Climbing the ladder: Steps needed to aid promotion

So you’re at the point in your career where you feel ready to apply for more senior posts. Colleagues have made suggestions as to your suitability for promotion and its even come up in your performance management discussion, but how exactly do you go about preparing yourself for a role with more responsibility and how do you ensure you get the job you desire?

We share some of the top tips about how to climb the ladder and secure promotion.

1. Get involved

Whether it be volunteering to be part of a new working party or developing a school initiative, getting involved in every aspect of school life is key for those seeking promotion. Not only will it provide you with the opportunity to meet a range a staff from other departments and curriculum areas, but it will also give you some insight into the different roles that exist. If you are able to take part in an activity that will give you a chance to lead then this is even better. This could be developing and marketing an extra-curricular activity within your department, or doing an action research project which you could present to the senior leadership team and governors. Pick something you’re really interested in; that way it won’t seem like extra work – it will be a labour of love!

2. Document your achievements

Some of you will find this tricky. Teachers (especially us Brits) are notoriously bad at blowing our own trumpet and recognising our own positives, however, this is one of the most crucial things that you will need to do. Create a portfolio of your achievements that you are proud of with regards to your current and previous roles: lesson observations; notes from SLT thanking you for your contribution to a particular project; data and a summary of what you did to bring about an increase in pupil progress; and of course feedback from pupils (this could be a survey, questionnaire or focus group responses) about how your new initiative has gone. This will obviously be invaluable when you come to fill in the application form, and it will give you that inner confidence needed to go for promotion in the first place – you are good enough!

3. Research the role: Thinking ahead

The grass may always seem greener but is it really? Researching your desired role is absolutely essential otherwise you may find yourself doing a role that you aren’t particularly suited to and therefore, one which you will not enjoy. The best way to research a role is to talk to those already doing the job. Find out what the day-to-day aspects are, as opposed to what is written in the job description. Even better is if you have the chance to shadow someone already doing the role. Many academy chains and school partnerships run their own shadow initiatives, however, if such a scheme doesn’t exist, speak to your line manager and Head teacher about the possibility of facilitating this in your institution. What better way to find out about every aspect of the job?!

4. Develop yourself: Self-development and not just CPD

As the saying goes we must never stop learning” – and that goes for all of us in education too. Self-development and documenting it is absolutely essential when applying for promotion. Not only does it show that you are a reflective practitioner, but presents you as someone who is highly committed having invested time and sometimes money into developing yourself and your practice. The choices of courses available are endless; however, there are many other avenues you can take on your journey of continuing professional development; for example accredited or certified online courses, or more formal and traditional routes like Masters or even doctorates. However, the simplest and the most valuable way to continue your self-development is to ensure that you keep up date with the educational landscape and the changes which exist – and be prepared to discuss these in length!

5. Preparation, preparation, preparation!

You have worked out what your ideal role is and have now found a job that has been advertised. All of the practical aspects such as travel, type of establishment, hours etc. have been considered and you are now ready to apply for the post. So, what next? Enlist some coaches who can support you through the process! From checking your supporting statement, to helping you with practice interviews, colleagues – especially those who have already gained promotion – will be able to provide you with no end of advice and top tips to help you prepare, and provide you with the confidence needed to make that next step.

All the very best!

If you’re thinking of making the next step up the ladder, why not take a look at our range of courses on career progression:

If you’re interested in developing your own action research project in your school, we are currently offering fully funded courses from the British Council in a range of core skills, with an 8-10 week action research project completely supported by your trainer. To find out more click here.

For those in Further Education, we are also one of the providers for The Education and Training Foundation, including providing two courses on “Engaging and Motivating Learners” in English and in maths, which also have a supported action research component. To find out more click here.

Joanne Benjamin-Lewis

Joanne Benjamin-Lewis is a former Ofsted inspector and Vice Principal who has had many years in a range of leadership positions in South London and more recently the Midlands. Her senior management experience has been in secondary schools and sixth forms and 14- 19 establishments. Joanne was previously an AST and spent many years mentoring student teachers on PGCE and GTP courses. Joanne’s whole school responsibility centred on cpd provision, community cohesion and curriculum development. Her own teaching is consistently judged as good and outstanding with impressive results in GCSE English and Literature. Her credibility has been further enhanced by her work as an education consultant, trainer and school improvement advisor drawing upon her experience of Ofsted Inspections.