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How frequent is too frequent to move schools?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by venny414, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    After having a conversation with my PGCE student I'm just looking for some input from others really. Would something like 4 schools in 5 years be too much moving? Would your application be laughed out of the door if that were the case?

    Any personal experience?
  2. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    No real answer here. Many prospective employers would possibly be put off by this and the CV in question would go in the bin, or at least to the bottom pile.

    Then again, depending on the school, subject area, experiences of the person with hiring authority, etc., the person may get an interview and a chance to explain/clarify about the constant moving of schools.

    In the int'l school community it would certainly rule you out of many of the bigger/better schools. Others will be much better equipped to speak to the likely reaction locally.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Let's just say that there may be concerns.

    The possible concerns might be:
    • That you jumped before you were pushed
    • That you are a difficult colleague
    • That you are not a sticker but a gadabout
    • That you might prove to be worthy of pushing out, a difficult colleague or a gadabout in their school, so they would have to go through the appointment procedure next year. Or sooner!
    A school actually invests quite a bit of time, effort and money into appointing someone, and then, even if not NQT, providing informal induction. They expect this investment to pay off over several years. Someone who, in the past, has shown that they do not pay back this investment could seem like a bad bet.

    My suggestion is that you (it is you?) bite the bullet and stay longer in a school. 3 years, say, to show that you can.

    If you cannot stay, you need to be open about it in your application.

    I have worked in X schools over the last X years, due to moving as my partner changed jobs/attempting to get nearer my family/my subject being dropped from the curriculum/whatever you can say truthfully. I am now keen to join a school where I can make a wide contribution to both the academic and wider life of the school community over a prolonged period. I want to make a long-term commitment to ensuring the best-possible future for our students as they leave us to go on to further study or the job market.

    Obviously you can only say it if it is true. The last sentence would not be true, for example, if you are a Primary teacher.

    But your best strategy is to stick where you are.

    Best wishes

  4. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    As Theo has said you need to provide an explanation for the number of schools. If I was shortlisting and I saw 4 schools in 5 years then it would ring alarm bells with me.

    An explanation would be helpful but I would still have some doubts.

    Sorry if that was not the answer you wanted to hear.
    Middlemarch likes this.
  5. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    It depends on reasons. But it would raise questions.

    Eg. A friend had some appalling and judgmental feedback at one interview based on moving around. The school gave 'unemployable' and 'unable to hold a job' as feedback. Whilst honest (unlike some you get), my thought was why bother shortlisting him if that was such a big sticking point! Total waste of everyone's time.

    I once left a school after just under 2 years because a promoted post came up in my area and there wasn't anything in my original school. Some people were less than supportive but the people that mattered in SLT were great about it.

    As posters have said, it's whether the school think reasons are good enough. And for what it's worth 'not being the right school' probably would work once if accompanied with reflections but not for that many schools.
  6. 9497

    9497 New commenter

    In ten years I have worked in well over 15 schools. Either on short term supply, maternity, or temporary contracts. I cannot get any interviews for any local school any more. I finally got a permanent job and that has now turned to excrement. Coupled with an numerous assumptions that my subject knowledge is suspect (linked to the fact that various HODs do not understand the subject my degree and masters is in) I have now got the hint and I am leaving the "profession"
  7. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I followed Theo's advice and it did help - I 'returned' to secondary a few years ago. I had a one-term temporary position, then a year-fixed term, etc. I addressed that in my cover letter and pointed out that a) I was looking for a permanent position and b) I had, previous to these two short secondary posts, worked in a language school for 6 years and at a university, the 4 years before that. It helped potential employers realise that I was already aware of their concerns and reassure them that I did have' staying power'. It was addressed briefly at interview, but out of 10 applications (1 for a university post,1 filled before the deadline, so 8), I was shortlisted for 4 and offered a job at interview 4, a permanent job in a school I really enjoy.

    Good luck!

    PS. However, if your circumstances are somewhat less clear, then perhaps staying where you are a bit longer would be best.....
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    It really irritates me that employers look badly on people who have 'moved around.' Many have probably been forced to as an initial spell of 'moving around' leads to the 'mover around' getting temporary contracts rather than permanent and then its a Catch 22 situation. (Much like if one has a poor credit history a favourable interest rate loan might actually help that person to get out of debt?!)
    While I understand why it may lead to reservation and it might be justified for some people,some heads need to accept we do not all have nice little identikit career paths.
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  9. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    In fact, just as those who travel around cannot be discriminated against, (one cannot use the g word anymore) so it should be the same for people who have worked in several places. One successful case in court and those who have worked in several places in a short time will have their day. Up the workers!
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I moved around a lot in the middle part of my career so far. Purely because my life panned out that way. 4 schools in 5 years would be about right. I just added a paragraph at the end of my letter/statement to address it and it was never a problem. I suppose it depends on the reason you give for leaving each post, which was part of the application form so worked in my favour.
    Being a maths specialist also helped! :)
  11. starsunshine10

    starsunshine10 New commenter

    I have moved around a lot and it has never stopped me from getting jobs. If anything, it has probably helped due to my 'varied' experience. However, I live in London and I believe it is more common for teachers to move around here. I have also covered a couple of maternity leave positions. Like the above poster suggested, always give clear reasons for leaving on your employment history.
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  12. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    As well as explaining the reason for so many moves, the other thing to do is to talk up the positives - you will presumably have been able to draw on the best practice from each school in developing your own teaching, might have taught several exam syllabuses, and be used to establishing yourself quickly with new classes. You might have had less opportunity to make longer-term contributions beyond your own classroom, so make sure you mention anything you have done in that line.
    wanet likes this.
  13. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    The issue about temporary contracts is a whole different issue. It is obvious why these people have not stayed in a job for a long time......
    rachelpaula008 likes this.
  14. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Many Heads still seem to look down on those who have had temporary contracts.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  15. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    And where does your proof of this come from? I have taken on staff who have been on temporary contracts and it is not important to me whether they are on a permanent or temporary contract.

    The quality of teaching is the most important factor.
    wanet and rachelpaula008 like this.
  16. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    They look down on you if you have been on supply for any period of time ,what ever the circumstances. They assume you dont want real job and that you are out of date with systems.In reality you could have a wider,more varied range of experience more than any other.
    In the past we considered 5 years the max n any school..as by then you proved you were able to do the task and so moved for experience of promotion,
    wanet likes this.
  17. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    I don't think that you should really care about how much a school has 'invested' in your recruitment and induction. That is not your problem, and you must do what is right for you and your career. If a school wants you, then they will employ you. If they don't, they won't.

    If schools and headteachers valued their staff enough, they wouldn't necessarily leave. If schools and head teachers followed a well known businessmans advice they might not have the crisis on their hands that they have.
    "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to"
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  18. rachelpaula008

    rachelpaula008 Star commenter

    I don't agree, based on my personal experience. My CV for the last 2 1/2 years looked terrible, with a couple of temporary contracts and lengthy periods of doing nothing. I'd experienced WRS along with a very unhappy personal situation. I was completely open about it and secured a job.
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    The point I was making is that schools will care about this.

    Best wishes

  20. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    I do understand and appreciate that, but one of the points I was making was that if a school wants an individual enough, they won't care about the number of jobs they have had.
    Best wishes

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