Case Study: Head Teacher for a broad spectrum SEND school in the north of England

Due to the imminent retirement of the head teacher, this broad spectrum SEND school retained The Spencer Group to help appoint a replacement within a six-week timeframe.

The project was time-critical because the outgoing head could not offer any flexibility on his retirement date, so the school wanted to minimise the risk of failing to make an appointment on the first attempt. Working in consultation with the school, The Spencer Group formulated a strategy that would produce as strong a shortlist as possible, therefore maximising the likelihood of success.

We agreed upon a national advert reinforced by a discreet executive search of 80 schools within the SEND sector. This strategy was based on the premise that the best and most effective school leaders in the market are not actively seeking new posts at any given time, but that when approached confidentially and presented with the opportunity, their interest could be engaged and cultivated into a firm application.

From this approach, we generated 18 interested parties. They were then subject to a pre-selection interview from which we produced a longlist of 12 firm applications. Nine of these applications were the result of our executive search, while three were in response to the advertisement.

On presentation of the longlist, the school selected seven applicants for interview, who were whittled down to three at the final stage of the selection day process. All three final-stage applicants had been generated by the executive search.

The school was successful in making an appointment within the six-week project life cycle, ensuring the new head teacher was in place in time to meet the deadline.