Finding your first teaching job may seem like a daunting task, but we have put some helpful information together on how to break down the when, where and how questions.
When should you start looking for your first teaching job?
As a timeline, some schools will begin to advertise roles for the new school year in January. Some local authorities, agencies and multi-academy trusts (MATs) run teacher registration schemes, pools and databases, which enable you to complete a single application form and register an interest or apply to work with them, possibly for a particular school. Registrations may open any time, but commonly after Christmas for a September start date
Peak time for teaching adverts is usually February to as far as June, this is because 31st May is the final date for teachers to resign when leaving their jobs in the summer.
During this time, begin studying the adverts on employment websites like Docere to find out what roles are being advertised, what type of schools are advertising, and what they are actually looking for in a candidate, i.e. person specification/candidate requirements and responsibilities.
You should only start applying when you feel ready, only then will you create the best application to the schools you wish to work in. Get as much practical teaching experience as you can so that you understand your subject matter as much as possible and have examples to use in your supporting statement and during interviews.
Where should you apply?
Remember that there will be some schools where you cannot do your NQT induction, such as those requiring special measures after an Ofsted Inspection. Academies can provide induction for you, as can most (but not all ) Independent Schools. Check that they are registered with the Independent Schools Teacher Induction Panel first. Free Schools may also offer induction, but check that they already offered it last year; it might not be a good idea to be the guinea pig in their first year of supporting a NQT.
Don’t apply abroad
Don’t apply for an NQT job in a British school abroad as they cannot do NQT inductions. If you were to go abroad and then return to the UK, legally you would still be an NQT here and would still need to do your qualifying year. Complete your induction and gain experience in the UK first and then look for jobs more exotic locations. Higher quality schools abroad generally insist on candidates having at least one, preferably two years’ UK experience before they will consider you anyway.
How many schools should you apply for?
Apply for as many as you feel are genuinely of interest to you. Every headteacher will have a different idea of what makes a good application, so get your applications in to as many opportunities as you can.
Don’t just go for every school you see. Read the adverts carefully, look at the background information provided by and the school. Ask around; ask if some of your peers know anything about the schools that you are looking at.
How to find the right school for you
If you haven’t managed to secure a job or don’t feel ready to commit to a full-time teaching role, then supply teaching may be a good option for you. You usually need to register with an agency, which involves submitting an application form or CV then meeting with a recruitment agent.
Supply teaching can be challenging, but it can also be also a good way for you to get experience, try out different schools and get ideas. Ask around for personal recommendations of teaching agencies, look for ones which are strong in your area, or ask the schools you know. Using lots of supply agencies at once can be difficult to manage so consider starting with one or two agencies.
It helps to be able to drive, but you don’t need to – it will just limit the amount of work you can do. Agencies either book you in advance or you will get an early morning call, around 8 am. The more flexible you are, the more work you can get. As you get to know them more, you can work with the agencies to tell them your preferences and strengths.