Headteacher recruitment

This page contains all information about the headteacher recruitment process.

All schools except academies must notify us of the Headteacher’s resignation as soon as possible by contacting Governor Services at governors@oxfordshire.gov.uk or School Improvement at schoolimprovementteam@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Support for recruiting a new Head Teacher

Governing bodies are reminded that we in OCC Schools & Learning continue to provide support for both maintained schools and academies when the time comes for you to appoint a new head teacher. The key elements are:

  • A two hour in-house training session for your governing body, covering the legal and practical implications, including timing, the job and person specifications, advertising, shortlisting, selection activities and interview questioning techniques. Training is delivered by an experienced member of the School Improvement team or Governor Services teams.
  • Professional support and advice for your governing body’s appointment panel during shortlisting and interviewing from one of our School Improvement Leaders (for maintained schools this is a requirement).

The council will also provide/commission attendance at Headteacher interviews in maintained schools free of charge to schools. This may be an attendee from a partner organisation. Schools can buy support for the Headteacher recruitment process.

As it is essential to make the most of the short time between receiving notice from your current head and the desired start date for your new appointment, we strongly suggest that governing bodies should notify us as soon as they are aware of the impending vacancy.

Governing Body briefing / training

Governor briefing / training is essential preparation, to ensure there is a shared understanding of the process, governors’ statutory duties, and to provide advice on job specification / person specification, advertising, shortlisting and selection activities. As well as all appointment panel members, we strongly recommend that the other governors attend this session, so that governors understand what they are delegating to the panel. For church schools, a diocesan adviser will usually also support this briefing.

This session can be purchased by all maintained schools in Oxfordshire, and academies at a cost of £600 - see contact details above.

Recruitment and selection of headteachers

The following gives information and advice specifically on recruiting headteachers but the principles and method can be applied to any appointment.
Most of the documents that follow are designed to be amended so that they are suitable for your own specific process.

Planning and preparation

Support documentation

Person specification

Job description

School Description and safeguarding statement for pack

Determining Salary

Covering letter and details of Oxfordshire


Dates and selection panel planning

Keeping the school community informed

Examination of applications

"Reference requests Please note these must NOT ask for information about attendance or ill-health"


Linking selection criteria to activities

Planning the day

Examples of questions

Panel activities

Final Interview

Example of recording sheet for final interview (doc format, 16KB)

After the appointment at interview

To candidates

Informing the school community

Additional material