Final Recaps: Notes from the Podcast


A part of the funnel.  We assume we get 30 applicants- narrowing down.  We are exigent and therefore the 30 are good canditates.  Eliminate 10: go for 3 and there are some with missing information.  Give the maximum possibility of fishing people out of the sea.

Interview Part One:

Same questions for everyone

Interview Part Two:

Questions and discussions that come out of individual applications

Normally it is an interview day.  Informal questions whilst doing the walk around perhaps and the part one questions in the formal interview.

The Questionnaires:

Not necessarily right answers.  The answers would give us the opportunity to ask questions in the interview.  There are reasonable answers that are not “correct”.  We have insisted that when they come to the interview they will take the job if they are offered it and that they have to do 2 years mentoring.  This is connected to paying the interview expenses.

Categories of questions:

Phase 1:

Chitchat; welcoming phase.  It is not easy to do chitchat.  It is relevant if someone is living int heir mother’s basement for example.  It also gives us the chance to relax the candidates.  Some people are nervous and they need to be relaxed. How was your trip?  Tell me a bit about yourself.  Open-ended questions are better.  It will tell you if they have anything interesting to say that they haven’t prepared. 

Phase 2:  

Can you tell us about your journey as a teacher?  They might be able to tell you the stuff that you want to know without you asking questions.  Leonard doesn’t want to hear a list of negative experiences.  Jason says he would find it very difficult to take someone who raises standards seriously.

When and why decide to go into teacher training?

There are about 20% of teachers right now who do not last beyond a couple of years.  We are bound to find people who do not have conventional teaching careers.  It is reasonable for people to have some dislike of the system and desire to get out of the career in the mainstream.

Can you explain to us the job you think you are applying for?  

L: If candidates look at all the information on the website and can’t describe the general flavour and quality of the school’s environment from that information then they may be suspect.  It doesn’t have to be right on, but they should be able to tell the difference between this school and others in general terms.

Phase 3:  The Leadership Role

We haven’t been specific enough about the different questions we would ask the two different candidates.  Leonard does not want to hire leaders because our leadership will be different.  They have to know that as time moves on they will be in charge of stuff and they will have to be prepared to up their game in the foreseeable future.  

Leadership experience is good but we don’t necessarily want someone who has been a head of year or faculty.

Science teacher job is tough:

 In online portals you have to choose the category.  This is difficult because what we do does not fit into those categories, especially with regard to the ages.  The science teacher will have to interview us to some extent because the job is full of questions.  We are expecting someone to start at KS2 and move on to KS3 and 4 and become a leader.  We want a qualified science teacher who is prepared to teach other things aside from science in the first two years.  It can be attractive to the right person.

We want all teachers to get some experience in the Clubhouse.  We want the school to grow out of the junior school.  The science teacher will be valuable as the person to grow and direct this growth at upper levels, creating a different way of working to what happens in the mainstream at those upper levels.

Leonard: Worried about hiring someone for that job without firm direction. They must really grasp our growth narrative and how they are expected to fit into it.

Jason: Neill says that he would prefer teachers who don’t know about a subject.  If you’ve got a reasonable educational background you should be able to teach up to GCSE without being a subject specialist. Leonard is not so sure about that.

We want someone who can say, “I can see the potential of that to do something different.”

Problem questions:

Posing problems: there may not be a right answer but the answer will be revealing.  What do you do if someone is misbehaving or swearing?  Progressive parents might have responses that are a little too nice for what we are creating.


Are you religious?  Jason: Really hope they say no.

Do you accept the 2 years mentoring?

Are your friends and family behind you?  This is an important question.  Do you know what you are getting into?  It is possible to get a lot of flak from friends and family for giving up a good salary etc.

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