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Private or state

(15 Posts)
carpediem28 Tue 02-Jul-13 21:40:30

Hi there,

Yes, the old debate but with a twist. I am a teacher who has taught in the state sector and more recently in private schools abroad. Whilst there I completed a degree in Headship with a UK university. However I haven't taught for five years so really am a long way from reaching my goal of headship. I know it may even prove tricky to be accepted back into the state sector.

We are now back in the UK and I can't wait to get back to school. But I'm confused now as to whether to stay in private or go back into state. I have visited a selection of schools to try and gather my thoughts but still feel unsure. I have hit the big 40 and so I wonder whether I would be able to make more of an impact quite quickly in the state sector. I am sure it depends but wonder if one path would be more fruitful.

I just wondered if anyone has been in the same kind of situation. Perhaps people who have made the transition and have experiences to share. Or perhaps there are head teachers who may have some words of wisdom. I tend to believe it would be harder to reach management in the private school as perhaps these positions tend to be fulfilled by those with private backgrounds. Perhaps that it is naive. I would be wishing to try and work towards headship of an infant school or pre-prep.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Schmedz Tue 02-Jul-13 21:46:35

If you go back to private now you will find it far more difficult to get back into the state sector in future. I seriously doubt that you will be excluded from private school headship just because the majority of your experience is in state sector, especially coming from international schools.

Have you contacted your LEA to see if they can offer any advice...having been out of the UK system there are no doubt a billion ridiculous regulations about current training and qualifications to teach in the state system.

Also it's a pretty bad time to be looking for work given that it is nearly the end of the academic year...perhaps you could do some supply to get back into the swing of things no matter how soul destroying this can be

Good luck!

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 02-Jul-13 23:20:47

At our selective secondary most of the teachers are Oxbridge alumni.

A lot of people pay for private because of a implied promise that the school will get their DCs into Oxbridge. If the teacher couldn't get himself/herself into Oxbridge ..... goes the thinking.

If you aren't Oxbridge alumni then you might find it difficult getting a job at a leading indie.

Mendi Wed 03-Jul-13 01:39:45

I can't see how the last post can be right. DD is about to start at a leading independent and in the stuff they've sent out is a list of all the teachers and where their degrees are from.

Only 2 out of about 40 are Oxbridge, all the rest are other RG.

This school is in the top 10 in league tables nationally.

HabbaDabbaDoo Wed 03-Jul-13 06:30:12

You obviously missed the part when I referred to 'our selective' and said 'might' find it difficult.

Inclusionist Wed 03-Jul-13 06:40:24

It really isn't the case that not having an Oxbridge degree will be a barrier to getting a job in an Independent school, especially a pre-prep!

It's horses for courses, but if you want to demonstrate personal impact in a job (which would support a future Headship application) you might be best to apply for an SLT post in a state school that has recently received a notice to improve or gone into special measures. Not for the faint hearted but amazing professional development.

mummytime Wed 03-Jul-13 07:39:32

Haba your "selective" school sounds more like a school for snobs, the highly selective (top of the Times list) school around here have a small minority of Oxbridge graduates. To be honest from my Oxford reunions, only being a teacher is seen as a bit of an underachievement regardless of which school.
I'd be more concerned about how many candidates they had got into Oxbridge.

OP - you need to think about the different pressures of the sectors. Private normally wants you involved in a lot of extra curriculas, state can have behaviour problems and does suffer from Government interference.
I have known people move between both sectors quite a lot, you just need to be prepared for the obvious questions.

Mendi Wed 03-Jul-13 07:46:36

In the same way that if you're not Usain Bolt you might find it hard to run to the corner shop?

I went to a leading independent school as well and there weren't many Oxbridge teachers there either. None of my friends from Cambridge are teachers!

happygardening Wed 03-Jul-13 07:54:35

We have a friend who's a head of a well known senior boarding school, my DH has followed the rise of an old school friend to another head post again big name senior boarding school, and I know of another recently appointed head who came from a a school a friend sends her DS too finally a girl I work with her husband is applying for prep school head posts.
The three at the senior schools have all followed identical routes they haven't come from no where most rise up through the ranks of independent schools usually doing stints as house masters etc, then start off by getting a heads job at a unknown independent usually non selective senior schools and they work hard to improve the results etc etc they then move to the next level up more selective but with room for improvement and improve that, two of the three are heads are now in very big names independents and one is tipped for the next head of Eton (its a small world and gossip travels fast). It would also appear that many other don't want heads jobs they want deputy head posts this is a much more hands on job they seems more responsible for the day to day management of a school whist the head has a vision but it very much less involved.
The girl I work with whose husband applying for prep head is struggling many preps are struggling to fill their vacancies especially boarding preps and are looking for a head with experience of turning round another prep and improving the number of pupils.
Obviously my experience is only anecdotal and I know nothing about how heads are recruited in the state sector but thought you might be interested.

musicalfamily Wed 03-Jul-13 08:19:02

I don't know much either, but the head of one of our local highly rated selective preps (up to 13+) went to the same non RG group university that I did but came up the ranks exactly like happy describes above. Only one experience of one person, but still useful in the context of all the other comments!!

happygardening Wed 03-Jul-13 08:25:44

Meant to add not all went to Oxbridge.

HabbaDabbaDoo Wed 03-Jul-13 08:40:29

Mendi - I was talking about secondary. Your Bolt corner shop analogy would have been spot on if I was talking about pre prep. Or PhDs and secondary.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Wed 03-Jul-13 08:45:34

Agree with the poster who said do supply to get into all types of school, to get a feel for where you best fit, and don't forget it is not just 'state/independent - there are academies and free schools now so a wider diversity of school types.
Innovative independent schools don't necessarily appoint people who have been house-masters/deputy heads etc - St Paul's School (#1 boys' school in latest league table) recently appointed a Head who had not even been a teacher, and he has been spectacularly successful (as validated by the school inspection results.) In state schools you probably don't get that type of bold initiative in appointing 'outside the tick-box'.

happygardening Wed 03-Jul-13 09:08:38

St Pauls has always appointed unusual heads they generally alternate between heads of other successful school who make big changes like the last incumbent and then a less conventional choice. MrsSalvo the current High Master at SPS is new it is the last one who made this very successful high achieving school "spectacularly successful". Many use this post as stepping some onto some other great and the good post.

mummytime Wed 03-Jul-13 09:41:01

I do know of a friend's wife who is going from a "sink" state school to be a Deputy Head of quite a top Private school.

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