What to look for during a "walk around" with a view to pe that's applying for a vacancy.

(5 Posts)
CandOdad Fri 01-Apr-16 09:55:34

Just that really. I have been on a few now and except for one school the "theatre" of it all just seems to make it pointless.
Ushered into pre-planned classrooms where all children are perfect
Gushing expressions of how intent of delivering quality CPD for staff is paramount
Wanting to show that every day will be a breeze and that the SLT are all wonderful and helpful.
It all seems so artificial and manufactured, so what should I be looking for?

noblegiraffe Fri 01-Apr-16 10:10:17

Be wary of a school that doesn't let you talk to the kids. My school would have you shown around the school by students. Ask them where all the dodgy areas are, what the teachers are like, whether behaviour is usually good, whether there are lots of fights at lunchtime, how visible the head/SLT are etc.

When you go to the staffroom, is it empty because teachers are too busy? Do teachers all look stressed? If you can, ask them how stringent the observation regime is, whether they have to produce endless lesson plans, how much marking they take home etc.

CandOdad Fri 01-Apr-16 10:44:02

Apologies, just realised my iPad butchered my title. Obviously didn't check before saying I had finished 😉

Minispringroll Fri 01-Apr-16 17:10:43

I don't think I've ever been shown around a school with pre-planned classrooms or perfect children. I do tend to visit after school, though, since I work full time. So far, the best schools I have looked around have made it clear that there will be certain issues. (I used to go for those, which were graded 3 or 4, so there were obvious issues and nobody tried to gloss over them. My current one is graded "outstanding", but even there, the head made it clear what the potential difficulties might be. Catchment is quite tough.)

The ones I was happy to apply at where the ones where the head took the time to sit down and talk to me. At one school in SM, our initial chat took a good hour...that's before I had even handed my application in. Good schools make you feel valued and show that they appreciate that you've taken the time and effort to get to know them first. There were a few kids left in the playground and they ran up to the head and showed her the dance they'd made up. She knew their names! (Having at that point come from a school where the kids barely knew who the headteacher was, this was quite amazing to me.)

I'm primary, though. Secondary might be different.

SawdustInMyHair Fri 01-Apr-16 17:18:03

More or less the same as noblegirraffe - do staff look happy (hard to tell when everyone's busy!), how do other staff behave to the person showing you around.

If you get shown around by the kids (this might be more common in primary where I am), you can grill them on the stuff that's hard to ask about in the interview - "soooo, what happens if someone is being naughty in class?"

If you see a change between lessons, what is the behaviour like. What can you hear? Can you hear other classes being 'lively' even if the ones you're being shown are put-on. If you get to see the staffroom, does it look looked after/lived in? I had the brilliant experience of being too early for an interview last year, so was plopped in the staffroom with tea, and got to see what happened and chat with the TAs.

I think it's harder in secondary, though. Much more a 'corporate image' you get presented, even if the school's lovely, much harder to see the 'big picture'.

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