A Quick Guide to Completing a School Leadership Application & Personal Statement

Writing a School Leadership Application that will get you an Interview

Completing a school leadership personal statement and application form can be a daunting task. With time invested in preparation and attention to detail, you can increase your chances of being selected for the role. I recommend signing up to the Key for School Leaders for insights into leadership responsibilities. Investing time in purposefully clarifying why you want to apply for a school leadership position will not be wasted. If you are stuck for ideas on your achievements read through the DfE Headteachers standards and try and come up with an example of how you meet each one.

Peoples arms on a desk looking at some paper. Representing a school leadership application form.

5 top tips for completing Headteacher application forms & Personal Statements:

  1. Follow the instructions carefully: Make sure to read the instructions and requirements for the application thoroughly and follow them closely. This includes following any formatting or word count guidelines.
  2. Use concrete examples: When answering questions or writing your statement, use specific examples to illustrate your points. This helps the shortlisting team better understand your skills and experiences and how they relate to the role. Were possible link the points in your personal statement with the person specification – in order.
  3. Proofread and edit: Make sure to proofread your application for spelling and grammar errors. Ask a friend or colleague review your application as well.
  4. Tailor your application to the role: Customise your application to the specific school and leadership role you are applying for. Research the school and consider how your skills and experiences align with their needs and goals. Quote their values.
  5. Be honest and authentic: Be genuine in your responses and don’t exaggerate or fabricate experiences. It is better to focus on a key accomplishments in depth rather than trying to cover too much ground.

Secret Tip 1: It will be the school governors/academy trustees leading on this process. Even a deputy headteacher position will have governor involvement.

Secret Tip 2: If you can find the school development plan on the website include any of your strengths or previous projects that could support this.

For more information on school leadership recruitment take a look at our post on Headteacher and SLT interview questions. We have also written about how to approach the challenge of a student panel interview.

Example Personal Statements.

Brevity and clarity are key here. Hit those person specification points within the restrictions set. Some jobs ask for 1 page of A4 for example. I suggest a maximum of 4 sides carefully spaced and formatted to ease reading. The personal statement examples below are to prompt your ideas only. The more senior the position the more detail will need adding. For each paragraph I recommend adding at least 1 example from your own experience.

Leadership Personal Statement Example 1:

As an experienced educator with a passion for inclusion, I am excited to apply for the position of Special School Headteacher. I have dedicated my career to supporting students with autism and other special educational needs, and I am committed to creating a safe and nurturing environment where all students can thrive.

Throughout my career, I have developed a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by students with autism, including sensory sensitivities, communication difficulties, and struggles with emotional regulation. I believe that creating a safe and supportive environment is essential for helping students to succeed, and I have worked hard to develop strategies and programs that support their specific needs.

I am committed to safeguarding and have a thorough understanding of “Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022“. My mission has been to build a culture of vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard students from harm, abuse, and exploitation. I am committed to ensuring that all staff members are trained and equipped with the knowledge and skills to safeguard and protect our students.

I am particularly proud of my inclusive ethos, which emphasises the importance of creating an environment where all students feel valued, respected, and supported. It is essential to believe that inclusion is not just about meeting the needs of students with special educational needs, but about creating a school culture that celebrates diversity and promotes equity for all.

In my previous roles, I have developed strong budget management skills and strategic level management of large staff teams. I am confident in my ability to lead and manage a team of educators, creating a positive and supportive work environment that encourages professional growth and development.

While I have achieved many successes in my career, I recognise that there is always room for growth and improvement. That is why I value the opportunity to work with a coach to help me identify areas for development and improve my leadership skills. I believe that coaching can help me to become a more effective leader, better equipped to meet the needs of my students and staff.

Overall, I am excited about the opportunity to join your team and to continue making a positive impact in the lives of students with special educational needs. I am confident that my experience, skills, and commitment to inclusion and safeguarding make me an excellent fit for the position of Special School Headteacher. Thank you for considering my application.

Leadership Personal Statement Example 2:

As an Assistant Headteacher with 14 years of experience as a special school teacher, I am motivated to take on a leadership role in a school that aligns with my values of inclusivity and continual improvement. My commitment to teaching excellence is evidenced by positive feedback and a broad range of teaching experience with a hands-on and empathetic approach to creating a learning environment.

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Throughout my career, I have been involved with continuing professional development (CPD) initiatives and have placed significant emphasis on encouraging staff to participate. I have also monitored pupil achievement and have created assessment tracking systems to improve attainment levels. Responding to budgetary demands as a middle leader, I have focused on maximising value to invest in my areas of responsibility, including communal and outside areas, to ensure an optimal learning environment.

My sensitivity to social and cultural diversity has led me to foster an open and inclusive environment that embraces my pupils’ backgrounds. I work to maintain positive dialogue with parents and to support groups such as EAL and SEN pupils. I believe that developing initiatives to address the links between social background and attainment is essential for school leadership. To achieve this I believe in making strong links with the local community.

As a leader of a large staff team, I value consultation processes and personal insights of staff members when leading a team. I am eager to involve middle leaders in initiatives aimed at improving the school’s performance. As per the DFE policy, I prioritise the safeguarding of pupils and have overseen child protection in my current role.

Leadership Personal Statement Example 3:

As an educator, I firmly believe that setting high expectations for pupils is essential to their success. In my experience, when students are challenged and held to a high standard, they rise to the occasion and achieve more than they ever thought possible. As a teacher, I strive to be an excellent practitioner by embodying this belief and consistently setting high expectations for my pupils.

One way that I have demonstrated my commitment to high expectations is through my work as a Middle Leader. Over the years, I have led both year groups and core subjects, and in both roles, I have been able to make a significant impact on the school community. Through my leadership, I have worked to ensure that my team of teachers shares my belief in high expectations, and that they are equipped with the tools and support they need to deliver challenging and engaging lessons. By working collaboratively with my team, I have been able to ensure that our pupils are consistently challenged, inspired, and motivated to achieve their very best.

Another area where I have excelled as an educator is in my approaches to curriculum implementation. I believe that every subject is essential and that every subject deserves to be championed. To this end, I have worked to ensure that my subject area is given the time, resources, and attention it deserves. By collaborating with other teachers and leaders, I have been able to share my passion for my subject and help others to see its value and importance. Through this approach, I have been able to champion my subject area effectively, ensuring that it is seen as an essential part of the school curriculum.

Being flexible and resilient are also key attributes for any successful educator. In my experience, the ability to adapt and respond to changing circumstances is essential to providing a high-quality education. Whether it’s adjusting to new teaching methods, dealing with unexpected challenges, or accommodating the diverse needs of pupils, being flexible and resilient is essential to success. I have developed these skills over time, and I am always willing to embrace change and try new approaches to teaching and learning.

Finally, I believe that a successful educator should make a contribution to the wider life of the school and community. As an educator, I am committed to going the “extra mile” for my pupils and their families, and I believe that this extends beyond the classroom. Whether it’s participating in extracurricular activities, attending school events, or volunteering in the community, I am always willing to do what it takes to support my pupils and their families.

In conclusion, as an educator, I strive to be an excellent practitioner with high expectations of my pupils. Through my work as a Middle Leader, my successful approaches to curriculum implementation, and my flexibility and resilience, I have demonstrated my commitment to providing a high-quality education. Furthermore, by making a contribution to the wider life of the school and community, I believe that I can make a positive difference in the lives of my pupils and their families. I am excited about the opportunity to continue growing and developing as an educator and to make a positive impact on the lives of my pupils.

Final Points

Remember a personal statement is – Personal to you! It is a chance to tell the panel shortlisting about yourself. If you want to gain an insight into their values try to look up the current headteacher and any governors on LinkedIn. There may be interests you have in common. The personal statement forms part of your application and may tick boxes that the interview doesn’t cover. The panel will also most likely ask questions based on what you have said in the form so be ready with examples.

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