How to build the perfect headteacher CV

Whatever stage of your career and whatever your ambitions, you can always put together a job application that will make you irresistible to governors and shortlisting panels

Ruth Golding

Headteacher resume

You want the CV on your headteacher application to stand out for all the right reasons. 

But what statements do you need to include? And can you back them up?

Use our guide to check if your CV has got what the governors are looking for, and how you can find the experiences to make you the perfect candidate.


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Show your pedagogy pedigree

Experience of teaching and learning is absolutely essential for every headship CV.

However, in your current role you might not have much opportunity to make an impact on whole-school teaching and learning.

The good news is that you can gain fantastic experience that makes this statement possible – all you need to do is think beyond the classrooms in your school.

For example, why not make contact with university education departments and find out about what they are researching. Look on the National Foundation in Education Research website. There may be opportunities in both areas to get involved in research projects.

Keep your knowledge of teaching and learning current by listening to the Tes Pedagogy Podcast, and attending teaching and learning events such as the Chartered College of TeachingWomenEdResearchEdPedagoo or TeachMeet.

You can then share any findings with colleagues by setting up a weekly drop in session in your school.

Understand the big picture

Governors will always be interested in what you have done to strengthen your community.

It could be working with employers, facilitating parent learning schemes or delivering information sessions about the school across the community.

Showing your commitment to a shared vision and moral purpose is vital. In my own school a number of years ago, there were daily complaints about litter in the area. Residents said this was caused by students, and this was damaging the reputation of the school.

The solution was the “Big Tidy Up”. The litter-picking project showed impact and builds excellent community relations, as well as giving students and staff a sense of collective responsibility and achievement. 

If you can do something similar it would definitely show the kind of leadership and community focus a headteacher needs.

Network -  a lot

Schools work effectively when people work together. Governors want their headteachers to be outward-looking and collaborative, so partner-up with others throughout your career.

Social media has made it easy to reach out and create networks wherever you are. If there isn’t a learning hub or professional learning community in your area, start one; if there is, join one.

Use moderation and standardisation of work to network across schools. The time and effort you put in will reap benefits for learners in your school and experience points for your CV.

Make like a mentor

Learn to be a good coach is a skill you should learn as early as you can in your career.

There are coaching qualifications that you can do but these are often expensive, so make it your mission to seek out other ways of learning about coaching.

A good place to start might be with The Chartered College of Teaching website to see what they have on offer.

Hone your skills by coaching others. In addition, find yourself a coach. Find out who coaches in your school and ask them for help.

Coaching others shows a commitment to training and development.

Being coached demonstrates one of the most desirable leadership attributes, that of reflective practitioner. It tells the governors of a school that you are emotionally intelligent, goal orientated and keen to learn. 

Don’t forget the extras

Don’t forget to show the panel that their prospective headteacher has a life outside of school. Are you a prolific fundraiser, volunteer, artist? Do you play in a rock band, did you build your own home or trek across Nepal?

Talk about the reasons for your activities and what impact they make on your life, as well as any skills you have learnt along the way.

It gives any shortlisting panel the essence of who you are.

If you can turn your words into a lust for life that jumps off the page, your CV is definitely ready to take you to interview.  

Ruth Golding is head of school (Tenzing), Tor Bridge High, Plymouth

Find her on Twitter @LearnerLedLdr

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