A globetrotter's guide to headhunting

23rd May 2008 at 01:00
- Expand search beyond education - The Netherlands is one of the few countries that recruits school leaders from outside education, particularly for primary schools
- Expand search beyond education

The Netherlands is one of the few countries that recruits school leaders from outside education, particularly for primary schools. Bazen van Buiten is a training programme for business leaders who want to become primary heads. So far, it has trained 13 people.

According to the OECD, those involved "appreciated the fresh views brought to schools by new leaders from outside education".

Sweden also appoints school leaders with non-teaching backgrounds, but very rarely: only 3 per cent of heads come from other lines of work, including military officers and business managers.

- Differentiating salaries

In Sweden, school leaders receive an "individualised" salary. It is based on the quality of their work as assessed by education officials.

Officials look at pupil performance, collect the views of parents and pupils. They assess how other schools and employers regard the pupils leaving a school. In some municipalities, assessment procedures are borrowed from the business sector or public services. In others, close co-operation between education officials and school leaders provides the information required.

- Professionalise recruitment

Austria has recently raised the standards of selection by professionalising recruitment of heads, in some cases using competence-based selection criteria and psychometric analyses of potential. In part, these are commissioned from private firms.

According to the OECD, this helps to motivate those with leadership potential who did not previously believe they could be recruited. The main drawback is that it is extremely costly in comparison with traditional methods.

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