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How do you get your first job in teaching?

How do you get your first job in teaching?

Alison Proudlove from the Manchester Metropolitan University provides guidance on the job hunting process for teachers to help you identify the role you want and succeed in getting it.

Finding your first teaching post doesn’t have to be stressful if you are well prepared and plan ahead.

Finding your first teaching post is a process that doesn't have to be stressful or difficult if you are well prepared and plan ahead. The following advice and tips on job hunting, applications and interview preparation will be helpful as you work towards getting your first teaching job.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the interview process may be different from usual. It’s important that you read job applications and interview instructions carefully so that you can prepare accordingly.

The job hunting process involves a number of stages. You will need to find the area where you want to teach, apply for any available positions and perform successfully at the interview stage.

While much of the information that follows will be relevant to applications for teaching jobs across all of the UK, make sure you read the specific advice for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

How to find the right teaching job for you

To identify teaching jobs you want to apply for, think about your preferences:

  • location – you probably won't want a long commute during your first year as a newly qualified teacher (NQT)
  • type and size of school
  • year group and key stage
  • teaching methods
  • school performance and reputation.

Application routes include:

  • specific vacancies advertised by the school
  • teacher registration schemes, databases and pool applications
  • speculative applications
  • agencies.

Specific vacancies are advertised from January. Teacher registration schemes and databases may start in the autumn and close in the spring. Speculative applications can be made at any time.

When you apply, make sure each application is tailored to the needs of the individual school and post applied for. This is mainly achieved through the personal statement or letter of application.

Applicants for teaching posts will be interviewed, usually by a panel, and required to teach a sample lesson.

When do you find out if you have succeeded at interview?

Most job offers are made shortly after the interview and some applicants may even be asked at interview if they would accept the role if offered. Head teachers are likely to expect a prompt answer to an offer of employment.

Unsuccessful candidates will usually be offered feedback on their application and interview, which can be very helpful when preparing for future applications.

What to expect during your induction

All teachers in the UK are required to complete an induction period. As part of the Department for Education’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy, the government is currently planning changes to the induction process for newly qualified teachers in England starting in September 2021. The new early career framework will involve early career teachers undertaking a two-year statutory induction (instead of the current one year). Early career teachers will continue to be assessed against the Teachers' Standards over the two-year period.

The framework entitles early career teachers to a fully funded two-year package of structured training and support for professional development. The support package includes:

  • funded for 5% time away from the classroom in the second year of teaching, in addition to the existing 10% in the first year
  • being funded training for NQTs 
  • the support of a designated mentor, who will also receive funded time and training to support NQTs

The early career framework can be completed through supply teaching (and also part time pro-rata), but the duration of each temporary role must be at least one term. 

See Hwb for specific information about the Welsh induction year and The General Teaching Council for Scotland about the Scottish probationary year via the Teacher Induction Scheme. Information on induction in Northern Ireland can be found at Education Authority Northern Ireland.

Usually the induction period is completed within a state-maintained school. However, it can be completed within an independent school, nursery school, pupil referral unit, further education college or one of the British Schools Overseas (BSOs) – subject to compliance with the regulations.

Teachers with early years teacher status (EYTS) working with children from birth to five years old do not complete the statutory NQT induction.

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