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Finding a job for September 2012 - where and when to look!

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by John_in_Luton, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Herewith the annual update of this post, with topical advice on the jobs market. Hope you find it useful in job-hunting.
    Jobs are growing ever harder to come by, so you can't afford to be complacent, and the wider the geographical range you can cover when applying, the better your chances. Things have been difficult for primary teachers for two or three years now, and last year I noticed that recruitment of secondary teachers in my schools was down, even for subjects like science - the only thing we couldn't get enough of was English teachers.
    When do jobs start coming up for a September start?
    The main season for applying for jobs is between March and May, but the application process starts earlier than that, and a few people may be lucky enough to land a job offer by Christmas, or early January.One early indicator of the recruitment season is the university recruitment fair. Many of the universities will hold a recruitment fair, which is when people like me from the local authorities will roll up and try to convince you that ours is the only local authority you could possibly wish to work for (true in the case of Luton, of course, but the other 150-odd local authorities are liars, don't believe a word they say!).
    Find out from your careers department if your university is holding a fair, and if it is, make sure you go along - you can pick up a lot of useful advice on the jobs market in particular areas, as well as coming away with an armful of freebies (Luton has a splendid line in highlighters, for example, and I sometimes have a large tin of chocolates with me too. We know how to look after our NQTs). I usually start getting shopping lists for NQTs from the high schools just before Christmas, and the first appointments in primary schools across the country tend to be in late January or early February - though in Luton we run a pool for primary, so most of my schools will hang fire and see who they can snap up by that route. Pools vary, in deadlines, process and effectiveness, and not all authorities have them - in the eastern region, for example, it's only us and Suffolk. In our case, everyone who is accepted on to our pool will get a job here, and that's probably true for the London ones as well for example, but I have heard that in other parts of the country where there is less demand (e.g. the north west), the pools don't always work as quickly or as well. The advantage of a pool like ours is that you only get put through the interview mill once - survive the experience and you go on the list, and that's it, you just sit back and wait for the offers to flood in, no more sweating over application forms every weekend. Find out from Local Authority websites, or at recruitment fairs, whether the ones you're interested in have a pool.
    As I've said, the first job appointments will happen in late December for secondary, and probably late January for primary, but the bulk of you will get jobs between Easter and the end of May, which is the peak period. It tends to be governed by the resignation deadline, whereby any teacher currently in post and looking to move to a new school for September has to submit their resignation by May 31. And there is a noticeable domino effect created by senior appointments; the head of School A retires or moves on, creating a vacancy; the job is advertised, and the deputy of School B is appointed to the headship (probably a couple of months or so down the line), creating a vacancy for a deputy; some weeks later, the assistant head of School C is appointed to that post, and so on until somewhere in May, school F suddenly discovers that a teacher is moving on for a promotion, and they need an NQT to replace them. And that's where you come in.
    Where do you look for jobs?
    Well, to some extent that's down to phase, and also geography. Secondary schools tend to advertise in the TES, and primaries are more likely to go for Local Authority websites and the local papers. The D of E has its much-touted Schools Recruitment Service, but it's not as widely used by schools or LAs as it tries to claim. The Guardian is also trying to muscle in on the advertising market at the moment, so it might be worth looking there too. Word of mouth can be crucial, so keep your ears open for your friends, or other teachers when you're out on placement, telling you about jobs going in the school down the road. As for the market, jobs for primary teachers are few and far between in the north and the south west, so in places like Exeter or Liverpool a primary school may well get something like 300 applications for one job (one NQT post in the north west a couple of years ago attracted 1,000 applicants, so I heard). So if you're in those areas and you can relocate, at least to get a couple of years' experience under your belt, you're better off looking at London and the south east (and especially, of course, Luton), where there's less competition.
    For secondary, it depends on subject. Traditionally, the hardest subjects to recruit to have been English, maths and science, though last year as I commented above English was the only one of these we really struggled for (though there was also a history post that gave me a few headaches trying to fill). Other subjects often depend on whether the local university trains teachers in it or not, so for example in this area we have a shortage of geography teachers but that won't be the case 50 miles up the road in Cambridge, where the university has a geography course. And if your subject is art, or history, you might want to consider casting your net over as wide an area as possible when looking for jobs. It's also worth finding out whether your preferred Local Authority has a Teacher Recruitment department, i.e. someone like me, that can advise you on local procedures. I operate a central clearing house for applications, both primary and secondary, which is why I refer to the schools sending me their shopping lists - they tell me what subjects they need, and I go through all the applications I receive centrally and pass them on to the schools for them to contact you directly. Some other authorities operate similar systems, though obviously they won't do it as well as me. It's worth your finding out, anyway. The more different options you have, the better. So keep your eye open for recruitment fairs; they're mostly between October and February half terms, and I (or my colleagues if there's two on the same day) will be doing the rounds of them. We've already got dates for some of them, but there are some still to confirm, and not all universities will have a recruitment fair. If yours doesn't, and there's another university nearby that is holding a fair, you might be able to sneak in. I'll put posts here to update you as new dates for fairs are confirmed, and I'm sure others like m'learned friend the WelshWizard will also contribute their pennyworth - but if your university is holding a fair and I don't mention it here, tip me off because it means us lot in the south east (where the jobs are) don't know about it.
    If you're looking for advice on the next steps, the unions produce booklets with good advice, there are TheoGriff's posts on the Jobseeker forum on how to write an application, my colleagues in other authorities can advise you on local conditions, and if you sign up with me at a fair I also email out advice on the various stages along with my regular job alerts on posts coming up in Luton (some of which are not advertised as the schools have come to depend on what they can recruit through me). And if you find this post useful, one more tip - if you reply to it, it helps to keep it bumped up onto the front page of this forum so other student teachers are likely to see it too, and hopefully benefit from it or at least be reassured!

     
  2. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Hey, what happened to the careful paragraphing I put in?
     
  3. Good info there.

    One thing I'll add, if you're secondary: TES alerts. Set one (or two, or three) up now. Then sit back and let TES email you the details of jobs in your area and subject. All you need to do is to check your email daily.
     
  4. Don't forget Eteach too, excellent search website.
     
  5. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Be aware that eteach coverage varies, often by region, so may not work for you depending where you're looking, though I'd agree that you've got nothing to lose by getting job alerts through them - the more information you've got coming in, the better. Tap into every grapevine you can, not forgetting the local free papers if you're targetting a specific area, so you don't miss that solitary ad for the job in your dream school!
     
  6. Thanks for the advice, Luton is a little out of my way (looking for Yorkshire or Manchester area) but useful advice none the less.

    Would after my first placement be a good time to start looking in earnest?
     
  7. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    The key piece of advice is to research how the jobs are filled in the areas you are interested in. If your university holds a teacher recruitment fair or similar this is a good place to get information directly from the recruiters. The situation does vary around the country but generally you will find that most LA's operate some form of pool or central application system for primary candidates. In some places there are also borough or county interviews used to help form a shortlist for future vacancies. In secondary there are some LA's who operate a central register, email alert system or database of applicants, I don't think any LA now does central secondary interviews but alway check.Remember there are seoarate processes for city authorities like Manachester as well as Counties Lancashire.
    Use your university careers service and tutors there is a lot of information out there about making successful applications but above all do tailor the application to suit the school/area.
    Good hunting
     
  8. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Some still do secondary interviews, WW - I think Suffolk do, and we're looking at running a (small) secondary pool for the first time this year.
    As WW says, the key is research. The jobs market in secondary tends to start up a few weeks before the primary one, so if you're secondary you need to be up and running and ready to wing off applications any time from Christmas onwards, whereas for primary the earliest appointments tend to be late January. Peak season for both is still March to May, and last year the market for secondary was much slower than usual, with many of us reporting that numbers of secondary NQTs were well down for this September. Whether this will continue for next year's recruitment round is anyone's guess at this stage, but unless you're training to teach science or English in which case there is still demand, you can't afford to rest on your laurels.
    It's worth doing some research on what systems and processes the Local Authorities have in the areas you're looking at, and also finding out how effective these are. For example, if you sign up for a pool (predominantly a primary phenomenum, of course), how likely is it that you will get a job from it? I manage the numbers in our pool so that everyone who gets through the interview is placed by the beginning of June, but I heard of one pool in the north west a couple of years ago that still had 300 people on it at the beginning of September...
     
  9. Hi, I found your post on my thread very useful so I think I will be visiting your fair when you come to Edge Hill this year. What I have been wondering about is how much of an advantage I would be at as a male going into Primary. Thanks.
     
  10. I completely agree. Many candidates are SURE they can teach simply because they have passed teacher training. I would never use the male shortage card to get a job, I would always present myself as the best person for the job. My course means I will be able to apply for Secondary posts as well, however, it is my ambition to teach in Primary.
     
  11. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    As well as the points my erudite Celtic friend has raised, for primary you need to show you can teach all the curriculum areas. You shouldn't, in principle, have a problem in being considered for KS2 posts, but because of your training the doubt might exist in a head's mind as to your breadth of subject knowledge, so make sure you dispel any impression on that score. I remember one candidate I interviewed last year, whose application focussed on one subject, in her demo lesson (where we gave her a fairly open brief) she chose to teach a lesson in that same subject, and in the interview all the examples she gave were from that subject. She didn't get through the interview because we feared she might be a one-trick pony, and when I debriefed her afterwards it came out that she'd made a conscious decision to focus on what she thought was her strength, and forgotten that for primary you need to be an all-rounder.
    And by the way, if your long-term goal is teaching across the primary age range, your entry point is still KS2 with your training background. Once you're in a primary school and you've shown what you can do for a year or two, you can move through the key stages easily enough if that's what you want.
     
  12. Thanks for your help. I totally agree with the point of being an all-rounder. Luckily my course will provide me with this skill, as I will be trained in all the core subjects as well as the foundation subjects, English is just my specialism. I have to ask, is it common for teachers in the North to gain posts in the South where there are more vacancies? For me personally, I would be more than happy to move to gain a job. Is this what your fair is about? Thanks.
     
  13. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    London and the South East employs teachers from all over the country,it is however getting more competitive as local courses now produce more teachers. The key factors are a good application form and ensuring you apply in time. Most LA's/ or their agencies, operate a primary pool application system so ensure that your application meets any deadlines required. In addition you need to be serious about every application there is no point in wasting time on applications to places you will not really work in. To do this research beforehand and find out about the area , living costs, pressures etc.
     
  14. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    At present the running total of NQTs who have come through my sticky paws to be appointed to NQT posts in Luton primary schools this September shows that 45% are not from the local area of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Our third largest provider of primary NQTs this year is the University of Cumbria.
    I would imagine that a number of London Boroughs, like Newham for example, will have a not dissimilar profile.
     
  15. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Around 15-20% of NQTs train outside of London in my borough ( North East London)-this equates to 12-15 primary posts per year- but you will find a very different profile in the South West London boroughs. This is where the majority of universities are based so the numbers of graduating teachers are greater and they tend to stay in the local area so very few train outside of London. Essex too will have a similar profile to Luton ( sorry John it must be the white stilettos!)
     
  16. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    No apology needed, WW, I quite understand about your stilettos.
    Just to expand on the fairs, these are events held in a number of universities, though not all - I cover around 30 each year. They set a date when Local Authorities and others - sometimes including the commercial supply agencies, depending on the university - are invited in to put up a stand and try to attract the students into applying for jobs in their schools. So, if you're a student in that university, it's a chance to walk round getting information about the job market in those areas, and how to apply or get yourself added to mailing lists for job alerts. The main season runs from mid October till the end of January - this year it opens on October 17 at UEA in Norwich, and WW and I will be posting reminders here as the dates for particular fairs come closer.
     
  17. Thanks to you and WW for your kind help. I like having this kind of information, it takes away so much stress, especially with how the graduate job market is at the moment. I think it's great that fairs are running up in the North (Edge Hill) to recruit teachers for the South. I would like to move as I have spent my whole life in the North West. Thanks again for your help and hope the fair goes well in East Anglia.
     
  18. Thanks for all the advice! I have been looking for perfect teacher jobs for some time; my school is doing lay offs and unfortunately, I was one of them. Hoping that I find a job soon and will implement your advice. Thanks.

    Suzy
     
  19. Thanks for such a thorough post John_in_Luton [​IMG]
    I am about to start PGCE Secondary Maths (Monday), can I just check I have understood this correctly:
    "a few people may be lucky enough to land a job offer by Christmas, or early January"
    Do you mean those just starting training now can apply for NQT jobs for Sept 2012 after only having done 3-4 months of the training? I knew I'd be starting to look for a job before I had completed my course but didn't realise I'd need to be on the ball quite so early on...
    Thanks,
    Nim
     

  20. Thanks for this post, I have found it very useful!
    When does the whole pool process begin and should you still pursue your own job search whilst waiting for the results of this?
    I'm in East London so hopefully that is to my advantage however I'm not too sure what the job market is like around here. Shall have to investigate.
    Thanks again!
     

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