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Recruiting and Selecting a Headteacher Dominic Judge – Head of Supply, National College Duncan Verry – Director, TES Prime. NGA National Conference June 16th 2012. The strategic headship supply challenges.

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Recruiting and Selecting a HeadteacherDominic Judge – Head of Supply, National CollegeDuncan Verry – Director, TES Prime

NGA National Conference

June 16th 2012

the strategic headship supply challenges
The strategic headship supply challenges
  • Current predictions show increasing retirements until 2014/15 – Penstats data showed 17% increase in 2009 -2010, a 3% drop in 2010/11 but predicted to rise again in 2012/13
  • Accelerated early retirement risk? – pensions, accountability and educational reform – ASCL/TES survey 36% actively seeking, 54% considering leaving. NAHT..
  • Shortages in key areas – primary (38% re advertisement rate), rural, faith (catholic 51%, CofE 42%) special (42%), coastal, challenging urban, etc.
  • Under-representation of women (38% of heads compared to 64% of teachers in secondary phase) and bme groups (2.5% of heads compared to 6.5% of teachers) in headship
  • Still high stakes for the system, there is constant media and parliamentary scrutiny – (One Show, London Evening Standard, BBC radio Kent, TES)
  • Reduced number of assistant and deputy head posts (610 last year) means less stepping stones
  • Demand(retention/ federation/ etc.) >> recruitment process (governor engagement) << Supply(aspiring leaders/ talent management)
a strong case for talent management in your school
A strong case for talent management in your school..

High performing school (and business) systems are more likely to:

  • Spot and develop talent from early in teachers’ careers
  • Actively manage the career development of tomorrow’s leaders through both ‘on the job’ experiences and formal programmes

Capturing the Leadership Premium, McKinsey&Co

“One of the key revelations over the last ten years is that school

leadership is not just an HR issue – it is a strategic issue”

The link to school improvement:

  • Schools who cannot secure stable high quality heads struggle to improve (Leithwood et al, Howson, HMCI)
  • Schools offering talent development for staff recruit better teachers and retain them for longer (Mathews et Al)

“I spend all my time on people. It is people first and strategy second. The day we screw up the people thing, this company is over”

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

the law and your options
The law and your options

The law when your current head resigns…

  • Your must have a headteacher in place at all times
  • However, you cannot have an acting head in place indefinitely
  • You should be aware of what you need to do regarding the involvement in the process of the local authority and/or diocese
  • ‘Safer recruitment’ is still very important

Your options in the changing educational landscape. Do you consider...

  • Federation?
  • Becoming part of a multi academy trust?
  • Cooperative trust?
  • Offering the post as a job share? Step up step down arrangements?
  • Remaining a stand alone school?
what about recent changes to npqh
What about recent changes to NPQH?
  • Now non mandatory since 8th February 2012
  • In line with ministers wanting to give schools greater freedoms
  • Still ok for governing bodies to specify as ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’ and therefore prioritise candidates with NPQH over those without
  • Our annual survey indicates 85% of governors continuing to say this is a ‘must have’ or ‘good to have’
  • Still supported by government as the qualification of choice for those aspiring to headship
  • Subsidised through part or full scholarships for participants
taking a marketing approach to your headship vacancy
Taking a marketing approach to your headship vacancy

It’s important to understand that governors are now competing for talent from a smaller pool and will need to actively sell your school. Things to consider..

  • Getting in to the right mind set
  • Growing the widest field
  • The job advert
  • The application pack
  • Pre- interview visits
  • The experience candidates receive on the day (and afterwards)
what candidates have said they look for
What candidates have said they look for
  • Adverts that:
    • differentiate your offer from others
    • highlight the key benefits for them
    • are direct and concise
    • are never boastful
    • include a clear call to action
  • Application packs that:
    • show an understanding of the schools challenges
    • include a sense of current plans for improvement
    • summarise key financial issues
  • A visit and interview experience that:
    • is well organised and professional
    • inspires them
    • gives them feedback whatever the result
the guide itself
The Guide itself

Follows the seven main steps to recruitment…

  • Preparation
  • Definition
  • Attraction
  • Selection
  • Appointment
  • Induction
  • Evaluation
market view
Market View

TES Prime: Over 300 Headteachers, 370 school leaders recruited to date

126 assignments delivered this year

Recruited in over 85 local authorities

Worked with several major academy sponsors

Every school is different

Schools are human organisations and governing bodies are political

Recruitment of headteachers is political, emotional and difficult

market view1
Market View

Of 42 headteacher recruits in search & selection assignments this year, 25 were deputy/acting heads stepping up – 60%

Rise in number of Executive Headships and secondments

Academy conversion process

Liberalising of leadership development markets

Assessing deputies means you are assessing on potential as well as fit. There will be skill gaps. How will you manage and support them?

preparation and definition
Preparation and Definition

Define the job description and person specification for your school and its needs. DfE standard or a variation.

This phase takes the least amount of time but real effort in consensus and will become the blueprint for decision-making in the weeks ahead

Not every competency can be listed as ‘Essential’, if the JD looks like you’re recruiting a superhero, candidates will be put off

Decide on the salary and scope for movement, ‘for the right candidate’

Decide on the involvement of the outgoing head and senior team


Adverts that capture attention and inspire

Copy – less is more; logos – less is more

Candidate brochure or application pack can provide substantial and suitable information

Define the response handling process for inquiries and school visits

In our experience, over 50% of headteacher applicants first see the opportunity in the paper


Sift against the job description and person specification criteria and don’t let subjectivity, or more vocal governors to take over

If necessary, ‘weight’ the competencies most important to the school so the average do not score better

Use of psychometric or personality tests is increasing. They are valid and objective and can identify areas to probe and help inform a development plan

Ensure the assessment centre – usually 2 days - is fair, professionally run and the carousel of activities find out what you need

Keep an open mind throughout days 1 and 2, in recent experience we have regularly seen deputies outperform experienced headteachers at interview

questions for table discussions
Questions for table discussions
  • What are your remaining top 3 anxieties about recruiting a head?
  • When your past recruitment processes have gone well what would be your top 3 tips to others?
  • When the recruitment process hasn’t gone so well what would be the top 3 things you would recommend to others to avoid?