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18th Mar, 2024

Christy Houghton
Christy Houghton
Job Title
Social Media Content Executive

David Wilkes has specialised in teaching in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) schools, with a focus on social, emotional and mental health needs for more than 11 years.

Originally from the West Midlands, he was looking to relocate back there from Devon and came across this role advertised with Reed. David applied for the role and worked with specialist education recruiter Chris Ward, Business Manager in Reed’s Birmingham office who guided him through the process of securing the role. Aurora Wilden View School is a SEND school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs, aged 5-19, and was perfectly suited to David’s experience and needs. At the time of writing, the school has only been open four weeks and David has been in his current role for six months.

As part of our interview with David, he stated: “The roles that Reed put me forward for were better in comparison to other roles that I'd been put forward for previously, because they better matched my expertise, my previous experience, and what I was looking for in a role.”

Watch our conversation with David about his path to securing his current role or read the full interview below.

Q: How was your experience finding a role through Reed?

A: Finding a role through Reed and being successful... They actually look at the roles that they're offering and at the people that they're putting forward. The whole thing was professional in terms of that they knew about educational onboarding [and] had lots of knowledge about DBSs and sorting out that side of things, so, that made it a little bit seamless. And it meant that, by the time I got to the school, everything was in place.

Q: To what extent did the consultant communicate with you throughout the process?

A: The consultant and the admin team kept me completely abreast of everything that was going on. From pre-interview, through [to] the day of the interview, in fact, he rang me before the interview took place, to just check that I was still going and everything was okay [and that] I could find the school. And he sent me maps to make sure that I could get there, because at that time I was travelling up and down the country.

So, he did all that. And then the admin people were excellent because they straight away got in contact with me and made sure that I had all the paperwork that I needed in place to start the role.

In fact, recently, I was called by Chris, the consultant, just out of the blue. He was just saying, 'how are you getting on?' Which was really nice, just to get a call to say, 'how are you getting on?' because I've been there almost six months now.

Q: How are you finding your current role?

A: Obviously, it's challenging. All teaching is, but [it’s also] very rewarding.

It's a completely new setting which has meant that [my colleagues and I] have had a chance to establish how we want the setting to be. And it's not very often that in any school you get to be the first people to be in a building with completely new pupils.

So, right now, we've just opened, and the school is flourishing already and we're seeing amazing things happening with the young people. We've got lots of pupils who have not been in school for a considerable amount of time, and the most amazing things is the change in their outlook, improved social skills and engagement with education.

For some of the pupils, it's been two or three years since they've really engaged with education. Over the past two or three weeks, we've seen them thrive and take on new challenges themselves it really is amazing.

Q: If there was one piece of advice for other people looking for a role in teaching, what would that be?

A: What I would say is to certainly go and visit the school in an informal basis, because you're going to be spending a considerable amount of time working there - quite a chunk of your life. So, what you need to do is go and have a look at that setting and then match that setting to your experience, whether you want to work in mainstream or you want to work in special of some kind.

What you need to do is almost do your own homework and obviously talk to people who work there if you can visit during the day. That's my other advice - go during the day when the young people are there and see the school functioning rather than seeing it after school or before school, when there are no young people around.

Q: Would you work with Reed again to find a job?

A: Yes, I would. I would definitely work with Reed again.

The main reason for that is the professionalism. The whole setup is professional compared to other agencies that I've worked for in the past, to be honest. It was very clear what the roles were and the fact that they were looking for permanent roles, which is quite different to a lot of agencies, which essentially were on a temporary basis. It was very clear that they were looking for permanent roles, which was obviously what I was looking for.

If you’re looking for a permanent teaching role, or a talented professional to join your school, contact your nearest Reed office today.