Recruiting a new Head Teacher

The search for a new school Head Teacher can be complex and involving, and is possibly one of the most important tasks faced by any recruiter. These are, after all, the people who will lead the next generation through their education and on into the world of work.


Finding a high-quality, dedicated teacher who can stand up to the leadership challenges posed by accepting the position of head is no mean feat and every care should be taken to get the right fit. But what are the right qualities to look out for during the recruitment process? Below are a few things to consider when recruiting for Head Teacher jobs.


It is important for a head teacher to enter into their role with a clear vision of the direction in which they aim to take the school.

A potential head should display a strong sense of moral resolution, which will prove essential in managing the youngsters and teachers they would be responsible for. A potential candidate ought to have looked into the school and should be able to suggest areas for improvement.


A good Head Teacher should be able to inspire staff and pupils alike, so motivation and enthusiasm for the cause are two key skills to look out for. A solid work history of successful teaching, with outstanding reports across the board, is a great indicator of a candidate’s dedication to their profession.

Teachers who have gone above and beyond for their pupils and fellow staff members will really stand out as potential head teachers as they have shown a genuine interest and passion for the job.

Good Judgement

Great Head Teachers will have developed an excellent instinct for judgement throughout their careers. They will have made consistently good decisions that will benefit the whole school.

However, a head teacher can’t play at being lone wolf. What marks out an exceptional Head Teacher is their ability to surround themselves with a strong team of staff who can help and give them advice on their choices. The head will also look outside of the school system to find new ideas and innovations to apply to their realm, opening up the world of education beyond the everyday and the humdrum.


There must be an overt sense of a candidate’s love for teaching. A love of children and their development is, above all else, a must-have quality. A fantastic example of a progressive head teacher can be found in the form of Jonny Mitchell, who recently starred in the hit Channel 4 TV series, Educating Yorkshire. Based in a problematic school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, Mr Mitchell has pushed the staff and pupils of Thornhill Community Academy towards better results and improved behaviour since he took over as head in 2012. This came in the face of much diversity and a number of problem pupils. Mr Mitchell displays all of the criteria essential to make a good head.

When reviewing candidates for a head teacher position, bear in mind that qualifications aren’t everything. Of course, a good level of education and experience count, but if there is no drive and passion towards a better future of education, then perhaps they aren’t the perfect choice. Someone who can steer the school in the best direction while at the same time inspiring and encouraging staff and students is really what every school needs at its heart. 

Image by Denise Krebs

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