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Need to have a moan about schools 'expecting' you to visit

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Bobby_Carrot, May 4, 2011.

  1. Now I get all the reasons about why this is a good thing but in all honesty I visted my current school but it was after school and the school had a whole different feel to what it is like when the children are in school, so I have only found these visits useful if you can see the school working and gain a flavour for the school.
    I have also found of the three interviews I have had since qualifying last year, I have only been interviewed once by a school where I looked round, as I was unable to visit the other two schools.
    I have just receive an application pack where they state it is 'expected' that prospective candidates look round the school. They have provided a ppointment times. One is at 2pm in the afternoon (der I am teaching!) and the other is 4pm on our staff meeting day. Now whilst my head teacher knows I am looking for another job, I do have to show a degree of loyalty to the school I am at as regards staff meetings etc... I have rung the school to try and book an alternative but they have said they can't accomodate at any other time.
    In all fairness it actually makes me wonder whether I really want to work there if they are that inflexible and 'expect' candidates to visit but then aren't accomodating. I also work a good half hour drive from home so as we finish at 3.30pm, getting there for a 4pm appointment is also difficult through the traffic. I have tried to use my NQT time for visits where possible but not all schools can fit in to my schedule. Some have been very understanding about this but some have said they prefer people to try and make the effort to visit - but this isn't about making an effort.
    Sorry this attitude is just making me a little cross at the moment. What about people who live further away than I do????? It strikes me this is very orientated to NQTs who are still at college/uni and will find it much easier to get the time off during the day than anyone currently teaching. Surely these teachers wouldn't be granting their own staff time off to go and look at potenitial schools when they should be teaching?????
     
  2. Now I get all the reasons about why this is a good thing but in all honesty I visted my current school but it was after school and the school had a whole different feel to what it is like when the children are in school, so I have only found these visits useful if you can see the school working and gain a flavour for the school.
    I have also found of the three interviews I have had since qualifying last year, I have only been interviewed once by a school where I looked round, as I was unable to visit the other two schools.
    I have just receive an application pack where they state it is 'expected' that prospective candidates look round the school. They have provided a ppointment times. One is at 2pm in the afternoon (der I am teaching!) and the other is 4pm on our staff meeting day. Now whilst my head teacher knows I am looking for another job, I do have to show a degree of loyalty to the school I am at as regards staff meetings etc... I have rung the school to try and book an alternative but they have said they can't accomodate at any other time.
    In all fairness it actually makes me wonder whether I really want to work there if they are that inflexible and 'expect' candidates to visit but then aren't accomodating. I also work a good half hour drive from home so as we finish at 3.30pm, getting there for a 4pm appointment is also difficult through the traffic. I have tried to use my NQT time for visits where possible but not all schools can fit in to my schedule. Some have been very understanding about this but some have said they prefer people to try and make the effort to visit - but this isn't about making an effort.
    Sorry this attitude is just making me a little cross at the moment. What about people who live further away than I do????? It strikes me this is very orientated to NQTs who are still at college/uni and will find it much easier to get the time off during the day than anyone currently teaching. Surely these teachers wouldn't be granting their own staff time off to go and look at potenitial schools when they should be teaching?????
     
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Understand your frustration here, Although in my area it has generally been possible for me to arrange a visit, it hasn't made that much difference to me gaining an interview- I generally don't& if I've lost a day's supply to go even more galling!
    It does seem stupid to 'pre-visit', when one generally has a good look round the school on the actual day of interview. As you suggest this may be because posts are angled at NQTs & because there are so many applicant it helps them weed out 'potentials'. But if they get over 100 applications? Surely that would be disruptive to learning as that many visitors wander round? It also worksd against anyone who has to relocate & simply can't travel to the school.
    Perhaps you could include some explanation in your letter, something like 'You've been impressed by looking at the school on the website, but distance/ class commitments prevent you visiting but you look forward to the opportunity to see pupils & staff at the school if invited for interview'. (You could probably tidy that up though)
     
  4. I know of some heads that use visits to help with the shortlisting - when heads are getting 100+ applications, with many being strong, they need to have a method of shortlisting. That is not to say that I agree!!!

    Of the 6 interviews that I have had, I have only visited two beforehand.... not sure if that says something about me!! But have been to more than my fair share of school visits.......

    my advice is to check the wording of the advert, if it 'welcomes visits' I would assert that a visit is not essential, other than tto see if you like the establishment. Whereas adverts that state that a school visit is 'highly recommended/ highly welcomed' etc then I would try to make the effort to attend as the head clearly values school visits......
     
  5. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I don't think it's necessarily any easier for an NQT to visit schools, as they are often on their final placements at this time of year and have to make sure they do enough days in school to qualify for QTS. It's easier to say you need time off, as the school doesn't need to organise supply, but you can't really afford to take too much time off for visits when you know you'll also (hopefully!) need time off for interviews.
     
  6. Yes, that all sounds lovely. However, you have to be aware that applicants will apply to all the vacancies they can in order to get a job (ie decent income for themselves and their families) or move on in their career if they already have jobs. They are not going to have the luxury of being able to pick and choose which school they apply to on the evidence of a school visit, which does not give a huge amount of info about a school anyway. Headteachers showing applicants around are always going to big up their school, and say that they only want the most enthusiastic and committed teachers to work there. And all the applicants are going to big up themselves and reckon they meet that criterion.
    So if applicants are going to visit all the schools they apply to that is going to be all the schools with vacancies. I would have thought it better for everyone if the visit happened after shortlisting. Then you, as headteacher, don't have to walk huge numbers of possibles round the school, and applicants are not having to try to fit in a large number of school visits into their busy lives.
    I can see where you are coming from and that you are trying to do the best for your school, and also it's pretty academic anyway as you don't use the visit as part of the procedure. But if HTs are using the visit like this wouldn't you agree that they should say so? Otherwise we have this situation where applicants feel they have to visit every single school on their vacancy list, just in case.
     
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'm currently looking for a next post and would say that it is incredibly important to only apply for posts you really want. Applying just because there is a post available will come across in an application and so is unlikely to result in being shortlisted. Visiting is one way to help you decide and you can use some of what you found in your application.

    I'm visiting some schools to find out precisely what the post they are offering is. I'm also visiting some schools that I don't know well to see if they seem like somewhere I'd want to work. Also to meet the HT, I'm applying for SMT/SLT posts and so having a similar philosophy to the HT is vital. I'd rather waste an hour or so travelling and visiting to find out that I'd not go near that school than spend 4-5 hours writing an application to find out later.

    Yes it is time consuming and yes sometimes you leave feeling it was a waste of time. But if it is possible to visit it is a good idea.

    And no it isn't always fair, but hey life isn't!
     
  8. I'm well accustomed to the fact that life is not fair, but there are ways in which we can make life more fair and it's my belief we should strive to do that. As for cherry-picking which school and applications to make, I am guessing you are in the position of having a post at present. Unfortunately, not everone looking at vacancies is in that position.
    The main point of my argument is that should a school visit be regarded as essential to an application this should be made clear on the job advert.
     
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    But writing 10 excellent applications, each well thought out and tailored to the school, is more likely to result in being shortlisted than applying to 100 schools being unable to to give the time to make each application amazing. I do have a post right now, but have been in the position of applying for posts, while very expensive yet inexperienced in the sector, and feeling like I'll never get a job. But it was always better to apply only for posts that are actually wanted, I had a 100% interview rate while being picky. Had I rattled off an application to every single school advertising I don't think I'd have got as many interviews as I did.
    But you have said here, and on the HT forum, that you do not (and in fact cannot) know that this isn't already the case.
     
  10. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    And, I'd suggets that applicants need to be aware that schools are looking for the applicant that is right for their school not just someone who could do the job. In a situation where we have 100+ applicants for a post and short list down to 6, I'd hope that any one of the candidates could be appointed. So, the interviews is as much about is the applicant right for the school as can they do the job.

    I don't need to big up my school, I need to make sure that applicants know what they are getting into. So many visitors to our school ,wistfully say "I'd love to work here" with out seeing all the hard work that goes inot making it such a great place.
     
  11. Exactly, the present situation seems to be that it might be the case - who knows? So you have to assume it is. Therefore some applicants have to fit in several school visits, at great inconvenience and possibly expense, to be sure their application form is even opened. Apparently, at each visit, you have to give the impression that this is the only school for you (see HT forum). Can't you see the hypocrisy? This is just HTs trying to save themselves time and effort. As for rattling off applications- that's a different issue. I am perfectly willing to spend huge time and effort on applications because that is the gateway to the job. Well, it should be until this practice came into being.
     
  12. Sorry, I should have quoted. My post was a reply to minnie's.
     
  13. I agree with all this. And whether or not an applicant has visited before shortlisting has very little bearing on whether they are right for the job. They may very well say, "I would love to work here", in fact, I can almost guarante they will.
     
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I would assume that HTs are being fair and open about their shortlisting. There is no evidence at all to show otherwise. Yes people might say 'I've not visited and I've not been shortlisted', but it doesn't mean one follows from the other. I would not assume that bad employment practice goes on, just because some people haven't been shortlisted. I've not always visited schools prior to applying, but certainly try to do so.

    Some candidates on a visit make an impression to ensure they have no hope of the post and so would have been better off had they not visited.

    Choose your schools carefully. Apply using all the fabulous guidance you can find on here. Visit if you can, but don't fret if you can't. And there will eventually be the right job for you at the right time.
     
  15. Thanks for your optimism Minnie. However some on the other forum know of schools that do follow this practice. I suppose I might say well if that school is being unfair in this way I'm better off not working there! Good luck with your job-hunting too :)
     
  16. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    I'm sorry, are you suggesting that I'm shallow or feeble minded enough to be flattered into giving someone a job.
    My point is that, as far as I'm concerned the visit is for the candidates benefit. As I've already said, we DONT use it as a short listing criteria. After all, what can we find out about an individual in a group of 30 that are being shown round, (unless of course they are very pushy and that will probably work against them)

    But, you are right, if a school does use it as a criteria it should be explicit in the advert. Though by doing so, they are obviously restricting their chance to recruitment some one as tenacious as you :)
     
  17. Sorry you take umbrage at this, dusty, it was just my attempt at a witty aside.
    But HTs who believe all the nice things people say about their school may be guilty of a little naivety, perhaps? I'm not trying to be nasty, but I'm sure you must be aware of the dynamic between an important person such as yourself and someone who wants to impress you. Call it flattery if you like.
    Anyhow, you agree with my main point, and as for my tenacious nature- well, I was just trying to get that point across. [​IMG]

     
  18. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Actually, the comments generally come to me via the class teachers from the visiting experts we bring in to support/enhance the curriculum or supply teachers. And whilst i might be the head, all staff have a massive input of who they want in the school.

    We currently have regular supply who will be applying, but I know they are not popular with the class teachers, so I'll be taking that into consideration. In addition, short listed candidates will be invited into school to teach and will be observed by myself and the potential year group partner. Anybody the year group partner feels they can't get on with, won't be invited back to interview. One year when we were appointing three staff, all short listed candidates came in for lunch with the staff, and the staff's opinions influenced who went forward to interview
     
  19. Would you say that a congenial personality is more important in a teacher than ability to meet the needs of children? Do you have this on your person spec? Has it ever gone wrong and you've ended up with someone people didn't get on with after all? Just curious.
     
  20. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Well, as i said earlier, I'd hope that having short listed 100+ applicants to a short list of 6, then any one of them could do the job! I'd certainly not appoint someone I thought couldn't do the job well just because the rest of the staff got on with them. But often at interview it comes down to two or three that we can't decide between, and thats when rest of staff's preferences really come into it.

    The only time we've got it wrong was one appointment about two years ago. The candidate didn't get the job in the initial interview, but it was very close between her and another. We went with the other because the staff had really warmed to her and I did have some reservations about the unsuccessful candidate, but nothing I could put my finger on. Then we had a temporary post come up unexpectedly. So, the second choice was offered the job. It didn't go well as the persona she'd presented at interview was not who she actually was, but as the job was temporary there was no lasting damage!
     

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