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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.
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.
Most of the information that follows is relevant to applications for teaching jobs across the UK but for specific advice for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland please see:
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/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
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 year
All teachers in the UK are required to complete an induction year lasting one academic year (pro rata for part time). This can be completed through supply teaching, 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 induction year. Information on induction in Northern Ireland can be found at Education Authority Northern Ireland.
You should not teach more than 90% of a normal timetable during induction. In addition, you will receive a minimum of 10% PPA (planning, preparation and assessment) time. You are entitled to a planned induction programme that has been tailored to your needs.
You will be assessed against the core professional standards for teachers, and you should also be appointed an induction tutor who provides day-to-day monitoring and support.
Usually the induction year is completed within a maintained school. However, it can be completed within an independent school, nursery school, British schools overseas (BSOs), pupil referral unit or further education college 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 year.