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visiting schools

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by chasingharrywinston, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. I always try to look round a school before an interview. Besides you getting to grips with the school it means you can have some time alone with staff at the school and get your face known.
    I was on interview recently and was the only candidate of 7 that had been to look round. The other candidates knew because I had to leave the tour of the school early to start my lesson. The HOD said 'you know where you're going because you visited last week'. A few of the other candidates looked unnerved by this. I think it shows your enthusiasm and also gives you a chance to mention unofficially what you've been doing that might be useful for the job.
    I got the job too.
    I would ask what you want to know. I take it from your post that you are Primary, I don't really know much about what you would ask but things like rewards and sanctions, set up of literacy, topics taught etc.
    Hope this helps
  2. nearly_there

    nearly_there New commenter

    Thanks for the reply.
    I am primary and I think my problem with visiting schools is that the jobs I'm applying to have so many applicants that I have never visited a school on my own. I've always had at least one other person there but usually the school has an open evening for all applicants so it can be quite a large group of people. It's hard to make an impression in a group especially as you don't want to be the pushy, loud one in the group. I always try to slip in a fact about myself that will also appear on my application school such as where I'm teaching at now (long-term part time supply) so it helps to put a face to my application form incase they forget my name. However everyone else is also trying to do the dame thing.
    I do agree it shows your enthusiasm for the job I just hate the format of the visits in my area. I would prefer an informal chat on my own with the headteacher.
    Has anyone not visited a school but phoned the headteacher - how do heads recieve this is it welcomed or a bit of a pain. At least then I'm getting the chance to have one to one, ask the questions and don't need a babysitter ;-)
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Sorry - missed this earlier. You need the "Dear Theo" in the title so that it catches my eye!
    I'm no expert on school visits - too many applicants to cope with - but there are people on this forum who are. I've done a quick Forum search, and pulled up these thread titles which look as though they could hold some useful tips for you.
    Best of luck!
    School visit - questions to ask
    Dear Theo.Pre-application school visit question
    Questions to ask in school visits
    Advice saught for when visiting schools

  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Ignore that first one - the title looked helpful, but actually all it says is: "This is a question that has been asked before, do a search".
    Sorry about that.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Other point to note is that Independants do not generally welcome visits.
  6. Hi there

    Just thought I'd add my two pennies worth! I was told whilst on final placement by my mentor that schools do not look at applications if you have not visited. Most schools keep a check list of names etc. I agree that walking around in a group does not present the opportunity to make yourself stand out and be noticed, being the pushy one will make you unpopular but then you don't want to be the wallflower either. If it's not you being pushy then the next person will be the one!
    I have experienced both individual visits and group visits I only had an offer of one interview from a group visit, I think that was because the Head knew me from before - still didn't get the job. Had a few really nice one to one visits with polite letters afterwards saying they enjoyed meeting me - application was good and strong but on this occasion etc etc. So not perfect results but you just have to put yourself out there - if you don't look at the school then you don't know what it would be like. You say you have child care issues - if your child(ren) are not of school age then look at schools as a prospective parent - how do you feel about the learning environment with regards to your children - I look at schools and ask the question 'would I send my kids here' or 'would I be happy as a parent if my kids were in this environment'. I was told somewhere that 'there is no such thing as a stupid question' - just don't ask the blindly obvious one which will make you stand out. You don't have to pretend to know everything about the entire teaching profession, sometimes its best to see how the land lies and then ask questions towards the end - on some of the visits they take you into a separate room, ask you details about yourself and give you the opportunity to ask any questions then.

    Good luck I know how tough it is out there - in the same position but still chasing every vacancy there is!

  7. As I progress to becoming a professional interviewee I have found visits invaluable although not always possible. When the head takes time to meet with you I think it can indicate a lot about the school ethos and what they are looking for. Even in my desperation I have chosen not to apply when the school is obviously not on the same wavelength. Some heads have taken a good deal of time to show the school at it's best despite large numbers of applicants, others seem intent on scaring people off, and one just dumped me in a classroom without explanation!

    As a previous poster mentioned, I have stopped asking for Indep. visits as they are always met with bewilderment. I have also picked up some useful ideas from visits and have a clearer idea of the type of school I am looking for and the type of classroom I want. Plenty of my NQT friends secured jobs without a visit, although a couple are regretting that now.
  8. I too have wondered about this. Personally I feel that school visits are disruptive to classes and if I were a school head I would only take those applicants that were shortlisted for an interview, around the school on the day they were interviewed. That way classes would suffer the least disruption, and the school would only have a few people to take around. One school interview I attended did this and managed to separate each candidate at various times so they got individual time with one or more of the panel, and group time where general information was imparted. This was run like a well oiled machine with candidates arriving at 20 minute intervals. It showed professionalism and I was impressed.
    I am in the difficult position in that I am applying for posts within a 80 mile area as I will settle once I find a job. Running from school to school is prohibitively expensive and time consuming. I have also had a nearby school who was offering school visits turn me down as 'they were far too busy'. Go figure?
    I don't visit each school and I do believe this does prejudice my application. But then I believe that these schools are exibiting a small minded mentality. I have also had a school stating they won't accept e-mail applications... guess their IT Dept is not up to much?
  9. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    it depends on the timing. some that i applied for last may knew that there wasn't going to be time for people to visit, especially with SATs going on.
    the interviews i got were for schools i hadn't visited, btw. i had called and expressed an interest, though.
  10. delma

    delma New commenter

    Sometimes you have to read between the lines. If a school says in their job advertisement 'prior visits are most welcome'..take that to mean 'if you don't bother to visit, then we won't bother shortlisting you'.
    It is often difficult to visit if you're applying for jobs that are further afield. By visiting a school, you are expressing an interest.

  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    If you feel that schools are placing a lot of emphasis on a visit, then if you just can't make it (and sometimes it IS impossible), then have just one brief sentence in your application saying that you would have wished to visit but it was not possible.


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