This article has been written in partnership with AGCAS.
Securing your first teaching post may seem like a daunting task but, with some forward planning, the process need not be difficult.
As a newly qualified teacher in England and Wales, you will have to complete an induction programme, and your first teaching job will offer this. Your induction can also be completed through supply teaching, but the duration of each temporary role must be at least one term.
What can you earn as a teacher?
Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in state-maintained schools in England usually start their careers on the minimum rate of the main pay range. The entry salary for the main pay scale in England for 2020/2021 is:
- £25,714 (excluding London)
- £26,948 (London fringe)
- £29,915 (outer London)
- £32,157 (inner London).
You can increase your salary by taking on additional tasks and responsibility. At all schools, there is flexibility to reward teachers based on their performance. Progression to the upper pay scale is available to all teachers.
When should you apply for teaching jobs?
You should start doing research and attend recruitment fairs as early as the autumn. By December and January, local authorities (LAs) will be advertising their pool applications.
In the new year, schools will start advertising their vacant roles. In the spring term, applications are opened to teacher registration schemes and databases. During April, many vacancies suitable for newly qualified teachers are advertised.
Also, 31 May is the final date when teachers leaving their jobs in the summer may resign, so there could be the possibility of more jobs around this time.
How are teaching jobs advertised?
Teaching jobs are advertised in different ways across the country. You will need to do your research into the area where you want to teach to find out how to apply for available roles. The four main ways of applying for a teaching job include:
- Specific vacancies: individual schools and multi-academy trusts recruit directly through their own advertisements and selection procedures. Advertisements for teaching posts start in January, and the peak time is between February and June. This is how most schools recruit for teaching posts.
- Pool applications, teacher registration schemes and databases: you register an interest to work for a school or within a particular LA area and complete a single application form. Applicants may be visible for selection by head teachers or centrally matched to criteria and sent to schools that have opportunities. Some operate centralised selection processes prior to matching to individual vacancies. Registrations may open in the autumn; check with your LA for dates.
- Speculative applications: these are also made directly to the school; you will probably be more successful if you already have contacts at the school.
- Agencies: increasing numbers of teaching applications are handled by agencies including permanent NQT posts. Registration with an agency will usually involve submitting an application form or CV followed by a meeting with a recruitment agent.
What to include in your personal statement or cover letter
As part of your application, you will be asked to include a personal statement and/or cover letter. This is sometimes referred to as a supporting statement and will be the heart of your application; it should highlight your education, your experience and why you are the best candidate for the role. It should be re-written for each application and must include:
- why you are applying for the role
- details about your course
- your teaching experience
- your classroom management strategies
- your visions and beliefs about primary/secondary education
- other related skills, experience and interests.
What will you be asked in your interview?
Interview questions will cover specific topics about your teaching subject or age range, how you approach behaviour management, assessment and overcoming challenges, and the current issues facing education.
Interviewers will be keen to know how well you could work with other teachers and other adults in the classroom, along with how you will relate to parents. Supporting your answers with examples will strengthen their impact.
Questions are likely to cover:
- yourself and your choice of school or local authority
- handling professional issues in the classroom
- behaviour management
- pastoral care
- your approach to working with parent and other adults
- your career development.
You'll find more detailed tips on applying for teaching jobs elsewhere in the teaching advice on TARGETjobs, including sample CVs and personal statements.