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Employment prospects for primary school teachers

Discussion in 'Primary' started by clementines, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. I'm starting a PGCE in Sept 2012, but am becoming increasingly worried about my future employment prospects.

    Practically every week there is some mention of the extra 450,000 places needed in primary schools by 2015, so I never imagined a problem finding a job. However, having read various posts on this forum that suggest there are 100 applicants for primary school job, I now wonder whether I should decline my offer before I fork out almost 9000 in fees.

    My PGCE will be middle years (KS2/KS3) with a specialism in Maths and I live in the southeast, Kent to be precise.
  2. By the way....I should mention that although I'll be studying for middle years, I dearly want to work in a primary school as a maths specialist teacher. The reason I'm doing this PGCE instead of KS1/KS2 is because it gives me the opportunity to specialise in a core subject, and also will give me some insight into transition to secondary.
  3. We have teachers who enjoy maths and we have a maths co-ordinator but we don't have a maths specialist as such in our primary school. Do you envisage that you will only teach maths? If so, then I doubt you will find it easy to secure a full-time position. Maths is usually taught in the mornings so even if you found a school who could use you for maths only, it would probably only be for mornings and I doubt another school would be willing to take you on as well if it meant moving all maths lessons to the afternoons.
  4. Maybe you should go and do some work experience in primary schools in your local area and ask the staff about your concerns.
  5. Not to mention that usually, all Numeracy lessons are taught at the same time?!
  6. Well if it helps recent applications to our school has been under 20 for each job. We are not in special measures or anything. In fact our levels have been improving but recently we haven't had as many applications. So there may be other schools similar. I think a lot of people don't want the uncertainty and are sticking with their jobs. (also SE btw)
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Many schools do now have a Maths Specialist Teacher (MaST) but this is from a masters programme usually for teachers a few years or more into their careers. But this person is very often also the maths co-ordinator and leads improvements in the teaching and learning of maths. So while you may well be a subject specialist, you won't really be in a position to have that sort of influence for a few years.

    To be honest you have as much chance of securing a role as an NQT as the next person if you want a year 5 or 6 post. But this obviously limits the posts you can apply for. Even ones just advertised as KS2 might well have your application on the no pile if the HT knows they probably will need a year 3 teacher.
    Doing maths as a subject specialism won't be a great enough advantage to outweigh the disadvantage of the middle years course.

    Having said all that...you would be very well placed to secure a post in a prep school or in a middle school if there are any near you. Maths specialist teaching, years 5-8 (more or less) plus other bits and bobs of subject teaching would possibly suit you.
  8. We have a lady who teaches year 5 and 6 maths so she does that before play for one year group and after for the other but still only in the morning.
  9. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    Are you assuming most schools set for maths? In my LA this is not a common occurance so wouldn't be relevant.
    Carrie [​IMG]
  10. I agree I'd want someone Prinary School trained. Sorry!
  11. MizUnderstood

    MizUnderstood New commenter

    In my last placement school all Maths lessons across all year groups were taught during the first morning session and they weren't in sets, so unless a 'maths specialist' is able to teach 360 children at once or can be in 12 seperate classrooms at once they would have had a grand total of 5 hours teaching per week, I assumed this is what nqtworcester meant.
    To the OP there are some Primary PGCEs that have subject specialisms, I know Exeter does for one, but at least you would the relevant experience and training that HTs are looking for.
  12. CB123

    CB123 New commenter

    I did a similar course about 10 years ago. It was a KS2 / 3 course and specialised in maths. Mine was 2 years. In the first year I did both primary and secondary placements and in year 2 you focused on the area you wanted to get a job in , so I did primary.
    Although it specialised in maths I was taught along side primary students for the primary aspect and taught every subject, just like a primary student when on placement. I think it has really helped me. I started by working in year 5 & 6 and it gave me some grea knowledge of transition and what would be expected of the children on a secondary school. I have since taught in various areas of a primary school and lead maths across the school.
    Personally I think specialising in a core subject was a good move (well it worked for me)
    Good luck !
  13. I started my PGCE Middle Years specialising in English in 2008 - I had no idea how hard it would be to get a job. I did not secure one to start in the September - despite applying for EVERYTHING and going on a whole load of visits. I had joined 2 supply agencies and did voluntary work at a local school just to keep myself in school. I then didnt get any supply work until mid October and then was lucky if I averaged 1 - 2 days a week. A friend of mine was working in a school then let me know of a supply vacancy at her school in the folloiwng January but it was in KS1 and I had only ever done 1 weeks supply in KS1 so I was really nervous about it. Thankfully the school gave me a chance and 3 years on I am still at the school, permanent, and now have experience of KS1, 2 and 3. It was soooo tough to get a job but doing my PGCE was the best move I could make. I think what you have to realise is that whatever you think you would "prefer" to do goes out the window when you are offered a job that does not fit what you "want" - get your foot in the door and then focus on specialising would be my advice.
  14. It also depends on where in the country you would like to work. In my area, numbers of primary aged children are failing. Two schools have closed with in a 3 mile radius that 20 years ago had 300 children per school.
    Where I teach, we are destined to lose 1 teacher next year and another the year after.
    However the school which my niece attends has over 500 pupils up from about 180 a few years ago. A woman who I once worked with has no one taking her subject in September so will lose her job.
    Teaching is a gamble. It is no longer a job for life.
  15. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    I know the BEd KS2/3 programme is very well sought after by many head teachers as students spend four years studying key stages 2, 3, 4 and are knowledgeable of transition issues. They also tend to have a lot of Educational Theory which enhances your pedagogy and makes you a more reflective practitioner. The downside to this course is you spend less time in one particular age range than those who choose the Early Years, Primary or Secondary courses.
    Although the PGCE will have less input - I know it is still highly valued.
    You will be qualified to teach in Primary and Secondary. You may need to spend a few years in Secondary before your dream job comes up in Primary....but is that such a bad thing?
    And people may laugh at schools employing specialist teachers in years 5 and 6 but this is where schools are likely to head towards in 2014/2015 when the new curriculum is finally released. Michael Gove and Nick Gibbs have made it clear they would like students at upper key stage 2 to be taught by specialist English, Maths, Science and PE teachers. This idea may seem absurd and not possible.........but five years ago did any of us think that 50% of secondary schools would be academies out of LA funding and free to deliver their own curriculum? Did any of us predict a move away from ICT as a potential core subject? Education is changing rapidly and anything is possible with the current Education Secretary!
    Good luck in your studies. My final advice would be to go for it. A truly passionate teacher would rather try and fail than not even give it a try. There will always be Secondary Maths jobs. Currently 19 in my county.
  16. Kent and the South East are still areas of growth and the jobs market is far better here than in other parts of the country. And bear in mind that out of 100 applications, there will be many that don't meet the selection criteria, including some from people who aren't actually teachers (aft I know, but many people just apply for anything!) If you are qualifying for KS2 and 3, you will be qualified to teach in any school, children of any age, as you will have QTS, but your specialism is Maths. Your course will train you to teach every subject to children of Y3-Y6 and Maths to Y7, 8 and 9. Your experience will be broad and your specialism valuable- if you do well on school placement, you may find that you'll be offered a job in a placement school.

    There is no doubt that the jobs market is slowing- fewer of my students on a PGCE in London have jobs than this time last year- but the more organised and dedicated students are always the ones to get jobs first, and as long as you take good advice on writing applications and interviewing, you'll be fine. Go for it, and enjoy your course!
  17. Thanks for the replies. I'm not expecting to teach ONLY maths in a primary school setting....in fact, teaching a broad spectrum of subjects is one of the things that has really drawn me to primary school teaching. But I always loved maths, have been an accountant for the past 12 years, so know that is really an area that I can shine in. Unfortunately the university doesn't have a maths specialism in primary, just middle years. But it does give me extra employment opportunities should I struggle to get a job in a primary. But I've heard from some of the current cohort that their placement schools allowed them to spend some time in KS1 and KS4 so that they have some experience all the way through.
  18. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    On your secondary school placement you will definitely have the opportunity to teach KS4 (unless you are in a middle school).
    The KS2/3 course is poorly named. It should be called Junior and Secondary Education.
    I am very much in favour of your course (you only have to read my past posts). Good luck and enjoy!

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