The Recruitment Drive

As any school leader will tell you, we are currently entering into a fairly frenetic period in the academic year where teachers begin to consider making career moves for Easter and September. Between now and May headteachers and school leaders up and down the country will be looking at their staffing and wondering who will be staying, who will be going and how can they attract the best teachers to their schools.

Within my own school we currently have three teachers who are due to have babies and maternity leave is beckoning (they are three talented individuals who help drive a lot of change in school), we need a new teacher as part of the expansion project we are in, and we have two full time vacancies to fill for September. As a result of this we thought we’d get our adverts in nice and early in February to beat the rush of advertised vacancies and therefore have the best possible chance of recruiting high calibre candidates. It turns out though, that many other schools have the same idea and this year, more than ever, there are an abundance of jobs out there. It seems to me that with the current stresses and strains on the profession, greater numbers are leaving teaching and less are coming on board. In short we have a problem. But, just when I was starting to have the odd negative thought about how we were going to make our school stand out from the crowd in terms of the recruitment drive, a number of things began to happen that filled with me with optimism. We started to have some really high calibre people look around and it wasn’t by chance.

CC Peter McCoubrie

CC Peter McCoubrie

Candidates who viewed the school came from a number of areas – some had seen our OFSTED report from last year (which was really positive so this helped) and some knew of the school’s reputation in the area – both of these facts were pleasing. However, what pleased me more was that we had candidates apply for the position as a result of networking the school had done – we had made links with schools in the Midlands and nationwide and this had enabled the school to be seen as a positive, forward thinking place to work which encouraged a number of candidates to apply. We also work hard to spot and nurture talented teachers in a variety of settings and, through keeping touch with these up-and-coming individuals, and offering them guidance and career advice, we ensured that when jobs came up they were keen to apply. This aspect I find the most pleasing because, as a headteacher, I feel a moral responsibility to develop, nurture and inspire (hopefully, although I can’t promise to get it right all of the time!!!!!) the next generation of teacher and leader coming through as many others did for me. There were times in my career when I’d phone up an old HT or a HT that inspired me to ask for career advice and my mantra as a headteacher is to repeat this kindness and trust that I was shown. The by-product of doing this has turned out to be that these people look for opportunities and want to work in the school.

In an ever competitive job market where schools struggle to recruit now more so than ever, the main way forward has to be to make links with talented people at the onset of their careers and that is where Schools Direct, links with universities, SCITTs, networking and other forums really come into their own. I also think that the benefits of Multi Academy Trusts, federations and established networks are becoming more and more evident because they enable the net to spread wider to harness talent and they also allow schools to retain talented staff because the secondment and developmental opportunities for a range of leaders are huge and varied.

The bottom line for me on recruitment is that if you want talented, passionate and vibrant candidates to apply then you have to put in the groundwork and make sure you do everything you can to attract these high calibre individuals after all – you only get out what you put in. The secret to a successful recruitment drive is the development of people and the investment of time in nurturing trust and inspiration.


The coming months

Thank you to everyone who has read the blog so far and given me feedback. It has been really positive. Over the next few months the aim is to release a new blog post every Thursday and Sunday. Initially they will focus on gaining headship and the challenges that lie ahead. Other topics that will be included will be:

  • Further information and documentation on securing a good outcome from OFSTED.
  • How to distribute leadership out amongst the SLT to achieve high level outcomes – this will include free documentation.
  • A write up by @elementeduc on the new maths curriculum.
  • Introducing consistent systems and structures into school.
  • Independent learning – the power of meta cognition and ‘Layered Learning’.

If you would like any other topics to be covered then please email me at:


Picking the right school for headship

Choosing the Right School

When applying for headships, candidates usually come in to one of two categories: those that are motivated to be a headteacher and want to climb the career ladder and those who want to increase their income. Both are valid reasons for going for that first post and when deciding which school to apply for consider the following factors below.


All of the above factors should form part of your decision making process because changing one of these variables within a position can make a huge difference. A good example of this is how long the previous HT has been in post; if they have been there for a long time e.g. +10 years then it will probably mean that changing the mindset of the school will take longer to happen than following on from someone who has been there three years because they may have begun to initiate change. Both have their pluses and minuses but following on from a long established HT can provide a stern test in the first year. Only you can know which factors are more important than others but the key advice is to make sure you choose the right school that you will feel comfortable working at.