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School visits

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by susiec08, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Why, oh why do schools have visits only during the working day? I am very fortunate to have lots of pre booked supply but am still looking for a job. All the jobs advertised 'encourage' visits which are all in the day. I always contact the school but am often told there is no other time. I knw this shouldn't make a difference but I have had heads tell me that they won't consider an application unless the person has visited the school. Why should I be penalised because I am working? I actually have to work as I cannot afford to take a day off to visit a school for 30mins. So frustrating......
     
  2. Honestly, I don't know, I don't even know why they bother asking that people visit! I was looking for a new job in January and saw one that I could apply for. It was about an hour away. I duly went to visit and nearly broke my neck getting out of my school by 3:30 and there by 4:30. Then as he showed me around the Head just kept complaining that it was a shame I couldn't have come during the school day. This for a head of English position, so I was hardly likely to be doing supply or at college!
    I much prefer the schools who let you apply then state happily at interview that it's a two way process. I've only pulled out of an interview once, but it wasn't the right place for me. I didn't need to visit first to know that [​IMG]
     
  3. Also do Head teachers not realise that most schools are quite similar? You really don't know what a school is really like until you start working there.
     
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I feel quite strongly about this, as I do about observing candidates in their own school.
    It is unfair on those who live a long way away, and on those who cannot spare the time to come, because of childcare or because they are teaching and cannot be released.
    I wish schools wouldn't do this, I wish they would STOP saying that they give preference to those who visit, I wish that they would NEVER give such a preference.
    All you can do is actually say in your application that circumstances prevented you visiting the school, but that you have researched it well, and feel that you know the ethos etc etc
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
     
  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.
    I spoke to one head at lunchtime today and she has arranged an after school visit after Easter. I like her!
    I emailed another school to ask for an after school visit or a chance to speak to the head but oh no, the head is very busy and nothing can be accommodated outside of the advertised times. I don't think I'll even bother to apply there. What an awful attitude!
     
  6. As a student teacher we have to spend a certain number of days in school or we don't get QTS. The margin is quite tight and there simply isn't time, on a PGCE, to keep having time off to visit schools. So I agree!
     
  7. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    I am currently applying for posts over 200 miles away, so visiting is impossible. I generally contact the school, explaining that I cannot visit but would someone be available to speak to me by phone? Once arranged I make sure I have a few questions ready based on my research. On my covering letter/email I ask for Mr/ Mrs governor. To be thanked once again for the time they took to speak to me by phone as I wasn't able to visit as I would have liked.
    So far so good, it seems to have covered this visiting issue and has not stopped me from being shortlisted. If they refuse to speak to you by phone then surely they can't discriminate against you at shortlisting.
     
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Well done LadyKaza - a very sensible approach.
    More sensible than the silly idea of trying to make people visit.
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
     
  9. That's great advice, Ladykaza, thank you! I hope you don't mind me asking but along what lines are your questions to the schools?
    (Thank you for redirecting me here, Theo.)
     
  10. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    Hi MissWyburn, I am applying for headships so my general questions begin with asking how the vacancy has come about, clarifying any points from the person spec ie, are you looking for skills in a particular area and, as I have lost out in the past, I always ask about potential internal candidates. I then usually ask about things I have noticed from the application pack, latest Ofsted, website, performance tables and demographic info etc.
    My best advice is to do all your research before the call and have a pen and paper to hand to note down info, just as you might on a visit. I have always found these calls quite helpful. Good luck.
     
  11. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    Hear hear! It also seems that there are fewer visiting times allocated (I saw one school which only had 2 dates). I often try and go in my PPA time (but then you get behind with all the work you need to do).
    Is this practice of visiting for the prospective teacher or the employer? I saw one advert that said, please be aware that interviewing starts during the visit. Seriously.

    THEO- I would love to know your opinion about observing candidates teach in their own school. Are you for or against and why? It is becoming popular.
     
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Read this:
    https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/390861.aspx
    You need to persevere a bit, as it's only after a few posts that the penny drops and I realise what's happening . . .
    I think that this answers your question pretty thoroughly . . .
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
     
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Here, from the above thread, is what I wrote a year ago. No, sorry, two years ago.
    _______________________________________________________
    I think that the general feeling is that this is very much anti-equal-opps. Or to put it more bluntly: this is unfair as there isn't a level playing field.
    POINT A: This isn't a level playing field because:
    One candidate, in own school, is teaching in circumstances where:
    • S/he knows the children's names
    • S/he knows the children's personalities
    • S/he knows the children's levels, difficulties
    • S/he knows the work done previously that can be built upon
    • S/he can actually do a class the day before (the hour before?) setting the scene for the observed class
    • S/he need not panic if there is a hitch as own materials, facilities all to hand
    • S/he may have a known TA in the classroom
    • S/he can feel confident because of all the above
    However, another candidate, perhaps a PGCE or BEd Student, or an unemployed or supply teacher, is teaching in an unknown school, where children are unknown, facilities unknown, and nervous anyway.
    POINT B: Conversely, this isn't a level playing field because:
    One candidate, in own school, is teaching in circumstances where:
    • The observers do not have the background knowledge of the children to judge learning and progress
    • The observers do not have access to the RaiseonLine or other value-added and achievement data for the children
    • The observers do not have familiarity with the children's behaviour issues with other teachers
    • The observers (are they all Ofsted-trained and experienced?) cannot assess within the context of that school
    However, another candidate is teaching within the observers' own school where the observers know the school, its context, its pupils.
    POINT C: This may not be a level playing field if:
    A school is so set on observing in applicants' own schools that those from outside the travelling distance are discareded immediately on the grounds og distance.
    POINT D: This may also not be a level playing field if:
    A school insists on applicants making a school visit before application, and says it will not consider applicants who do not. Even if:
    • Your current Head won't allow time off for school visits
    • You are working on supply, so lose a day's teaching money if you go on a visit
    • You live at the other end of the country, so it is not practical to visit
    • You live at the other end of the country, so it is too expensive to visit
    I am not happy about schools insisting on school visits, never have been. It's just an extra interview opportunity for the school - why can't shortlisted candidates be given a school visit at the beginning of the interview day?
    But I am even less happy about schools who suggest observing candidates in their own schools.
    It is not a level playing field.
    It is not fair.
    I think that sums up nicely my point of view here.
    _______________________________________________________
    My view then, my view now.
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
     
  14. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    Well, well, well. I will pm you the name of my LA too in a minute.

    This has made me look at this issue with new eyes. I recently had an interview in my school and was observed by the Head and Deputy. It was a very positive experience, I thought. However, I didn't sleep at all well the night before and of course spent a lot of time making sure my classroom looked beautiful.
    HTs have recently in my LA become very enamoured with this practice because they say that seeing a candidate teach anywhere other than their own school is 'artificial' and I can see that too (aside from the other issues re supply, NQTs etc). You cannot differentiate accurately for a lesson where you don't know the children and if you are working with a TA in a lesson who you don't know, they don't get to see the relationship etc with her, or with the children. My class were my class, warts and all and they saw how I dealt with behaviour. If you teach in their school, kids are often on best behaviour.
    But, of course, all the issues above, rule out the benefits. I think the HTs want to see, with their own eyes, the kind of school you work in too, to assess....what? Whether you are suitable for their school? How shabby or otherwise it is? And how does that reflect on you???
    Fascinating thread.....


     
  15. I totally object to school visits prior to interview.

    I'm working as a supply teacher and it's sod's law that I would be offered work on a day I'd arranged a school visit - as has happened several times in the past.

    Previously, I've visited schools (missing out on supply work) only to have another tour of the school at interview.

    I've driven 45 minutes each way (a cost I could ill afford), only for the visit to last a mere 10 minutes, including me asking questions and not even getting to step inside a single classroom even though the visit was in school time.

    I've spent an hour on a school visit only to be told that the vacancy had been withdrawn when I took my application to the school (well ahead of the closing date) - and of course, having spent ages tailoring my supporting statement to the school.

    Rightly or wrongly, I am not going to visit any more schools prior to applying. I simply can't afford to possibly miss out on supply work nor can I afford the petrol travelling to schools.
     
  16. Just to continue this rant about visiting schools I went to visit a school recently where the head told us all he had dismissed an application he had received earlier that morning because the candidate had written that they were not able to visit because they were too busy.
    I learnt more about the school by reading the Ofsted inspection. The head provided a tour of the empty classrooms while I watched several of the 60+ candidates try to elbow their way towards the head and make small talk about the 'lovely light classrooms'.
    What are we trying to prove to the schools? That we have a lot of time on our hands?
     
  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    That is outrageous.

    Absolutely OUTRAGEOUS.


    Posted from my Galaxy Tab
     
  18. It makes me feel a lot better that you agree.
    The best visit I've experienced was at a school where the candidates were given name stickers and we were followed round by two parent governors with clipboards silently taking notes on us. When we entered the year 6 class the children had prepared questions for us. The head then started making her own notes on the candidates and was quite visibly discussing our responses with the deputy and the governors. She then said she hoped we had enjoyed our visit!
    Not all schools are the same thankfully. I have been shortlisted and got jobs at school where I was not able to visit.
     
  19. Professor Dumbledore

    Professor Dumbledore New commenter

    I am shocked at some of the things Ive read here but thought I would share my experience with you...
    4 years ago, when I was applying for my first teaching job, I was living and on placement in Northumberland, but applying for jobs in Northants. I applied to a job in a notorious estate of significant deprivation in the East of Northamptonshire. Was very pleased to hear I had been shortlisted. However, the Head of this school decided she was going to FLY up to Newcastle, get a TAXI from the airport to my placement school in Northumberland, watch me teach, talk to my mentor, conduct a mini interview with me..... all with the taxi meter still running!!! She then got back in it and flew home. I recieved an official letter inviting me to interview, and duly attended. And I didn't even get the bloody job - they didn't even seem that keen on me!
    Looking back, I cannot actually believe I didn't question the sanity of the situation - what was she thinking??
    Recently I decided that for my 5th year of teaching I would like to return to the North East, so I applied, not evening mentioning a visit.... applied for 2 jobs, got interviews for both of them on consecutive days and got the one I wanted.
     
  20. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    More jobs this week - do read LadyKaza's advice towards the beginning of the thread.
    Best wishes
    ___________________________________________________
    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, every week in print in the TES magazine, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
     

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