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Excellence at Interview (and getting there!) Tuesday 17 th February 2015 Andy Mellor Headteacher St. Nicholas Church of England Primary School Blackpool.

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Presentation on theme: "Excellence at Interview (and getting there!) Tuesday 17 th February 2015 Andy Mellor Headteacher St. Nicholas Church of England Primary School Blackpool."— Presentation transcript:

1 Excellence at Interview (and getting there!) Tuesday 17 th February 2015 Andy Mellor Headteacher St. Nicholas Church of England Primary School Blackpool

2 Previous history 2 ½ years teaching in Birmingham at KS2 6 months residential special – EBSD 4 years teaching in Preston (2 with KS1 and 2 with KS2) 4 years with Years 4 and 6 in Fleetwood 4 years as Deputy in Blackpool 12 years as Headteacher in Blackpool

3 Motivation for being here? It is 12:45am and you are about to read application #38 and you come across a poorly worded letter of application and application form. You are desperately telling yourself that it is important to consider this application but the applicant is not helping him/ herself! You’ve already missed putting your kids to bed having got home just in time to see them disappear upstairs in pyjamas. It’s been a long day, you haven’t eaten since 7:30am and somebody has applied for a post at your school and they haven’t even remembered to sign the letter! What do you do with applicant #38?

4 Why be here? I want to read applications that give me an insight into someone that we feel we can employ. I want you to get the post you want and deserve. This is probably your most important application. Once in post you apply for others from a position of strength. It isn’t rocket science but straightforward common sense.

5 What does the process look like from the inside? Vacancy arises: retirement, capability, promotion, moving on. Post advertised: TES, Council jobs website, school website. Shortlist panel determine selection criteria: NQT v Exp teacher, subject specialism, quality of letter. Shortlist determined and we write out. Candidates invited for interview: Interview day: Interviews, lesson observation, references both formal and pupil, DBS checked. Ring unsuccessful and successful candidates followed up by written job offer.

6 What can you do to help yourself? Research Preparation Draft and re-draft Rehearsal Visioning

7 So how do you go about being better than all the other applicants out there? Find out about the school that you are applying for….RESEARCH School websites OFSTED reports (http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/)http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/ Visit the school Ask for brochures/ prospectus Look at where it is and try to predict what it needs from you Try to gain an insight into the school, its aims and its issues and challenges. Illustration using our school.

8 What does the school stand for? Our Vision Statement “ St. Nicholas Church of England Primary School will continue to be a centre of excellence for lifelong learning and Christian understanding where all are able to learn, work hard and fulfil their full potential within the safe, secure, co- operative environment underpinned by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What does this tell you? Church School. We set ourselves targets. We have high standards. All are learners, work hard, fulfil their potential. We support people to take risks (safe, secure, co- operative). Christ is in everything that we do. WWJD. Explore the info available to you.

9 Background Information It all helps to compile a picture.  Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School  Within the Children’s Services Authority of Blackpool (Unitary Authority) and the Diocese of Blackburn  400 pupils on roll, 10% of which are pupils from the Traveller community  50 members of staff, with responsibility for teaching, support staff, welfare, administrative and site cleaning staff  School is 142 years old and includes new build  School is most southerly in Blackpool and takes children from all the wards in the south of the town

10 How much do you want the job? PREPARATION Headteachers are past masters at being able to tell who is keen to work in their school and who is just sending an application as one of a batch. What can you offer the school and what sort of person is the school going to get if they appoint you? Paint a picture.

11 Schools want…… Applicants who are: Know how to raise standards Not phased by hard work Knowledgeable but prepared to listen and develop Flexible and good team players Good communicators Resilient, imaginative and visionary

12 How does all of that dovetail with the school’s specific needs? If you meet the school’s needs you are more likely to be appointed. It is not chance! Weave together: Your skills and abilities, the perceived needs of the school (without telling the Head that he needs to improve writing for example!), and how all of this would be beneficial to the school. Draft and re-draft… You need to be preparing your letter of application, draft, re-draft and seek feedback. You need to be preparing for the sort of questions that you might get at interview.

13 A post is advertised…. Having done some research on the school you begin to tweak your letter of application. It needs to be good enough to get you an interview. Once the letter does the above it is up to you to sell yourself at interview.

14 Beginning your letter… Keep the letter formal but personable. We want to get to know you. Will you fit in with the team? Do you have a sense of humour? Begin your letter by stating the purpose of it… I write in support of my application for the post of…..

15 Developing a philosophy… What do you believe is important in an education? What are your views on… Quality first teaching Contribution of technology to learning Child centredness Personalised learning Differentiation Gifted and Talented Behaviour Management Self esteem and effect on learning Assessment for Learning Target setting A broad and balance curriculum National events and initiatives/ OFSTED Pupil Premium/ SEND – Meeting needs Research these areas and develop your philosophy.

16 What’s my philosophy? Visit: DfE website, NAHT website, Tipton Learning Trust, Blackpool St Nicholas website, Lancashire Grid for Learning, SWGfL Some good ideas on the web:

17 Do’s and don’ts…. Writing the letter Weave your beliefs about education (philosophy), with your experiences and how this will benefit the school. Keep your letter to 2 sides of A4. Find the line between selling yourself and being boastful, and at all times be honest. Don’t write something that you are unsure about as you may be asked to expand at interview. Avoid the “I’ve done this” and “I’ve done that” approach and if you do cite these experiences explain why they are relevant to this post. Group ideas together in a paragraph and avoid jumping backwards and forwards in your letter.

18 Starting and finishing… Conclude by welcoming the chance to tell them more… I look forward to the opportunity to develop these ideas more fully at interview…. Intention of the letter is to make the shortlisting panel feel that they want to find out more and don’t want to miss out on a good candidate.

19 At interview…. Rehearse the questions likely to be asked. Prepare yourself. If the school is in an area of high social challenge then you are likely to get some questions about meeting the needs of children from challenging areas. Don’t pretend to know things that you don’t. Dress professionally: dress-well-for-an-interview/http://www.jobhuntdoctor.com/10-tips-to- dress-well-for-an-interview/ Enquire into looking around the school, it will give you a distinct advantage at application and interview stage and will put you in the minds of the Head/ Governors. A sense of humour is always appreciated but stay away from joke telling!

20 Don’t put anyone or anything down. If you do it at interview you are likely to do it in post! Take your cue from the interview panel, read their body language. Sighs and watch checking suggests that you need to keep your answers under 30 minutes! Be prepared to ask the panel a question. If you do ask a question make it a good one and base it on the research you have done into the post and school. It’s better not to ask than to ask a question which let’s you down! Avoid answering Church school questions about your faith unless you have one. Saying I was confirmed will not win you any Brownie points.

21 Talk about current educational initiatives…. This shows that you have more than just a passing interest in education. AWOL’s, Pupil Premium, PE Premium, Inspection, Personalised Learning, Assessment for Learning, Development of phonic understanding and writing skills across the school.

22 Visioning You need to think beyond the interview without being presumptious to describe what you would do and how you believe you could contribute to the school’s development. After your NQT year you will be asked to co-ordinate an area within school. This responsibility will be about raising standards in that area not as it used to be, about looking after the pennies or tidying the art cupboard. How are you going to raise standards? How can you monitor the subject that you are responsible for when you are in class? How would you raise the profile of say PE within and outside school? What ideas have you got for the subject and how will your abilities and experiences benefit the school to achieve these aspirations? How would you use Twitter to engage with hard to reach families?

23 In conclusion…. Do yourself justice Want the post or don’t bother to apply simply because it is there and you need a job. Prepare thoroughly Don’t be down if you don’t get the interview of the post. That post wasn’t the right post for you.

24 Contact: St. Nicholas Church of England Primary School, School Road, Blackpool.FY4 5DS. Teaching is about creating dreams and opportunities. You will have the most important job there is; to make a difference and shape the lives of so many children and families. It’s not a job but a mission! Blackpool Schools Partnership


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