For those of you who are in your final year of training and starting to hear the word 'pool' bandied about, this is a brief, general outline of how they work. (you might find more information in my post on the student teachers forum on the topic of the job hunting season). Basically, they're a system for centralised recruitment in a particular area, rather than schools having to advertise on an individual basis. Pools tend to be run by Local Authorities, though not all of us have them. In my region, for example, there are only two - me in Luton, and Suffolk. Milton Keynes have had a pool in previous years, though I'm not sure if they're doing one this time. There are lots in London, and a few scattered around other parts of the country; I know of a couple in the north west, for example. Deadlines for applications will vary; the earliest tend to close in late January, mine closes at February half term, some run until April. The majority are just for primary teachers, not secondary. They're all different, so to find out exactly how a particular pool works, you need to go onto the website of that particular authority and check. To illustrate, ours and Suffolk's probably represent the two extremes. We put our candidates through a full interview, including teaching a lesson, in front of a mixed panel of heads and LA reps, but for those who are successful, there is no second interview - they go on a list, and schools then pick candidates off that list and invite them in for an informal look round before offering them the post. In Suffolk, my understanding is that the 'pool' is simply a list, from which headteachers will select the candidates they like the look of and invite them in for an interview. One other question that it might be worth your asking when contemplating a pool is, how many teachers from it will get jobs. For ours, everyone on the list will be offered a job here (usually by the end of May, though I caught a bit of a cold this year when the jobs market collapsed along with the economy, and it was the last day of the summer term before I got the last one placed - phew! I'm setting a cap on numbers for this coming spring so the same thing doesn't happen again). The London pools will also probably offer full employment. In the north west, however, it will be different, and I wouldn't place all your eggs in the basket of one particular pool - not all schools will go through the pool to recruit, and I remember a couple of years ago one pool in a large authority in the north west still had about 300 people in it waiting for jobs at the beginning of September (in fact one or two enlightened ones gave up on it in the end and moved down south to join my schools!). Hope this helps. Questions?