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Moving from Secondary to FE

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by elkemu, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. I am in my third year of teaching English in an 11-16 school and would like to start applying for jobs at sixth form colleges. Does anyone have any guidelines as to what particular attributes and experience FE colleges will be looking for?
    Also, I would love to hear from sixth form teachers and those who have experience at both key stages to know what, in your opinion, are the advantages or otherwise of making this switch.
    Any views and advice very gratefully received.
  2. I made the switch last year and moved from an 11-18 comp to FE and am loving every minute of it. No more dealing with constant behaviour problems and trying to teach students that have no interest in your subject. No more tutor groups and break duties and assemblies and .........and no more telling students to tuck their shirts in!

    It is a real pleasure to be teaching students that share your passion for the subject and want to learn, not many of those in most 11-16 schools from my experience.
    Looking at your original question, my college were looking for someone who had recent experience of teaching at A level and this was probably the first point on the person spec for the job. If your teaching in an 11-16 school that might be a problem with lack of recent experience at that level and that would be my biggest concern. In my experience the two main attributes were highly qualified (most lecturers having higher level of qualifications that in schools) and highly experienced, they were certainly not looking for an NQT or someone straight out of college.

    Hope this helps!
  3. Thank you, that's very helpful and your enthusiasm is encouraging! I work in Hampshire where pretty much all secondary schools are 11-16 with sixth form colleges taking care of KS5 so I'm hoping that the colleges will be used to seeing candidates without A level experience but who knows? In terms of qualifications, I have a BA, MA and PGCE (although my MA is in creative writing so may be regarded as a bit 'light'...) I should also mention that I was a late starter to the profession, being in my upper forties - don't know if this would be viewed as positive or not.
  4. My advice would be to go for it, apply for anything that comes up in your area and give it a go. My experience of working in FE has made me realise I should have done it years ago. However, I do believe I was rather lucky? to secure a full time post without any experience in the FE sector. In my interview I was ask the usually questions just like for a teaching job, but then given a skills test where I had to complete a written exam paper to test my subject knowledge and then mark 3 exam scripts according to the official mark scheme. Very different from a teaching interview. Furthermore, I didn't meet any of the other candidates, just had a time to turn up for my interview. Feedback after the interview was that they interviewed 6 candidates out of 20+ that applied but 3 of those where eliminated due to their performance on the skills test, so make sure your prepare yourself well on current subject knowledge required for the A level spec.

    Most colleagues at my college start off as agency workers, getting a foothold in that way but it's a big risk to give up a full time job to do some agency work at college in the hope of securing a full time position.

    In terms of qualifications, I have a good degree in my subject which was a requirement plus a masters plus pgce so very silo mar to you, however 4 members of my dept. have phd and I feel that my quals are perhaps at the minimum end of what's required for FE, particular if expecting to be teaching level 3 courses.

    Go for it, it so beats teachers In schools, you do feel like your valued which is something I rarely felt when teaching in schools.
  5. Thank you again, that is very helpful. I will absolutely go for it when something comes up, though that doesn't happen very often from what I can see. In the meantime I will do lots of homework on the A Level specs.

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