Teachers are in high demand at the moment, but there is still tough competition as NQTs look to enter the job market at the same time every year.
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
- Start looking early and don’t just apply to any school.
- Think about what’s important to you, considering the ethos, site, size and catchment of the school you’d like to work at.
- Visit any schools you’ll be interviewing at, as this will help you to get a feel for the school and find out if it fits your preferences beforehand.
- Take time to read recent Ofsted reports – identify points for improvement, and consider if you have the skills to help in these areas.
- Think about the support that is being offered to you as an NQT
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.
Teacher Case Study
Job Searching after a Decade of Teaching-Catherine’s Tips
After teaching for nearly a decade at the same school, Catherine found herself seeking a new teaching environment and thus found herself in an unfamiliar situation, searching for employment…..she shares her advice below.
As a teacher, who has been teaching for more than 10 years, and has recently had to look for a new job, I must say the task was daunting to say the very least. There were a few things that I decided that I needed to make sure the ‘perfect job’ had.
- Whether the schools were feasible to get to / back from after a day of teaching.
- The socio-economic status of the school (my experience is all based in low socioeconomic schools and with challenging children)
- What the school felt like during the walk around. I would always advise this, you can tell a lot about a school just by walking around it.
Then I focused on making my application stand out:
- Use a funky paperclip / bulldog clip to keep everything together
- Use a simple but professional front cover
- Follow the guidelines to the letter (if it says use black ink, certain font, make sure to use those! )
Then I researched the school as much as I could, social media and the internet are a great source of information. If they don’t have social media, this would be a point to talk around (for me as I have created and overseen social media previously).
Finally, I made notes on what I could offer the school. These were put into a NEW notebook that was small enough to keep in my interview bag, so I could look over it during the lulls between observation and interview.
- What were my biggest achievements? What had I learnt? Why did I want to work at this school?
- How could I be an asset to the school?
- Any data information that I could explain and bring to the school.