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Were you appointed at HT without visiting prior to application?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by cn72, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. cn72

    cn72 New commenter

    It is pretty difficult in my current role to take time out to go and visit schools that suggest this is 'strongly' encouraged! It also often means just meeting the business manager. Additionally am applying for jobs in two locations, so tricky again to get to a school far from where I'm currently based.

    Curious as to how people have addressed this, if they didn't visit.
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I find it surprising that you sometimes only met the SBM. When you make an informal visit before you submit a formal application I'd expect you to meet the current Head so that you can learn about the school, its strengths and challenges etc, to decide if you want to apply. You wouldn't learn much from the SBM (except they haven't got enough money of course!).

    When, as a governor, I've chaired Headship recruitment panels we'd have thought it rather odd if a candidate who'd got as far as shortlisting hadn't visited the school. We wouldn't necessarily reject them because of that, but it would, well, make us wonder... .

    But if it was obvious you were living a very long way away and were re-locating we'd probably have understood and it wouldn't have been an issue.
  3. cn72

    cn72 New commenter

    Thanks for your response. As a Head, would you be able to release staff to visit schools, given that this might not result in them being shortlisted and given that you'd have to potentially find the money to cover them?
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'm not a head, I'm a Chair of Governors, so I can't answer that.
  5. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    Allow them to go during PPA time but otherwise it needs to be after school. Potentially could end up covering 4 - 5 school visits and then 4 - 5 interviews and cannot afford to do that.
  6. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    I found it difficult when I had someone regularly off looking at schools . . . I asked them to try and share the burden by using Leadership time etc. and we had to manage. As long as I didn't feel they were wasting their time and mine I was prepared to make it work
  7. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    As part of fair recruitment, you positively should not let a pre-visit influence shortlisting. This should only be measured against the person specification. That is why only someone not involved with the recruitment process, like the current headteacher, should show potential applicants around. Visit if you can to gain information about the school and see if it feels right for you. I’ve certainly seen people interviewed who didn’t visit.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    How do schools react to "I'm unable to visit, but may I have a telephone/Skype conversation with the current postholder?" It seems like a reasonable request, if they're prepared to take time to show potential applicants around. In this day and age, it might even be possible to Skype a tour around the school... And of course you make full use of the school website, Ofsted reports and anything else you can find, to show that you have done as much research as possible from a distance.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    I am not a head, but for very distant schools you might get a day off unpaid to see them. For more local schools try to get asap towards the end of the school day and just sign out if necessary (if allowed).
  10. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    This is difficult. I suspect I have not been shortlisted for posts because I didn't visit (was trying to relocate) - but maybe my application needs to be better - who can say?
    I have visited schools and realised I didn't want to apply - so the time investment at the beginning meant I didn't waste time applying or going for interview. However I think the practice of visiting before an application has become a 'norm" that needs to stop being used as an indicator of interest. It shouldn't be used to shortlist applicants - and so shouldn't be "strongly encouraged"... my current employer has a right to expect me to focus on that job after all, and I can't be gadding about visiting schools all the time!

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