Schools Leadership’s 6-month Check-In with Melanie Pye

It’s been six months since The Management Recruitment Group launched the new niche brand, Schools Leadership.

The Management Recruitment Group has a 15-year history of working within the education sector, supporting schools with non-academic appointments, predominantly across estates. There was an organic progression working with the broader school operations, prompting the establishment of a dedicated brand to meet its evolving needs.

Melanie Pye has spearheaded this launch; today, we catch up with her on what is Schools Leadership’s 6 month anniversary month and, coincidentally, Mel’s two-year anniversary within schools at MRG (although Mel has been with us for much longer!).

What has been the reception to Schools Leadership’s launch from the school community?
Feedback from the market has been very positive; we have a fantastic track record of supporting schools with their estates recruitment. However, many didn’t realise we could help across other areas of the school’s operation.  The introduction of Schools Leadership demonstrates to clients that we are passionate about working with schools and supporting them on their key hires.

What led you personally to this sector?
It wasn’t an obvious journey into schools, but I feel that my extensive and diverse recruitment career has aided the smooth transition. I have my previous role with MRG to thank. I supported project management consultancies on their recruitment and found a natural affiliation towards the public sector teams and, more specifically, schools. The opportunity to join the school team arose at the end of 2021, and I jumped at the chance to move internally. I wanted to give something back whilst having diversity, and in this case, it is finding schools with the best operational staff.

We mentioned in the introduction that you have been with MRG for a long time; how do other sectors compare to schools?
I joined MRG in 2012, initially in higher education, and then spent eight years working with project management consultancies. Reflecting back on my almost 28-year career in recruitment, I was building up to this move and having recruited for most operational roles, whether it was HR, finance or marketing, I had an understanding.

The very culture of schools requires a strong focus on an exceptionally caring and human approach. Plus, as a parent, I am driven to improve the school environment for the pupils and the staff, as they have a critical role in caring for children. The school sector is like no other sector I have recruited for, but to me – it feels like I have come home.

Has the Schools Leadership brand overcome any challenges for its clients?
We have supported a diverse portfolio of clients both across independent schools and multi-academy trusts. Challenges can be unique to an individual school, but we see three main themes. Firstly, schools do not have the capacity to proactively map and source talent; secondly, often, those in the private sector do not think of schools as an option; and finally, those coming from the private sector are often put off by the necessary but highly detailed application process.

This is where we come in, working collaboratively with a range of schools to support them in overcoming these challenges and establish key hires, including Directors of Finance & Operations and Directors of Estates.

You’ve had some early success; tell us a bit about that.
Schools has had some great success since I joined the team in 2022, however I am most proud of the fact that we won the “School Recruitment Support Company of the Year” at the Education Today Awards 2023. To say I was shocked at winning is an understatement (you just have to watch my reaction on LinkedIn when our name was announced), so I can’t express my gratitude enough to everyone who voted and who has supported and believed in us both externally and internally, and of course, Schools Leadership wouldn’t be where we are without the team, myself, Eshé and Jenni.

It sounds like you have a great team behind you, can you tell us about them?
Jenni has been with MRG since October 2022, coming from a development role within an independent school in Essex, she brought with her a strong understanding of schools and compliance as well as her creative flair.

Eshé joined in April 2023, she came from an education recruitment consultancy that specialised in Heads and Governor & Trustee appointments.  She joined us looking for more diversity, and I think she has definitely had that support in a range of roles.

All three of us are different, but collectively, our strengths complement each other. Jenni and Eshé have played such an active role in the success of Schools Leadership to date, and I am really excited for the future of Schools Leadership and our continued growth.


Congratulations, Mel, on celebrating two years in the schools team at The Management Recruitment Group and a successful first six months of School Leadership. We can’t wait to see your next chapter at MRG!

Contact Melanie Pye or visit learn more about Schools Leadership.

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