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What are the steps to working in an Independent School?

Discussion in 'Independent' started by Oliviaaa37, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. Oliviaaa37

    Oliviaaa37 New commenter

    I am in my first year at University, and predicted a 2:1.
    I currently study Education Studies and Sociology - however I am seeking a transfer to a different University that I believe will provide me with better challenges and offer me more.
    The university I currently attend is extremely small, and does not have a high budget to provide students with placements around the country etc. Which I believe would benefit me greatly to explore the world around me.

    I am extremely interested in social sciences, and will be doing a PGCE in it after my undergraduate study.
    Additionally to this, I really love the independent sector, and despite only attending my local state school, I am apprehensive as to whether my application in a few years would even be considered.
    I have average GCSE and A-Level results (2 A* and 2Cs), and I seek clarification as to whether I would even get a look in.
    However, I am debating a gap year before my PGCE to gain teaching experience around the world, for example in Africa or France, and I am wanting to do a Masters Degree in Education too.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Steps to teaching in an independent school:
    1 Pass your degree, at any university that suits. Class matters a little to some schools, but not at all to others.
    2 Qualify as a teacher, social sciences isn't a massively sought after subject, but with your degree it's probably where you'll need to go.
    3 Apply for a post in an independent school
    4 Have an interview and be successful.

    That's it.
    jarndyce and sabrinakat like this.
  3. SiriusB

    SiriusB New commenter

    I think there is a bit more you can do than what the above poster suggests. Secondary independent schools place a massive emphasis on extra curriculars, and I have lost jobs, despite having an excellent academic record (that sounds a bit like bragging but I am trying to make the point), to people straight out of uni (with no PGCE) because they were competitive sportsmen. This is especially the case in boys schools and/or boarding schools. Perhaps getting involved with a sport at your uni would be helpful.
  4. Endeavour1

    Endeavour1 New commenter

    I am not sure that there is a big call for sociology at Independents. I think you may have to look at colleges or big sixth forms. Keep an eye on the jobs page in order to give yourself an idea of the frequency of sociology teaching - can you offer any other humanities subject?

    Another thing independents look for is a commitment to extra-curricular activities. So consider what you can offer.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think it depends on what you want to teach and what the school has a need for.

    I teach in a boys prep, but don't do any sport any more apart from the odd cover lesson.
    We are advertising, but have no need at all for any more sportsmen/women and so it simply wouldn't feature. A year ago we did need them, so it would have mattered.

    Extra curricula matters, but no necessarily sport.
    jarndyce likes this.
  6. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I don't do sports at my independent (but have led adventure mornings). I am, however, a brilliant spectator!

    However, I do loads of other extra-curriculars, such as Oxbridge preparation (including workshops and visits), implementing (and creating) a one-year language course for overseas students, am currently doing a local history project about my school (the land upon which our school is built has been occupied since Roman times), I did offer a crafts club but that lasted a year or so :( and I am hoping to do a language club next year. I also do overseas (Rome and Greece) and local trips (Fishbourne and Lullingstone) and am doing a year-long history certificate at Cambridge and am hoping to do an advanced Diploma there next year. Oh, and I examine/mark GCSEs and am writing a book proposal for an academic text (cross fingers).

    So, it's not always about sports (obviously if the advert says that they would look favourably upon sports coaching, that's different!), but what you can offer to them.

    My best advice? You are first year - enjoy your studies, do extra-curriculars that you enjoy and worry about finding a job in a few years!
  7. SiriusB

    SiriusB New commenter

    Of course, it does depend on the school, but I was turned down by one of the top boys schools and the head of department basically told me in the feedback email that he would suggest I start my career at a girls’ school, where the need for sports is smaller.

    I am also doing lots of academic extra-curriculars in my school (Oxbridge prep, including inviting speakers from Oxbridge and academics to do mock interviews, taking students to Oxbridge open days etc), I started a reading club where we read and discussed poetry, I started a club for Modern Greek (students asked for it, then found it too difficult and stopped coming haha). I am an examiner for A Level and have a contract to produce an academic textbook, which I am currently writing. I have also published an academic article in an edited volume. I am also currently organising our department’s next international trip.

    In addition, I contribute to House events by organising House Whist competitions and I participate in DofE.

    I do try to contribute as much as I can and yet, it is pretty obvious that those who contribute to sport in my school are valued more. I sincerely hope that not all schools are like that, as I am not a very sporty person.
  8. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    You do not need to be sporty to work in an independent school. I am fed up of hearing this advice.

    I've now recruited five colleagues in my time as a HoD, which means at least twenty interviews. In each of the final meetings with the Head and Deputies in which we discussed all these candidates - application forms, interviews, lesson observations, references - in great detail, I can only recall sport being mentioned once or twice, and certainly never as a deciding factor. We're a fairly sporty boys' boarding school...
  9. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    I didn't get asked this either and I have been working in an independent school for 4 years. Just as well as the only sport I can take part in is yoga due to chronic neuropathy in my back! LOL! By the way, it's not just independent schools that expect teachers to get involved in sport. I recently saw an advert in a free school which stated that all students and teachers are expected to play sports every afternoon on a weekly basis. Needless to say, I didn't reply to it.
  10. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    The emphasis on helping with sport dates back to the days when many senior boarding schools turned out the entire school for games on three full afternoons a week - usually from 2 until 4, followed by a break for tea, and then another couple of teaching periods in the early evening. With up to 40 teams all out at the same time, it was important to have most of the younger staff able to referee a match. In my first job there was only one games master (in a school of nearly 1000) and his job was to organise all of the rest of us who were actually running matches.

    That is now very rare indeed. Most schools value having professional sports coaches and properly trained sports teachers just as they value having properly trained mathematicians, historians, musicians, linguists and so forth. Althougth there may be a few exceptions, the days of the bungling amateur are long gone in most schools.
  11. nighttrace

    nighttrace New commenter

    Totally agree, unless the role is titled graduate assistant or coach.
    jarndyce likes this.
  12. nighttrace

    nighttrace New commenter

    I'm working at the type of school in your description - for a teaching role, it is a joint decision made by the academic head and HoD. Being sporty is not essential and a lot of time we have external specialists or coaches to deliver the sessions. Quite a few of my colleagues just take the register and supervise.
    jarndyce and sabrinakat like this.

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