10 Top Tips When Applying for a Headship

*This blog has been updated for 2020*

How are your Headteacher job applications going? It is coming up to that time of year when there are a number of Headteacher opportunities at a range of schools in Kent. To help strengthen your chances of securing a position, here are 10 top tips to support you with the Headteacher application process:

1) Visit the school - A school visit is crucial. After reading up about the vacancy, contact the school and arrange a visit. This is a must as you will learn a lot about the school. You will either be encouraged to apply or it may make you realise that the school isn’t right for you. If you do choose to apply then reflect on your school visit in your Reason for Application or where relevant if you are using a different application form to the Kent-Teach Online Form.

2) Understand the school’s vision – It is important to recognise the school’s vision and match your vision and aspirations with those of the school. If you find this difficult then perhaps the school isn’t the right one for you. In some cases, some schools request a new vision; not all governing bodies are confident in articulating their own vision, however, they will know an inspiring one if they hear it. 

3) Research the school – So you have visited the school but more research may be necessary. Visit the school’s website; learn about the school’s procedures and its recent achievements, including OFSTED. Don’t be afraid to call the school contact and talk to them more about the school and the opportunity. This will show you are interested and your passion will shine through. They will more likely remember you too if you have visited and followed up with questions. 

4) Double check your application – It may seem obvious but you would be surprised with the number of simple grammatical errors schools receive from candidate applications and this doesn’t leave a good impression. Ensure you check your application and ask someone else to check it for you. 

5) Reflect and give examples - Refer to your current leadership experience and give examples in your application to support any statements you make regarding your skills and experience.

6) Follow the Person Specification - Schools will use this to grade applications so ensure you provide relevant information they are asking for and include the impact you have made for each point listed so you cover everything. 

7) Dress appropriately – Smartly of course. Like it or not, your appearance will be judged as an expression of who you are and your approach to your work. 

8) Ensure you have a strong handshake – Handshakes allow you to establish your friendliness and shows confidence (if carried out well). A good handshake should be firm but not crushing so have a practice before your interview.

9) Always ask and listen to feedback if you are unsuccessful – Feedback is key to help strengthen the next application you make so find out why you didn’t get the job or why you didn’t get invited to interview. If you are not being invited to interview then perhaps your application needs reviewing. Applying for jobs can feel like a bit of a minefield, follow our Six Golden Rules to take the stress out of your job applications. 

10) Keep trying (if at first you don’t succeed) – Don’t feel too disheartened if you are unsuccessful as it may have been extremely close between you and the successful candidate. It may just take more interviews to secure your dream role; patience and perseverance is a virtue. 

Make sure you're in the best possible position and take a look at some top tips on What to Expect When Interviewing for a Headship

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