A Question From Trainee Teachers “When should I start applying for teaching vacancies?”

We decided to devote this week’s post to a question we commonly get asked by trainee teachers:

“When should I start applying for teaching vacancies?”

The short answer to this is “you can apply for teaching vacancies any time from December onwards”

Starting in December each year onwards, teaching vacancies are advertised via two main routes (see teaching jobs, where to find them and when to apply for more details):

· Pool systems (mostly for primary school vacancies) – Some local authorities offer a centralised pool recruitment process where you complete one application to then be considered for vacancies at schools involved in the pool: often these schemes operate between December and February – each ‘pool’ has different open and closing dates

· Schools’ own vacancies: most schools advertise from March onwards.

At first glance, it may seem logical to secure a job as quickly as possible once vacancies start to appear. However, it’s worth thinking this through:

Each year some students will start applying really early e.g. completing pool applications in December. Starting early gives these students the advantage of practising applications and interview technique, increasing their chances of securing a teaching position before the end of their course.

However, other students will start their applications in March and April when they have accrued more classroom experience, rather applying for posts earlier in the year.

Also, although many vacancies are advertised between March and May, some schools will still be recruiting beyond May and will be specifically looking for Newly Qualified Teachers who are available to start work in September.

It’s also worth noting that turning down job offers which you’re previously accepted is frowned upon within teaching, so NQTs who secure positions early in the process are obliged to stick with their original offer even if a better opportunity arises later in the year.

Some tips:

· Start investigating recruitment processes from Autumn onwards – understanding how to find vacancies and being familiar with the process will save time and effort once you start your applications

· the NUT interactive guide gives contact details for different local authority areas: www.teachers.org.uk/nqt/firstpost)

· Start looking at vacancies early e.g. January, February, March. Even if you don’t apply at that point, knowing where to look for vacancies and understanding the requirements for teaching posts will help you complete applications faster once you start applying

· Try to make a few high quality applications, rather than lots of lower quality ones: starting applications early means you will feel under less pressure

· If you’re offered a position, make sure you really want it before accepting – accepting a job and then later turning it down is frowned upon within teaching: this may be particularly relevant for students who secure positions early in the year as other opportunities might appear later.

· Look out for any teaching application training events within the University – attending these events will help you understand how you can stand out from other candidates

· Get feedback on your applications: ask your PAT, run them past any school-based contacts you have, contact Careers and Employability to get feedback on drafts

· Some schools use social media to alert potential applicants to vacancies: check twitter feeds and Facebook pages early in the process and like/follow them

· Register with Careers and Employability’s vacancy portal to receive alerts for teaching vacancies

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