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07-04-2021 - - 0 comments
Preparing for a headship

Are you considering taking on a new headteacher role or perhaps you have an interview coming up for a headship at either your current or a new school? Firstly, don’t panic. The team at Smile Leadership have some tips and advice to help take some of the stress away and ensure that you are as prepared as can be.

Headship interviews are a little different 

An interview for a headteacher role is different from other school positions for two reasons:

  • They are led by the governing board not the headteacher
  • They are typically multi-stage process made up of tasks in addition to an interview

How to prepare for a headship interview

Laura, Director of Smile Leadership, who has over 10 years experience working in education recruitment, offers some pointers on the best ways to prepare for a headteacher interview. 

Reflect and review your experiences

  • How can you evidence your experience of a wide range of school leadership challenges?
  • As a headteacher, you’ll work closely with the school governors. How can you demonstrate experience of working with a governing board/local governing body?
  • Finally, be honest about what you are unsure of and the areas you’ll need support with and get an idea what what that support might look like.

Get to know the school

Whether you’re an external candidate who is new to the school or an internal candidate looking for a promotion, it’s important to brush up on key facts about the school.

You should read up on the following before heading into your interview:

  • OFSTED reports - highlight areas of both success and improvement
  • Performance data - how is the school and its students performing exams and assessments.
  • Information about the school such as size, demographics, etc.)
  • Information and policies from the website including the minutes of governors’ meetings
  • Financial reports - to get an idea of budgets etc. 

The data you uncover can then be used to compare the school against the national average and other schools in the area.

The headteacher interview process 

Headteacher interviews are usually much more than just an interview and those applying will often be expected to complete at least one task during the process. 

Common headteacher interview tasks include:

  • Budget analysis
  • Performance data analysis
  • Presentations on a set topic
  • Leading a school assembly
  • Lesson observations (or delivering lessons, if the post includes a teaching commitment)
  • Meeting with pupils, staff or parents
  • In-tray exercises (these are designed to test your ability to prioritise, perform under pressure, think strategically and creatively, and pay attention to detail)
  • Group discussions
  • Role play scenarios

If you would like further support with finding a headship position, please don’t hesitate to get in touch our dedicated team at Smile Leadership will be more than happy to assist you.

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