Getting a teaching job

Introduction

Before you read on… you are advised to consult the Prospects page on Getting a Teaching Job, which contains detailed information on local authority recruitment procedures, sample CVs and covering letters and guidance on application forms and interviews.

Local Authority first teaching appointment procedures

  1. LA “pool” – you apply centrally to the LA, and if successful are invited to a pool panel interview. If successful, the LA places you or head teachers will contact suitable candidates for an interview in their school. Closing dates from January onwards.
  2. LA database or brokerage system – you apply centrally to the LA, which then holds your details on file for head teachers to browse. Available from January onwards.
  3. Applications direct to the school – you apply to individual schools. This is the only method of application in some LA areas and can be combined with 1 and 2 above in most cases. March onwards.

Applications

Independent schools tend to favour a CV and letter of application. State schools and LAs usually require application forms and ask for a supporting statement.

In both cases you have the opportunity to describe your qualifications, experience and skills. It is important to “market” yourself. Give plenty of examples. Relate your application to the school, whenever possible. Always follow the instructions given. You can call in to the Careers Centre to have your application checked.

Supporting Statement/Letter of Application

As a guideline you could break down your information into five main areas:

  1. Teacher Training Course – including specialist subject, age range taught, special projects or interests.
  2. Teaching Practices – including type and size of schools, special responsibilities, subjects taught, resources you developed, example of a good lesson, special needs, ICT, EAL, school visits, parents’ contact, inset days etc.
  3. Your “philosophy” – how you manage your classroom, the teaching styles and strategies you use. What you believe is important to a child’s education.
  4. Relevant work experience in or outside education.
  5. Leisure activities – including other skills, abilities and interests.

What should go on my CV?

A CV should cover no more than two sides of A4, be clearly laid out and should cover the following:

  • Personal details
  • Education and qualifications (in reverse chronological order)
  • Teaching practices
  • Employment
  • Other experience
  • Skills
  • Leisure interests
  • Referees (usually your course leader and the head teacher of your last teaching practice school).

Vacancies

LAs now advertise on the web, examples below. The Times Educational Supplement (Fridays) carries many adverts for state, independent and overseas posts.

Interviews

You are strongly advised to visit a school prior to an interview, although this is more usual when applying for primary posts. Read through the advertisement and your application again. Think of the likely questions you will be asked and prepare your answers. Research the school, e.g Ofsted report, handbook. Arrive on time. Answer questions succinctly and relevantly. Above all be yourself! Any visits should be made during school hours so that you can meet the children and teachers and generally get a feel for the school and staffroom.

Interviews differ widely. You may be asked to teach a lesson, or demonstrate how you would teach a specific topic. The number on the panel might range from 1 – several. The length of the interview could be 20 – 45 minutes.

Portfolio

If applying to teach primary or a practical subject, you may be asked to bring evidence in support of your application. This could include carefully-selected photos of children at work, examples of children’s work, resources you have created, or an example of a particularly successful lesson.

Successful candidates are often offered the job on the same day as the interview, so prepare yourself for this occurrence.

Remember that an interview not only provides school staff with the opportunity to question you but also for you to ascertain whether you feel the school is right for you. You should be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your interview. If you are in doubt about any aspect of the post, ask.

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