Looking for a new role? Head to Mumsnet jobs to find full and part time family friendly opportunities.
Is applying for jobs in a school fruitless?(33 Posts)
I've applied for 3 different jobs in local schools and haven't even gotten to the interview stage. Am I being terribly naive in thinking these jobs are actually open for applicants?
To give a bit of background I worked in a well known creative company for 10 years before taking time off with DC. I have PA experience and was accepted onto a teacher training programme so feel my manner with children would be suitable for a school. For each job I haven't even gotten to the interview stage.
DH works as a Manager in the city and hires several times a year so I'm confident there aren't any problems with my applications.
Just a note - each job was an office job, not applying for anything that require qualifications!
Someone gets the job so worth applying.
Are you looking for office or classroom based role. Does your application show your transferable skills and experience?
Why didn’t you complete your teacher training?
If you’ve started training to be a teacher but didn’t finish it that might put people off employing you to work in a school.
It’s possible that they think you won’t stay, given your previous experience. I’ve had this (not in schools) but I was applying for jobs that were a change from what I’d done before in terms of salary and skills and I had a hard time as employers just thought I’d leave as soon as something more along the lines of what I’d previously done came up.
Have you asked for any feedback? I know they don’t generally provide it if you’ve not been interviewed but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
I sympathise, it is very tough. I now work in school admin and I've also been a governor for 20 years at a different school with input into recruitment. First of all, there are loads of applicants for term time jobs, maybe 100. In my experience successful applicants nearly always have a foot in the door already, parent helper, governor, PTA and so on. Schools tend to be very cautious in appointments because money is so tight and they can't risk making a wrong decision because of the time and money involved. It's also important that someone fits well into the team and will muck in with anything. Current experience with children is also essential.
I would say also having worked in the city myself that the two worlds are about as far apart as you can get and your husband's view might not be the case in schools, so you could ask the schools that have rejected you for feedback on your application. Make sure your first paragraph stands out and that you instantly demonstrate that you love working with children. Also say what you can bring to wider school life. For example could you run a lunchtime club on something you're good at?
I was a teacher for 3 years, before that a TA for a year, and worked in an admin type role in youth work. I didn't get the first school office job I went for, although I did get an interview. A few years down the line looking again and I've got a job this time in a university, term time only and much better hourly rate than equivalent in schools which is pretty much min wage. So I would try local universities, colleges or council departments that work with schools if you are looking for term time only, as they probably get less applicants and generally pay better.
What TeaShirt said.
Working as a PA and/or "in a well known creative company" are a million miles away from the unique atmosphere and working conditions of a school office.
The schools will be likely to have well over 100 applicants for office jobs. What is is about yours that makes you think it ought to be you that is short listed ?
School admin often need qualifications & school experience - the person specs often have these as essential, if not desirable. If you aren’t meeting the spec you won’t get shortlisted for interviews.
It’s not the job it use to be, it’s very demanding and IT heavy. Adverts for most school hours jobs get good responses so usually only those that meet the spec will be considered.
Have you done some agency work to get the school experience ?
Clearly hundreds and thousands of people work in schools, so the jobs do get filled!
What experience do you have that meets the person spec? Our office staff are v well qualified and experienced in Sims etc
Your CV may be excellent for work similar to that you have done before.
But that does not mean right for the job as actuallymdescribes.
With scores of applicants, many of whom will have experience in schools, I am not surprised you are not making the short lists.
To enhance CV, you could try a different role in a school or with a youth organisation - do you volunteer?
I don't think getting a place on a teacher training programme is relevant (all it shows is suitably qualified, but not actually motivated to do, and recruitment numbers to these courses are high right now. Being accepted isn't a badge of acceptability).
Of course you couid go back and train as a teacher. Or work as a PA (temp, or use childcare in the school holidays)
The last office job my DCs primary school advertised had over 200 applications. It is frighteningly competitive.
Am I being terribly naive in thinking these jobs are actually open for applicants?
I don’t understand your thinking here really?
Do you think that because the lucky schools you’ve applied to work at aren’t tripping over themselves to offer you a job, they must be fake adverts?!
Just a note - each job was an office job, not applying for anything that require qualifications!
Office Jobs do require qualifications.... maybe your attitude to the job your applying for is where you are going wrong. You need experience.
Volunteer to get some school experience - read with the children, become a governor etc.
Do you visit the school before applying? This is really important, it’s usually only those who have taken time to visit the school who get to interview stage.
Don’t make the assumption your skills are a perfect fit, be honest about your gaps eg. Sims experience, school admissions, the arcane purchasing system they are likely to use etc. Honestly school office work is very different from a typical PA role!
Why are you so keen now to work in a school office?
As others have said, term time admin jobs in schools are sought after. There'll often be substantially more applications in for those jobs than the teaching posts.
Based off your post alone, I know it's a snapshot, I'd say you approach and attitude is wrong. You seem to emphasise that someone in the city likes your application, you worked in a creative company but actually neither of them are directly linked to school admin. The fact you've previously had a great career doesn't mean schools will be falling over themselves to hire you (we see the same attitude sometimes in teacher training where people think that because they've worked in a large company or in the city they somehow start ahead of everyone else).
Experience in school offices, social work admin, even probably health service admin would have more direct transferability in terms of comparable problems and contexts and skills.
Maybe try to find out more about the school environment
As others have said you need qualifications and experience. My sister works in a school office and previous to that a university. All the staff are v well qualified any having degrees and all having experience with the various software packages. I think your being a bit naive here with what's required as many gave 100s of applications.
Do you have any experience at all working with children? If you come across as someone who isn't suited to it then there's your reason.
School jobs are like hens teeth
You will be up against hundreds of applicants, many will have previous experience of the school admin.
Admin does have qualifications!
You also need to show you can deal with sick/ lost kids and stroppy parents. —and a phone that never stops ringing—
I got the first school office job I applied for. I had been volunteering in a different local school as an LSA one day a week for 2 years and also work part time in adult education and I have a degree. So... qualifications. It's a very demanding job with responsibilities and expectations that far outweigh the small salary.
Jobs in schools are very much in demand. You have no relevant qualifications or experience.
I work in a school office and got in with no experience. However I managed that by applying for a short 3 month contract which wasn't anywhere near as popular in terms of application numbers. The school then offered me a permanent job once they saw that I was good at my job.
Working in a school office does require qualifications.
Can you listen to parent queries without your face saying, for fuck's sake.
Can you manage the creativity of teacher to write a letter that make sense?
Can you chase the same people week after week to pay for school lunches without telling them to sort their bloody lives out?
Can you manage parents at events that think a 7pm start means they roll up at 7.45pm, with a fag on and swigging from a can - not a classy can?
Can you not raise to the bait of every parent emails to ask why the school doesn't do every language they can think of, teach diy, gardening, personal finance etc, etc etc?
Can you open yogurts for Reception children?
Can you balance multiple cups of tea and coffee on trays and remember the order, when you have been asked 14 questions between the office and the staff room?
Can you manage the PTFA when they want to hold a BBQ in the school hall?
Can you manage the parents, social services and the police when a teachers concerns are proved right?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.