Academicis Client Testimonials
Dave Dearsley – Head Teacher
Churchward SEN School
As a special school for students with a range of complex needs it can a challenge for prospective candidates to fully understand the nature of the work we do. Richard and his team spent a long time getting to know the school, the students and myself as Head Teacher. I felt they made it a priority to understand our school and our ethos as well as the challenges we faced as a school so they could communicate effectively on our behalf.
Throughout the process I was well informed and always felt like the appointment was as important to Richard as it was the school. As a result we were able to appoint an outstanding candidate who I am positive will bring added energy, experience and knowledge to our SLT.
James Ayton – Executive Principal
Nene and Ramnoth School, Elliot Foundation
Academicis helped us to find and appoint our Vice Principal. Throughout the process the team listened closely to our needs and responded quickly as these evolved. At all stages they communicated brilliantly, keeping us informed of the work they were undertaking across their wider network to attract a strong field.
Ultimately, we were able to interview five very strong candidates, and with their support, appointed successfully. Their due diligence at the early stages and throughout ensured that our team has benefited and grown, and I will work with Academicis again for my next leadership appointment.
Peter Sakal – Chair of Governors
Gosfield School, Essex
Academicis assisted us to appoint our Head of Prep and more recently, our new Whole School Principal.
Academicis came to our attention through an online search engine when we were looking to appoint our Head of Prep. Having been disappointed with the response from traditional advertising channels, we interviewed several Executive Search agencies. We found Academicis to be grounded, friendly and professional which made us feel comfortable that they could work with the numerous and varied stakeholders involved in the recruitment process.
The process was seamless from start to finish. We were not only guided through every stage but provided with all of the timetables and paperwork that were required for every task in the two day process. Of critical importance was the candidate field which was excellent and adhered very closely to our brief of what an ideal candidate would look like. So much so that it was a significant task to arrive at a short list but having done so, we could not have been happier with the high calibre of candidate that entered the process. Our eventual appointee matched our criteria perfectly.
Naturally, when the need to recruit a new Whole School Principal arose, we did not hesitate to appoint Academicis to the task and they have once again lead us to an outstanding outcome.
We feel sure that Academicis’s personal approach, attention to detail and candidate fields are unlikely to be matched by some of the larger search agencies we interviewed. We cannot recommend Academicis highly enough.
Tony Myers – Chair,
Hope Learning Trust York
Trustees of Hope Learning Trust York selected Academicis to support the recruitment of a CEO to replace the current CEO who retires in August 2020. From first contact, Richard and Caroline demonstrated their relationship-building approach to understanding Hope’s vision, values, ethos and the sort of leadership qualities being sought. Appropriate advice was offered sensitively and our feedback was welcomed. Search for, and liaison with, potential applicants and candidates was handled efficiently and confidentially. Selection day activities were proposed, and flexibly adjusted to incorporate our suggestions – the practical arrangements were thorough and well organised. I believe we have a high-quality outcome at excellent value for money, and recommend others to consider Academicis when recruiting at this level.
The Reverend Duncan Strathie – Chair of Governors
Moseley C of E Primary School
As a single form entry Voluntary Aided C of E primary school we felt we lacked the educational expertise within the governing board to undertake the daunting process of recruiting and appointing a new Headteacher. Under guidance from our Diocesan Education Department we were encouraged to think of using a recruitment agency and Academicis were mentioned as having helped to deliver good outcomes in a couple of local schools recently. We made contact and a meeting was swiftly arranged.
From the outset it was clear that Academicis understood our position well and were well placed to offer the support we needed. They were confident that from their network of contacts, that they would be able to deliver a number of high calibre candidates. The speed and professionalism with which the vacancy pack was drawn up were impressive and throughout the process communication was excellent – someone from Academicis was always available when needed. In the end we had seven applications and were able to shortlist the top three applicants. The advice given by Academicis from working with and understanding the circumstances of each applicants’ situation was extremely helpful.
Academicis took care of all the statutory paperwork and made the phone calls advising candidates of the outcome. They also organised and directed the whole day interview programme with a keen attention to detail and a helpful range of tests for the applicants which aided us in our evaluations. Their staff interacted well with the children, governors and staff at school and put the candidates at ease. After the decision was made, they took care of all the documents that were needed and made the whole process very easy. We felt that the service they offered gave excellent value for money and were very glad that we had sought their support.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Academicis to other schools.
Secondary School North West London
I had not previously heard of Academicis and only came across the company as a result of a Google search. After obtaining quotes from other recruitment companies (including some of the big names) the Governors decided to appoint Academicis to run the campaign to recruit our new Executive Head.
My initial conversation with Richard and all subsequent communication with Caroline was reassuring and professional at all times. The Recruitment Pack was put together swiftly and our feedback was taken on board and amendments made until all parties were satisfied with the final product. Richard and his team started the process of their ‘search’ without delay and a strong field of candidates were put forward.
With so many stakeholders involved in the process and the added complications of arranging socially distanced school visits and remote interviews it had the potential to be an extremely challenging process. However, myself and the Governors were kept updated at all times and it was made to be as stress-free as possible. Each step was explained fully and the remote interviews across various panels on day 1 ran seamlessly with no technical hitches whatsoever. I found all the staff I had liaised with to be highly efficient and organised throughout.
A fixed fee was agreed from the outset and Academicis’ advertised high success rate in recruiting successfully on the first round certainly rang true for us. We hope to not have to recruit at senior level again for quite some time, but would not hesitate to use Academicis again in the future when the time comes.
Michael Cowland – Chief Executive Officer
The Diocese of Coventry Multi Academy Trust
We recently worked with Academicis on the recruitment for a newly created Deputy CEO post for our growing trust. Richard and Caroline took the time to understand our trust, listened to our priorities and helped us to run an excellent recruitment campaign, which included an extremely challenging assessment day. Despite the short timescales, we have found and offered the post to an outstanding candidate, who I will be delighted to welcome to the team in September. I feel sure that we will work with Academicis again.
Successful Executive Head and CEO candidate
As someone who was looking for a very specific long term career role (one that could deliver the right location, challenge, variety, culture and ethos, be outward looking and with supportive, engaged and ambitious Trustees) I could well have been the most demanding candidate a search firm might encounter. I was waiting for a role which would enable me to utilise all the skills acquired over sixteen years of Headship / Exec. Headship and MAT CEO roles and was contacted by Academicis who, not only were leading the search for a brilliant role which ticked all the boxes on paper, but who had noticed that I might be a good fit to approach as an applicant. Academicis know the market exceptionally well and their intelligence in tapping into an extensive national network of excellent leaders from a hugely diverse range of educational contexts really is first class.
From the first point of contact with details about the Trust and scope of the role, through to a pre-application meeting with the Chair of Trustees who was exceptionally well informed and knowledgeable, to the excellent support and feedback throughout the application and stages of selection process from Caroline and Richard of Academicis, the time and care invested in me was exceptional. The insight, honesty and experience of Academicis was invaluable and the various tasks, panels and scenarios which Academicis devised in consultation with the Trustees and which were entirely suited to a CEO level post, enabled both them and me to really explore the role and possibilities in a way that I felt valued, and which was engaging and inspiring in equal measure.
The whole experience was very ‘human’, and I was more than delighted to be successful in securing the role. With the addition of a brand-new secondary school coming into fruition in the next three years which I will have the privilege of bringing into being, Academicis will be my first port of call in supporting with senior leadership staffing at both school and central Trust level.
Jan Steel – Director of HR
The Active Learning Trust
I have great pleasure in recommending the recruitment services for our recent leadership vacancy.
Thank you to Richard, Ross, and the team at Academicis for your valuable support. This was not an easy post to fill and was based in an area notorious for its struggle to achieve our recruitment objectives, but with your perseverance and understanding we found a strong field and made a successful appointment.
Looking back over the process, what really stands out for me was your ability to absorb the brief and take time (and ask sensible questions!) about what our Trust were trying to achieve and the sort of appointee we were looking for. It is those little practical things that really matter too -, such as you never failed to pick up the phone and you never failed to respond to an enquiry or a question.
That certainty of ‘where things are at’ gave us ongoing visibility of the process which was of great practical support.
You have become a trusted partner in our Trust’s recruitment, and I would not hesitate to use your services again in the future.
Emma Wigmore – CEO
Vine Schools Trust
Dear Richard and Emma
I’d like to thank you both for your support and guidance throughout our work to recruit a new Director of Finance and Operations for the Trust. I am delighted with the successful candidate and we already have a starting date!
Throughout the process you have both been enthusiastic, supportive and informative. I have appreciated the close communication that you have had with my team and the warm working relationship you have built with us. From the beginning of our search for a DFO I felt confident that you had our best interests in heart, you have adapted to each challenge we found along the way and this has resulted in us finding the perfect match for our Trust.
Thank you again for helping us to find the right person for this key role,
Chief Executive Officer
Adam Jezard – Chair of Trustees
Academicis have recently supported the school with Headteacher recruitment. The Academicis team worked closely with Trustees throughout the process and were always on hand when needed. During the process they were responsive, resourceful and demonstrated a good understanding of the School’s specific needs.
The Academicis approach to senior leadership recruitment ensured we had a high number of good quality applications. Academicis managed all elements of the recruitment process from approaching potential candidates to advising candidates of the outcomes, working closely with the Board of Trustees at all times.
We are very pleased with the positive outcome of the recruitment process and with the support provided by Academicis throughout.
Successful CEO Candidate
As a protective, and ultimately successful, candidate I was supported by Richard and his team at Academicis through each step of the process. From the information provided and opportunities for discussion prior to interview through to regular check in calls during the process I can only comment positively on the service offered to me. I’m sure I will be back in touch with the team but from the employer rather than candidate perspective in the future.
I have just secured a fabulous CEO role with a Multi Academy Trust in Sheffield. Richard Lucas and his team were helpful and supportive from the initial enquiries about the post to the final negotiations of terms and signing of contract. The trustees were well prepared and planned a robust and challenging process that allowed all parties to achieve a pleasing outcome. Many thanks to the team at Academicis
Chorus Education Trust
We worked with Richard and Charlotte in our recent recruitment for a senior position. The whole process went very well and they were always available for help or comment, over the whole time. We were kept informed, more or less, on a daily basis as to how things were progressing and full list of candidates were presented within the time frame. After our short-listing all interviews were arranged and conducted in a professional manner and our final offer was concluded without delay. We would have no problem in using Academicis again, if the need arose.
Esther – Chair of Governors
This is a long overdue email to say ‘thank you’ for your help and support to the Trinity Federation governors in enabling us to appoint an Executive Headteacher for All Saints School, Bednall and St Leonard’s School, Dunston. We are very pleased with our appointment. Without you and your staff we would never have been able to have put everything together in such a short time, especially over the school summer holidays.
There are still many challenges along the way but at least we are confident that our new HT has the skills and drive to take both schools forward so we can now concentrate on other matters.
At a personal level I would like to say a huge thank you to you for your personal support and encouragement, especially in the early stages, and for your quick responses whenever I contacted you.
With very best wishes.
Trinity Federation, Staffordshire
As governors we are very grateful to Academicis, and in particular Rich Lucas and Colin Hopkins, for coming alongside us in appointing a new Executive Headteacher at very short notice and just before the start of the school summer holidays. Without their advice and support we would never have been able to cope with getting everything done in time for a successful interview day at the end of September.
Furze Platt Senior School
The team at Academicis were incredibly supportive and highly effective during our search and interview process for a new Headteacher. Their advice and guidance gave Governors comfort and full knowledge that we were working with experts in Senior Leadership recruitment, during the process right from the initial discussions all the way through to the interviews and offer.
The service provided by Academicis is excellent value for money. I recommend schools and colleges looking to appoint senior leaders to work with Academicis to ensure a complete, transparent, comprehensive and robust recruitment process.
Let me know if you need anything else, it really was. A pleasure to work with you all.
Cardinal Newman Catholic School, April 2019
Having first come across Richard from Academicis 4 years ago as a governor we have always stayed in touch. When Richard called with the details of a new headship it was easy to apply. He matched the school to me and me to the school. The process was smooth, well communicated and it was clear that Richard wanted the best outcome for the school and myself. Thank you!
Head of HR – St John’s Marlborough
We just wanted to thank you for your help, guidance and support in seeking a new Principal. You did a great job and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work with you. The result is positive for St John’s Marlborough!
You made my life much easier, simplified the recruitment process at my end enabling me to focus on other aspects of my role. I am pleased with the work you have done for St John’s and feel we have developed a great partnership. I look forward to working with you in the future.
With kind regards
Chair of Governors – Alderbrook Primary School, Balham
I wanted to write to thank you and the Academicis team for your support in our recent Headteacher recruitment process.
Your advice throughout was much appreciated – especially when it came to guiding us through our options for advertising (both on traditional and social media) as well as the design of the interview day itself.
We were also grateful for the logic you brought to our discussions regarding the various candidates, from the shortlisting process until the final decision.
We are delighted with the outcome.
Diocesan Director of Education
Lichfield DBE has been working with Academicis for some five years in sourcing Headteachers and Principals for our maintained schools and academies The consultancy support received has covered recruiting new leaders to all phases (primary, middle and secondary schools), including academies in the diocesan MAT and in other church-led academy trusts within the Diocese. There has been a 100% success rate in making appointments, some of which have been in very challenging circumstances or in areas/contexts where recruitment is exceptionally difficult.
As the recruitment of heads becomes more challenging across the whole system, the proactive approach provided by Academicis has resulted in strong and credible fields of candidates, who can therefore provide governors (and trustees/directors) with real choice.
Academicis has provided a highly professional and first rate service customised to schools’ needs. The company can manage the whole recruitment process, including drafting recruitment literature, advertising, organizing the selection process, shortlisting and interviews, and obtaining references (and providing constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates).
Academicis’ staff are a pleasure to work with, and are unfailingly courteous and responsive to schools’/trusts’ needs. The company has a very strong understanding of the distinctive character of Church of England schools, including our specific leadership requirements.
We have enjoyed working with Richard Lucas (MD) and his team on a range of headships over the last few years, and I would be very happy to recommend Academicis to you.
Director of Education, Children, and Young People Services – Macintyre Charity
We have repeatability used the services of Academicis with successful appointments being made each and every time. The quality of candidates has been constantly high and the service professional and bespoke – this has led to us appointing outstanding leaders. Careful attention has been given to our needs, with Academicis offering flexibility and additional resources as and when required. We have been extremely impressed and would not hesitate to use Academicis when recruiting to other senior leadership roles in the future.
Victoria De Naeyer
Director of Governance – Samuel Ward Academy Trust
Having worked with Academicis on several senior leadership recruitments across the trust, I have no hesitation in recommending Rich Lucas and Academicis. They have taken the time to understand the aims and values of the trust, as well as the specific requirements for each role. They have provided intelligent insight and guidance, and highly professional and organised support to recruitment days. Their proactive approach has enabled them to consistently field strong candidates. Above all, their staff are helpful and professional at all times, making them a joy to work with.
Chair of Governors – Vyners School
I am writing to thank you sincerely for all the comprehensive work your company did for Vyners regarding their deputy head teacher vacancy.
I was extremely impressed with the quality and quantity of candidates that were presented to us, this enabled us to have a very strong field to take through the 2 day interview process.
The help and guidance during the process was extremely guiding and helpful, enabling the interviews to run efficiently and smoothly. Your colleagues were exemplary and professional throughout.
The candidates were extremely good as they undertook a vigorous selection process over 2 days.
We are prepared to give unsuccessful candidates a full debrief should they so desire.
In conclusion, I thank you for all the work undertaken by Academicis, and am sure that we will be returning in the future for similar positions, should they arise.
Fr Alan Thompson
Vicar – St Marks & St Saviour Saltley
St Saviour’s Church of England Primary School is viewed as outstanding by OFSTED. We are located in one of Europe’s most economically challenging areas. After 18 years of devoted service our previous head teacher retired.
Given the above, appointing a new HT we realised would not be easy. We did not however fully understand how difficult this task would be without professional help.
We engaged Academicis after failing to appoint, following several attempts. The service we received was outstanding without exception. Every stage of the process was meticulously managed. Nothing was too much trouble, and areas that we had not considered covered by them. Whilst we acknowledge that this was indeed a team effort, Rob, and Richard, were particularly conversant and supportive.
We would have no hesitation in commissioning Academicis again for a similar appoint.
Rev Tim Novis
Chair of Governors – Carwarden House of School
As Governors in a special educational school for children with moderate learning difficulties, we felt particularly flummoxed when our ‘irreplaceable’ Headteacher told us he was leaving. Such a specialised realm in education meant we knew we were up against some very tough odds in finding anyone as remotely brilliant who would be able to ensure the momentum we had helped to create as Governors, and who could keep our vision and strategy at the forefront of our school’s development plan. But Academics reassured us from the start and delivered on every promise made. Early contact with Richard was brilliant. His energy and enthusiasm for our school was authentic. He was able to develop a plan for us that suited our budget and our timeline. Leading up to shortlisting, we were presented with a package of excellent candidates, and on the day of the interviews Robert was a professional and calming presence who assured we did all that was necessary as Governors who don’t have to hire a new Headteacher everyday! I recommend Academics most highly, and feel particularly fortunate that they provided us the depth of support that they did in what could have been a profoundly difficult process. With Academicis, the process was quick, efficient and seamless, and we feel sure we have hired just the right Headteacher to lead our much-loved school.
Chair of Governors
Vale View Primary School
I am very pleased to be able to provide a testimonial for the Academicis. As Chair of Governors the appointment of a new Headteacher is a daunting task and something myself or the Governing body had never done before. Appointing teachers and attracting suitable candidates has become increasing more difficult and even more so for Headteachers. Rather than advertise the position and sit back and wait for a suitable candidate to find us we decided to be more proactive in our recruitment process.
At all points throughout the process the team at Academicis kept me fully informed of progress and responded to my enquiries immediately. I appreciated the instant feedback from prospective candidates after they visited the school and that you supported the shortlisting and organised and ran the whole interview day. Furthermore, you provided expert guidance and support throughout this process.
Both Sarah and Grace were always only a telephone call away as was the managing director, Richard Lucas. I appreciated the understanding and flexibility that Richard showed in arranging meetings to suit my busy work schedule from early morning breakfast meetings to late evening calls to discuss progress, ideas or offer support.
This personal touch enabled him to fully understand our brief and the needs and ethos of our school and ultimately led to a perfect match and first time appointment of our new Headteacher.
I highly recommend the services of Academicis to other schools recruiting a Headteacher in the future.
Chair of Governors
Cedars Manor School
Following our previous unsuccessful attempts to appoint a Headteacher we were very pleased to appoint Academicis to assist us with our recruitment exercise. Academicis provided us with a fresh approach in carrying out the selection and recruitment process and we were able to appoint a new Headteacher on our first attempt using their services. The team were excellent in working towards meeting tight timescales and supporting the Governor during the recruitment process. Academicis also arranged for the Governors to receive additional support from an independent adviser who is a National Leader on Governance and their input was very much appreciated during the interview process. I would very much recommend commissioning Academicis if you have experienced difficulties with attracting suitably experienced candidates to apply for senior positions.
Chair of Governors
Walsall Blue Coat Cofe Academy
I have great admiration for the excellent way in which ACADEMICIS sourced a number of applicants for the post of a Substantive Principal at Walsall Blue Coat CofE Academy. The Governors and Sponsors were extremely impressed with the quality and number of applicants and at the final interviews were very happy to be able to appoint with absolute unanimous decision a Substantive Principal. Our thanks to Richard Lucas who was an invaluable advisor during this process.
Chair of Governing Body – Clore Shalom School
Now that the dust has settled a little, I wanted to write to you to formally thank you and your team for all of the assistance that you gave us. Your support was invaluable and your whole team was professional, courteous and helpful throughout the process – always available and ever ready to help. Things would have been very different without you and I’m not sure that the outcome would have been as successful.
As you know, we had already been through three rounds before we engaged your services. We had historically found it difficult to attract applicants (possibly due to our status as a VS/Faith School but more likely due to our lack of reach within the potential pool) but your pro-active approach changed all of that – you identified candidates that we would never have found, several of whom didn’t even know that they wanted to move until you encouraged them to come and visit us. We ended up with more applicants for the final round than we had seen for all of the previous rounds combined and the strength of the individual applicants gave us a hard time at the shortlisting meeting.
Whilst your ability to find strong applicants was impressive, even more so was your ability to find applicants that understood, appreciated and were able to support our ethos. As a faith school, our ethos is of particular importantance to us and you not only understood this, but were able to use this as an advantage when sourcing candidates.
I have to admit that I was hesitant when we first spoke – I wasn’t sure that your “run-to-fill” approach would work and there were doubts about the value-for-money in your proposal. Having seen the impact that you and your team made to our process I am happy to say that I’m a convert. Your proposition offers the ability to remove the administrative burden, whilst also identifying and nurturing potential candidates, right through to the application stage.
I hope that I’m never in the same position again (attempting to recruit a Headteacher, in the middle of a national recruitment crisis) but if I am, you will certainly be the first person that I call.
I enjoyed working you and would welcome the opportunity to do so again.
Chair of Governors
Pirton and Hexton Primary School
I wanted to say thank you for all the help, support and advice from both Richard Lucas and Grace Rowley throughout the process of recruiting our new Executive Headteacher. We’re really pleased with the outcome and it would have been impossible to have done it without Academicis, so thank you! I would not hesitate to recommend Academicis.
Northolt High School
I am pleased to be able to provide a positive testimonial for Academicis. We were able to appoint a very good Deputy Headteacher with the right skills set for the school. The Academicis team were attentive to the specific requests of the school and supported in the selection, interviewing and appointment process. They were willing to act on feedback and work in genuine partnership to ensure that the needs of the school were met. The follow up was very good and helpful after the appointment had been made.
South Northants C of E Multi Academy Trust
We were very grateful for the support provided by Academicis in the recruitment of our replacement Executive Headteacher for Culworth and Boddington Primary Academies. Richard and his team were very knowledgeable and able to guide us through the process providing valuable insight into the recruitment market for senior educational positions which has changed in recent years. I would recommend Academicis if your organisation has similar recruitment requirements.
Chair of Governors
Featherby Infant and Junior Schools
I am pleased to be able to provide a reference for Academicis who provided an excellent service in our recent search of an Executive Headteacher for Featherby Infant and Junior School in Gillingham, Kent.
At all times during the process they were professional and very efficient. All the time scales were met, they were attentive and managed to secure a first time appointment. Academicis is headed up by Richard Lucas, Managing Director, who responded to all queries immediately and throughout the process was thoroughly proficient. The recruitment and interview process was managed entirely by Richard and his team. I would have no hesitation in recommending Richard and Academicis.
Chair of Trustees
Whittlesea Learning Trust
I am writing to thank you and your team for all of the hard work you put in to find us both an excellent interim Executive Headteacher and now a great permanent replacement.
Last summer we went through two rounds of advertising for a new Executive Headteacher and on both occasions failed to make an appointment. We found ourselves in October with no Headteacher in place for the impending spring term and no real idea what to do differently to attract better candidates. You managed to find us excellent candidates to be an interim Headteacher and we had someone signed up with a couple of weeks of you coming on-board. This was an amazing turn-around.
You guided us through the appointment of the substantive post, and although we re-advertised it is clear that the difference this time was your direct approach to the candidates. Your persistence in keeping in touch with prospective candidates and pushing them to apply really paid off when we hit some unexpected external issues. We were able to respond and overcome these problems in time and ended up with a good shortlist. We have now appointed a fantastic new Executive Headteacher and everyone is very excited about September and beyond.
We had some issues along the way but the recruitment process proved robust to them all. The fact that we had one person dealing with both interim and substantive appointments was great. Having professional but friendly advice on call, pretty much at any time of day, was hugely reassuring.
It has been a very long and difficult year for us. Our failure to find an Executive Headteacher was causing uncertainty and fear among staff and governors alike. In hindsight we might well have avoided all of that and saved some time, effort and money too, had we involved you sooner.
Chair of Governors
Daiglen Preparatory School
We have been delighted with the service by Academicis in helping appoint our new Headteacher. Academicis produced a very strong shortlist of candidates, and were very pro-active over the short listing exercise, interview’s and decision making process. Academicis are a very responsive organisation and you can always get through to who you want, including the Managing Director, Richard Lucas. We would not hesitate to recommend them.
Academicis were instrumental in us achieving our goal of appointing the ‘right’ senior leader for our school. I was impressed with how colleagues at Academicis quickly and effectively came to an understanding of the school’s current and future needs. The team quickly and efficiently produced high quality candidate information, working with us on assembling a strong field of candidates and an effective recruitment process. Academicis’s, knowledgeable, and efficient team offered good advice, quick communication and a great service prior to, during and after the recruitment process. I have no hesitation in recommending Academicis to other schools.