need to widen your net.
    ViolaClef and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    Range of DHT jobs from L4 up to L8 in a range of size schools. I have worked in single form and 2 form entry schools so am not bothered about school size or salary. I was on L3 before I stepped down, currently UPS2. The two I have been interviewed for were L8 (current school) and L6 which was a 3 form entry so I don't think that is the problem.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    Notice would be pending a new position outside education, that way I could work notice period as and when new job starts. Union's view is that because I stepped down voluntarily I accepted the "lower" permanent position.
  6. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I think getting a job is just a lottery. Keep at it for a while longer and don't get resentful. Don't say too much about the background when you are in touch with schools, but go into job applications as a shiny happy person with lots to offer. You may be coming across as a bit "difficult." Sorry.
  7. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    No need to be sorry, you're right. Having said that, I normally get positive feedback from the schools regarding how I come across at visits. It's usually the first thing they say before telling me I haven't been shortlisted...
  8. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

  9. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    Well that's a nice positive thought, thank you for that.

    My point is that I'm not even getting shortlisted let alone achieving the position with schools using my lack of current position as the reason. Not possible to get that position and that precludes me from being shortlisted. Vicious circle.
  10. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Feedback - that's just someone ticking a job off a list. Keep going.
    Pomza likes this.
  11. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Don't read too much into the feedback. There's been lots of discussion of that on here.

    Remember if it were only a lottery, and there were 15 applicants for each of the 6 jobs you've tried, you might just have been unlucky so far.
  12. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    Thank you, I appreciate that. However all I have to go on is the feedback that I am getting which is telling me that other candidates are already in senior positions. If I am being told that this is the only improvement I can make and this has come from 4 different schools then it must be the issue. As I said, that is the one thing I can't improve in my current role.
  13. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Most feedback is not really designed to help you or give you genuine reasons why you were not chosen. It is a formality in which the reasons given have to be ones you cannot argue with. The school must do and say nothing which makes any candidate feel the process was unfair.

    Six interviews is not bad going. But it is an emotionally exhausting process. Choose the schools and posts you apply to carefully. A lot of it is about a right fit. Good luck!
    Pomza likes this.
  14. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    Thanks, that's really interesting. I suppose that is the problem, I can't argue with the position that I'm not on SLT but it does feel as if the process is unfair, particularly when I find out that the subsequently appointed candidate was also not on SLT and less experienced. (This happened in 2 cases)

    I was contacted by the LA in one case as someone else had complained about the recruitment process. It was investigated but ultimately too late to change anything for anyone at that point.
  15. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    @timwebb25 I think it’s impossible to follow the logic sometimes. I know that ‘experienced’ doesn’t necessarily mean one is the best, but when someone with much less experience seems to fly effortlessly across the finishing line, it can be hard to swallow. Teaching is a job where experience should count for a lot, but nowadays it doesn’t seem to. Some candidates do and say the right things in the interview but can’t carry it through into the actual job.

    Keep persevering- and all the best!
    digoryvenn likes this.
  16. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Every job I have applied for over the last year and a half (32) has resulted in someone else who was less experienced than me being appointed.

    Just keep applying.

    Good luck.
    ViolaClef likes this.
  17. timwebb25

    timwebb25 New commenter

    And it has happened again. "You just missed out on the shortlist". This is a school in our cluster where our heads have peer reviewed each other and one of our deputies is currently working with them. No feedback available until after Christmas as the head is "snowed under". Worst thing about this one was that I found out yesterday as they had forgotten to let the unsuccessful candidates know. I'm done. Thanks for advice everyone but working in schools is not for me anymore. Fed up of watching some senior leaders build their own little empires and I can't even get through the door for an interview because I made a decision in the best interests of the school and my own mental health.
  18. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    It would appear that there is so much of this going on in schools. Appointing unqualified people (e.g. someone with no teaching qualification(s) or experience as SENCO, NQT+1 as Lead Practitioner responsible for coaching and mentoring trainee teachers) when more experienced teachers should have been given the jobs are characteristic of some UK schools today, sadly.

    You may want to undertake the NPQSL or NPQH if you don't already have this under your belt, and which will validate your suitability. Not that this guarantees you headship or that you can't get appointed without one. It simply can be helpful in securing a headship position.
  19. Computerchase

    Computerchase New commenter

    Keep going at it. I was actually astonished with the "cut throat" methods employers use in the recruitment process.

    Watch out for the internal candidates. These candidates are pretty much getting the job, unless they mess it up. People may argue about this but if you get two candidates and they are both similarly able to do the job, the internal candidate that is already in the school's network, with a known reputation I believe would get the position.

    Keep on applying for jobs. 6 job applications may not be that many for a leadership role such as a DH role.

    The interview process can be very tough. Non teaching jobs in my experience can be just as tough.

    I would say definitely do not resign before you get a job, unless you plan financially for this. I would say try not to challenge your school and gather belief in yourself because you had already got a leadership job you can do it again.

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