Seeking a new leadership & management role

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1 Seeking a new leadership & management role This resource highlights examples of where to look for a new role and also the kinds of things you need to think about as you decide to hunt for alternative employment. Whether seeking a school or college that better reflects your values and aspirations or perhaps prompted by the threat of redundancy it pays to consider your next move carefully and to cast your search as wide as possible. For those looking for work in the schools sector consider: Hays Hays are recruitment experts in all levels of schools leadership T: E For those looking for work in the Further Education sector consider: Davidson & Partners T: / (Colin Howarth)

2 E: Or FE Associates FE Associates offers services across all aspects of the education and training sector including interim management at all levels and executive recruitment T: E: A practical guide to seeking a new role When considering a change of job or dealing with having the need for a change thrust upon you it is important at the outset to engage in an open minded review of your situation. This is a time to look afresh at your skills and experience. Are you ready to move up the succession ladder? Do you want to advance higher into leadership responsibility? Might your talents transfer successfully to another setting altogether? Preparation 1. If you ve been heavily focused within your school or college this is a time to scan the horizon and understand the changed landscape within education. Note the changes to the way that education organisations run and the increasingly diverse forms they take e.g. UTCs, free schools, multi-chain academies, soft federations etc. Some of these options might fit your leadership & management style more than others. 2. Determine what skills or experience gaps you may have for roles that attract you. Explore how you might fill these, through shadowing or coaching perhaps. This is the stage where you must develop a positive mind-set conducive with the confidence required to fulfil the role(s) you are seeking it is time to root out any selfdoubt. You may need to be pro-active in asking to be seconded or given some responsibility for areas in which you have had little responsibility but may be required to have such experience in order to take on a more senior position.

3 3. If you haven t had much experience of working with governors and the roles you aspire to would include this then volunteer to be a governor at a local school or voluntary organisation. For middle managers this can be a useful way of gaining a thorough knowledge of governance while also benefitting the wider community. 4. It is fine to ask others for feedback on whether they think you are ready to take a step up to middle management but those doubts need to have been overcome if you are considering a leadership role. If you are wondering if you are ready you probably aren t. If you have confidence that you can successfully fulfil a leadership role then this is likely to come across at interview. Applications 1. Be selective. Have a vision for what you want to do and make sure that the vision of the school or college is at least similar. Having researched the role, at least looked at the organisations website, if possible speak to an informed source (e.g calling the organisation) before completing an application. Is there a good match between what they need and what you can offer? - If not choose another vacancy. In deciding what to apply for the fundamental question to you need to ask yourself is 'Have I got what they need?' If so, show this match clearly: develop a strong opening and final paragraph, show immediate links between how your experience meets their future challenges to grab interest. 2. Use the name of the school or college throughout the application and align your experience to their criteria / future needs. Do not simply cut and paste a generic statement, they are easy to spot and rarely make the shortlist. 3. Provide evidence for any claims, 'before and after' data can be enticing evidence. Most importantly use I not we ; this is a time to blatantly sell yourself. 4. A sensible use of headings, bullet points, some white space between paragraphs etc. can make the visual impact that encourages the 'tired panellist' to concentrate on your statement - and remember it. Therefore when reviewing your application assess for style as well as content.

4 5. Clearly name statements and letters on every page. Some selectors split these off and read them first, so don't leave them in any doubt as to who you are (use the header if necessary). 6. Have your completed application sense checked by a trusted source. There are countless examples of talented leaders who have unfortunately fallen at the first hurdle due to mistakes in their application. So check for spelling or grammar mistakes, or using the wrong name of the school or college! (which happens a lot) 7. Demonstrate enthusiasm. Show why you would be a good fit for that particular school or college. Interviews & Assessments 1. Preparation is crucial. Get into the mind-set of someone already doing the job; what would they need to know to do the job successfully? Research this well (including the SEF / SAR) and be prepared to answer in a way that is likely to reassure the panel. Knowing the local area backwards to show that you re in touch can often help. Certainly for senior positions do consider visiting the school or college beforehand and talk to staff and students. Even if your request to visit is declined you will be established as a serious applicant. 2. Don t dress too casually, look the part. It should go without saying but mistakes are still being made in this area even for senior leadership positions. 3. If you happen to be an internal candidate treat the situation as if you were an external applicant. Despite the fact you may be on very familiar terms with the Head or Principal use their formal surname when referring to them at interview, particularly if governors are present. And do not make assumptions that the panel know what you have done. 4. It is likely that everyone selected for interview could do the job you re all going for. You need to consider what would differentiate you in the mind of the panel. If you were on the panel what would you be looking for? 5. Ensure that you use the C-A-R technique to structure your answers. Briefly outline the Context to the issue the question triggers, elaborate on what Action you took to remedy the issue and again

5 briefly the Results that this had. The panel is looking for evidence of the impact that you personally have delivered. Into each answer it is worth weaving in the thinking behind any project or task action you took, indicate how you delegated aspects of the work, show how you held others to account. 6. Attempt to anticipate the questions you are likely to be asked based on the person specification and prepare a couple of CAR based answers for each one. 7. Demonstrating your ability to show leadership by thinking strategically is crucial as you need to inspire confidence in your ability to undertake a senior role, if this is what you are seeking. Often answers contain too much operational or managerial detail and insufficient on vision, goals, outcomes and impact. 8. Be prepared for an interview with a panel of students as part of the assessment design. Although not a formal part of the selection decision their views can prove very influential for a selection panel. Show that you are able to walk in their shoes by an understanding of their key issues and enthuse them with your belief in the school / college and what you would do to improve their education. However maintain a dignified boundary and avoid becoming overly familiar with them or, at the other extreme, coming across as patronizing. 9. Assume that you are being assessed from the moment you enter the building until the second you leave. 10. Be prepared for a myriad of assessment hurdles, such as desk top exercises, psychometric testing, presentation, meeting learners. Demonstrate where possible that you are learner centred. 11. If you ve prepared sufficiently beforehand then aim to be on duty, alert but also relaxed to a degree during the interview or assessment. This will both help demonstrate warmth and enable your mind to field questions much more effectively than if you are overly tense. Remember that it is also a competition in the sense that it is a game. If you enjoy the game you are more likely to appreciate and benefit from the result of the game! Good Luck

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