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Initial advice

Too many applicants for top jobs seem to forget that it is governors who largely make such appointments in schools these days, Bob Doe writes.

Applications full of the latest jargon and liberally sprinkled with acronyms are not likely to get shortlisted - baffling answers at the interview stage are unlikely to win much admiration either.

Not all governors are like the one who complained to The TES about the use of the initials LEA: "Why are you always writing about the London Education Authority?" he asked.

Even if most governors, at a push, may recognise the common abbreviations such as SEN or OFSTED, they may not come naturally to them. So while they are reminding themselves what they stand for, they may well be missing the point of the particular pearl of wisdom you embedded it in.

INSET, with such beloved acronyms as NQT, QTS, ITT, SENCO, or GEST are far too arcane.

Remember that governors are looking for someone who can communicate with and inspire the confidence of parents and staff. They are also looking for someone with whom they can work themselves. Indeed, candidates should be considering how they can demonstrate parent and governor-friendliness in some concrete way.

* And those acronyms? SEN: special educational needs. OFSTED: The Office for Standards in Education. NQT: Newly-qualified teacher. QTS: Qualified Teacher Status. ITT: Initial teacher training. SENCO: Special educational needs co-ordinator. GEST: Grants for Education Support and Training.

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