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Pools, what they are, and how they work

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by John_in_Luton, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    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?
     
  2. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    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?
     
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Great going, John! many thanks for this.
    I asked John to write this for you NQTs, and also asked WelshWizard to write the thread on writing your personal statement. Hope they help you out!
    Don't get left behind - already there are jobs being advertised for September 2010 in the independent sector, many saying that they are suitable for NQTs. The maintained sector schools will be advertising from January to fill their places for September.
    Best of luck to all NQT JobSeekers.
     
  4. Hi John,
    Thanks for the advice.
    I know you said you are not responsible for London, but just wondered if you knew whether you have to apply to each LA in London separately or if there is a centralised system? Either way, when would you suggest applying by?

    Thanks again
     
  5. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    As far as I know, some boroughs operate a consortium approach - I think Richmond and the surrounding area do - while the majority act independently. Your best bet is to track down a passing WelshWizard - he probably knows.
    As for when to apply, depends on the deadline. Leave it as late as you reasonably can (though not the absolute last minute), because you're buying time to accumulate more school-based experience to flesh out your application.
     
  6. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    As far as I know they don't have one. The only fairs I've ever seen them at are Winchester and Southampton (and maybe they'll be at Portsmouth this year, as they're holding a recruitment fair for the first time) so if you're at one of those universities then maybe your careers department will have some information. Otherwise, go back to the County Council website and try to track down a teacher recruitment team. Failing that, try tracking down the school advisory service, or if not there, then schools' HR.
    And remember that places like Southampton are unitary authorities, so not covered by the County Council and will have their own websites, processes etc.
     
  7. Hi, if I qualified last in July 2009 can I still apply to NQT pools this year for a September start? I have been doing supply and private tutoring so haven't started my NQT year yet. I didn't apply to a pool last year as I'm in the South West but I'm looking to apply to the Bracknell Forest pool for jobs starting next September?
     
  8. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Check with individual pool organisers. As far as Luton is concerned I wouldn't have a problem with accepting your application, but I can't speak for others.
     
  9. Just in case anyone was interested..... I emailed the Bracknell Forest recruitment team and they are happy for 2009 NQTs to apply as well as those qualifying this year.
     
  10. For anyone in the North West, mostly in the Manchester area I have ahd a ring around the Local Authorities and the following ones have teaching pools;
    Bury Metrpolitan Borough Council - www.bury.gov.uk
    Manchester - www.manchester.gov.uk/education/teaching/nqt
    Oldham - www.oldham.gov.uk
    Salford - www.salford.gov.uk
    Stockport - www.stockport.gov.uk/jobs
    and possibly
    Tameside - www.tameside.gov.uk/jobs/teachers - I have not recieved proper confirmation of this yet but jobs are still advertised online, as are the other Local Authorities alongside the pools

     
  11. Hello John and Theo
    I am thinking about applying to the Milton Keynes pool and found out their deadline for references is February 26th. This seems worryingly early - I asked my course tutor when she would give me a reference and she replied that she had written me a "first draft" which would be updated and improved as I progressed through school practice 2 and showed evidence of meeting more of the standards (sadly I did not pass my first practice and am due to be reviewed earlier than my peers).
    If a reference has to be written this early for me (i.e. by the end of February) and does not "catch the best" of me and is not as supportive as it could have been, is this likely to impact? What happens if I apply to individual schools in later months, say April/May/June, and by that time would suit a better reference? I am sure I cannot have 2 references!
    I'm seriously debating whether or not to go through the pool system as its deadlines all seem so early. Would it be more advantageous for someone in my position to wait some months, gain that "new and improved" reference, and apply for individual posts?
    Mnay thanks for any advice.
     
  12. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    You will require two references each time you apply, one from your course tutor and one from the headteacher of one of your placement schools (normally the most recent placement). The school reference may balance the university one, so why not give it a shot? And if you are unsuccessful, there is nothing to stop you applying to individual schools at a later date, when you have more experience, and getting up-to-date references at that point. Even if you are using the same referee, they should update your reference to reflect the most recent information available about you.
     
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Bump this up
     
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Bump up this essential information
     
  15. life2teach

    life2teach New commenter

    Dear John,
    About the Pools; I've been trying to find out about the rules but I can't locate them. My mentor said to check because on some
    pools you HAVE to take whatever job they offer or if you turn it down
    you may get a reputation [​IMG]
    Do you know about that?
    I'm not applying quite yet I'm just gathering the
    information and adding things to my personal statement etc. I just want
    to know because then I can apply to my preference in boroughs/pools first.
    Thanks
     
  16. life2teach

    life2teach New commenter

    ...I guess I'm wondering... what if you get a job from a pool and then get offered a job from your placement school?! Not that this has happened to me but I was thinking about it.
    I'm a SCITT so will spend a lot of time in my placement school. You apply for jobs quite early on but if your placement school offers you a job....that would be quite late wouldnt it? April?
     
  17. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    I've heard of pools where they try to tell you you're not allowed to apply anywhere else once they've accepted you, but unless they're actually offering you a contract on the spot (which I doubt), then they've got no hold on you that I can see. For my own pool, I take the view that if we've accepted you, it's my job to get you placed with a school before anyone else can tempt you away, but if someone else does come in with a specific offer before I can, that's my loss and my problem.
    As to the question of placing someone with a school, I suggest you find out the ground rules of that particular pool before you apply. Again, I can only give the example of how I operate. The schools look at the list of available candidates, check the paperwork of the ones they're interested in and (usually) talk to me, and then make their choice and invite that candidate in for an informal look round. If the visit goes well, and the candidate doesn't commit some faux pas like spilling their coffee on the head's new carpet, then they get a firm offer of the job. The candidate then has 24 hours to accept or decline the offer. If they decline, they go back on the list until the next school comes along. Personally, I don't think it's fair to ask someone to accept a job without having the chance to see the school first. But, other pools might operate differently. Do your research, and decide whether you want to apply to that particular pool or not.
    As for when you might get a job in a placement school, it all depends when the head of the placement school knows that they've got a vacancy. If they like you, and they know early enough that they're going to need someone, they'll probably try to get you signed up on the dotted line before you have a chance to go elsewhere!
     
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    John will be looking at this thread regularly, so post here all your Pool questions, folks.
     
  19. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Indeed I will. It's on my hotlist so I can see when there's something new been posted.
     
  20. Hi all!
    Just want some help really! I am looking to move to London next year, currently working in Nottingham. We don't have a pool system here - just a "newsletter" that goes out with different teaching vacancies on.
    How would I go about looking for jobs in London? Does each area have its own pool? Or are there similar teaching vacancy notices that go around? Would I need to know which general area I am going to be living before applying?
    I am so sorry for all of these questions - this thread has been a massive help so far. I am just so daunted about the prospect of moving to London, anybody with any experience would be a great help!
     

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