Recruiting a headteacher is always a difficult job, as who you choose to add to your school leadership team will define your success as a school or Trust. Recruitment for schools for any position is a highly administrative process and needs to follow the legislation and guidance in terms of Safer Recruitment and Keeping Children Safe in Education.
The notice periods for headteachers in UK schools work in a similar pattern to classroom teacher resignation dates but allow for a slightly longer recruitment process than for a teaching post. This is due to the time it takes to recruit school leadership, so there is an expectation that headteachers provide a longer notice period. It also makes sure that your headteacher has a smooth departure, safeguarding effective leadership, as it is giving schools plenty of time to arrange a successful recruitment campaign and perform a successful handover.
Headteachers are therefore required to provide notice in line with the below:
• to leave at Christmas (31st December), give notice by 30th September
• to leave at Easter, (contractually it’s the 30th of April) give notice no later than 31st January
• to leave at the end of the school year (31st August), give notice no later than 30th April
As we are approaching one of the notification deadlines, you may find yourself looking to recruit a new headteacher.
We have put together some top tips to think about when you are recruiting a headteacher:
- Before you begin your recruitment, review your policies relating to this and ensure they are up-to-date and that the selection panel are familiar with the procedures in place.
- A headteacher vacancy is a good time to review your current structure and team’s abilities. Is there anyone you may be suitable internally for the position? Do you need to restructure the leadership team before recruiting for this vacancy?
- If you are a Trust, are you recruiting for a headteacher or assigning an executive headteacher? Could you select an existing teacher in your team to help with the induction of the new post?
- When you construct the application pack, make sure you are aligning this with the values and vision of the school or Trust. Be clear about what experience is essential and desired.
- Think about how the new headteacher will be supported and how performance will be managed in the role and communicate this.
- If you are a Maintained school, you must notify your local authority (LA) of the vacancy in writing. This is dictated in regulations 15 and 27 of the school staffing regulations.
- You must consider each applicant equally and be consistent with your assessments and scoring.
- Think about what assessments are required and what questions you will ask at interview. You may benefit from reading our 20 Useful Headteacher Interview Questions.
- Ensure that at least one panel member has undergone Safer Recruitment training. We are offering online safer recruitment training and you can read more about this here.
- Remember, you also need a School Improvement Partner present and involved the process.
- In a secure manner, record panel discussions and decisions, shortlisting decisions and interview notes. They may be needed in future if anyone appeals, but also remember to only keep them for the necessary period, in line with your retention policy for data protection.
As mentioned, recruiting a headteacher is a lengthy administration process and if this is something you need help with, then as a group, Fusion Education People Solutions can help.
Our education HR experts, FusionHR, are Safer Recruitment accredited and can help ensure that the process, associated paperwork (Adverts, recruitment Packs, Job Descriptions, Person Specifications etc) are all in line with safer recruitment legislation. They would design a comprehensive recruitment campaign, based on the school brand guidelines (i.e. colour scheme’s/logos) including assisting with campaign management, interview questions and tasks, advising on the appointment of the selection panel, producing job descriptions and person specifications, with templates. It’s important to understand the needs of the school and link these back to the four domains whilst aligning the recruitment process to the school’s vision and strategy. If you need help with Headteacher Recruitment, please get in touch.
We also have a webinar coming up on 15th December 2021, Headteacher Recruitment – How to get the best candidate. Click here to book your free place.
Of course, our software FACE-Ed can also assist extensively with recruiting a headteacher. The entire process can be managed online from building the vacancy to shortlisting, inviting to interview and carrying out all the necessary vetting requirements. FACE-Ed can help your school or Trust appear as an employer of choice with a professional vacancy platform as well as reducing administration extensively. To take a look at our software, simply request a demo at a time suitable to you.