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Recruitment - helping your school stand out

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Make your job advert compelling

Your job advert is usually the first encounter applicants will have with your school, so it needs to be informative, engaging and a good reflection of what you're about. In the advert (as much as the format allows), always include:

  • The basic information about the job
  • A high-quality picture of your school looking its best, and logo
  • Your school's ethos, culture and values


Highlight your school's unique features

Make a list of 10 selling points about your school and craft your advert around these. These may be obvious, but also consider your location, demographic and what this means, links with other schools/organisations/the community, and provision for pupils with different needs.

Look at publicly available data and compare your school to the nearest, similar schools. Look at:

  • Exam results
  • Pupil absence rates
  • Staff retention

Don't make direct comparisons with other schools, simply describe your school and talk about having "the best X in the area".

Your selling points might also not be your ‘best’ features. Be honest – if your school is underperforming, explain upfront that you're on a school improvement journey. You’ll only get applicants who are ready for the challenge, which will benefit you in the long run.

Counter-intuitively, perhaps, don't focus on your 'outstanding' Ofsted rating if you have one. This won't tell applicants what it’s like to work in your school, or appeal to their desire to make a difference to children’s lives, or show how they're going to be supported to develop their career.

Advertise in the right places

There are a lot of places you could advertise depending on your budget and who you’re trying to reach.

  • Your own website

Consider who your advert is aimed at

You'll reach different types of people depending on where you advertise. The general (un-scientific) picture is:

  • Younger teachers tend to use recruitment websites, social media and local authority websites, so go online if you're looking for a less experienced teacher and you have a smaller budget.
  • Teachers in the 34-50 age bracket are likely to use more traditional methods like education recruitment sites, or to be signed up with recruitment agencies.
  • Experienced teachers over 50 are not usually looking to move job, so are often headhunted or find vacancies through established peer networks and referrals.

Update your school website and use social media

Candidates will research your school to find out as much information as they can before deciding to apply. Help them do so by updating your school website, taking the chance to put across the best things about your school.

Top tips for your website are:

  • Make sure it works properly and is engaging and easy to use (including on phones and tablets)  
  • Fill it with attractive photos of your school and surrounding area
  • Set up a permanent 'working here' page on your website (like other employers do), selling your school as an employer and place to work.

Social media is very popular with teachers, but schools don't yet tend to use it much for recruitment. However, it can help you because:

  • There are many groups and forums where teachers talk and share ideas – you can post vacancies in front of large, tailored audiences
  • Candidates can get a day-by-day sense of school life through a well-maintained Facebook page or Twitter account – use it to highlight your school's best bits
  • It is free to use and can save you money

Members of The Key for School Leaders can read this article and hundreds of other resources on the latest issues in education at

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