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Dates 05 November 2013 – 08 November 2013
Time spent reading 20 minutes
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the local authority has the right to an advisory place on your selection panel. You must also notify the local authority of the shortlisted candidates selected for interview.

there remains a legal requirement for one member of the panel to have undertaken training on safer recruitment (DfE, 2012b). You can read about this at pupilsupport/pastoralcare/a0010797/safer-recruitment-training-for-school-staff and access the training itself via the Department for Education e-learning portal at index.php.

Considering a federation is a particularly important option for a small school that on its own may not be able to attract a high-calibre candidate, whereas a federation of schools might.

You may also want to consider the model of headship that you offer within the school (eg co-headship, executive headship, etc).

The start of the preparation stage comes when the governing body decides to recruit. This decision will need to follow a full meeting of the governing body at which the governors have had the opportunity to talk about the needs of the school and its vision for the future. The governing body must then select a panel of at least three governors to conduct the process and it is this panel that then interviews appropriate applicants and recommends one of the people interviewed to the full governing body for final approval.

It is therefore important that as you set your dates and timescales for the recruitment process, you schedule a full governing body meeting for the night of the interviews (or the following day).

The general advice is to aim for a panel of between three and eight people, with five being the optimum number.

Your HR support should be the guardian of the whole recruitment process to ensure that it is professionally run.

do ask around local schools that have recruited recently.

The definition stage involves the process of clarifying the needs of the school, the job to be done and the person needed to do it. Getting this right is so important because it drives the subsequent parts of the whole recruitment process, from drafting your advert text through to shaping the marking criteria you use at interview. The key tasks in this step are writing the job description and agreeing the person specification.

On 8 February 2012, NPQH became optional, in line with ministers wanting to give schools greater freedom. This means first-time headteachers no longer have to hold the qualification in order to take up a headship post.

many governing bodies continue to make NPQH an essential part of the person specification

Governors make an important decision on setting the pay that the post commands and therefore should seek advice on this.

school performance doesn’t affect school desirability

Those who succeed in this market often turn the traditional recruitment proposition on its head. Instead of seeing recruitment as a process of buying talent from the available pool, they approach it as a process of selling their headship opportunity to those candidates they would like to apply

Candidates most wanted to get an understanding of the school’s own evaluation of its challenges, together with a sense of current plans for improvement. They also wanted a summary of key f inancial issues. However, less than 30 per cent of packs provided this type of information, leaving some candidates in the dark about the job they were applying for and therefore less likely to follow up their initial interest in the school

You should have a well-planned marking scheme that allows you to justify your differentiation between candidates in the event of an appeal

You shouldn’t take through those that don’t make the grade, including internal candidates, as this can lead to sapping applicants’ confidence as they struggle in the process proper

There are numerous activities that you could use to gather evidence about whether a candidate meets the criteria for the post. Debate rages about which are most effective and up to date. Your HR and educational professional(s) should be able to advise you of the options and which might be most appropriate for your school’s post.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Good list of suggestions following this.

“So, X, what kind of sandwiches can you bring to the picnic?” – real example

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran


references for candidates should be taken up before the interview process

The full governing body will need to approve the decision of the selection panel of governors

do not appoint if you have not seen the right person

Unsuccessful candidates should be treated with respect. You should offer feedback, but be aware that anything you say could be used in an appeal

The chair of governors is usually the person who calls the chosen candidate to make a verbal offer

Only contact unsuccessful candidates once the verbal offer has been accepted by the preferred candidate. It is good practice for governors to ask their HR or educational expert to give feedback to all unsuccessful candidates in case anyone chooses to appeal the decision. Feedback should only be given verbally and on the basis of evidence of performance against the person specification

agree with the successful applicant when you will inform staff and parents of your decision

you should consider taking the time to evaluate the process