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Teacher training: Getting a teaching job

If you're a newly qualified teacher (NQT) or about to qualify, you need to start applying for your first teaching job...

Where can I find a teaching job?

NQTs often find their first position through the school where they did their teaching placement. It's a good idea to get some advice from the teaching staff in the school(s) you have worked in.

Vacancies and pool applications may be advertised from as early as December or January so think ahead. Remember that not all schools can offer NQTs an induction, such as those under special measures.

There are a range of sources to help NQTs find a teaching post, including…

Websites for:

  • local authorities (LAs);
  • specific educational establishment vacancies;
  • the Times Educational Supplement (TES) or TES jobs app;
  • Guardian jobs.

You may also find teaching jobs advertised in the national press. Look in the:

  • Times Educational Supplement (TES) - published on Fridays;
  • The Independent - published on Thursdays;
  • Guardian's Education section - published on Tuesdays.

Check your local press as many schools may prefer to advertise locally.

Supply teaching can be useful in some instances, for example, if you are moving to a new area, aren't looking for a full-time role, or want to stay in an area where there are not many permanent posts available. But how can you make them work for you?

Choose carefully the agencies you register with, this maybe based on a personal recommendations or those that the schools you are targeting use. Sign up for a select few and ask about how they support NQTs. You will be at an advantage if you can drive, have use of a car and can be flexible in geography and the age range you teach. Where appropriate be honest with the agency about any limitations you have and they can try to work round that.

You may be booked for work in advance, or get a call early in the morning. The school could provide lesson plans for you to use but it is good to take work with you just in case. Ask as much as you can in advance or on arrival about behaviour policy, school routine and other practical matters.

Remember that supply teaching is a good way of getting experience and trying out different schools.

How much experience do I need?

You need to have completed and passed your initial teacher training (ITT) and gained qualified teacher status (QTS). Schools will expect you to have done your research, if at all possible visit the school/institution before you put in your application, read reports on the school and the school website, and mention all of this in your application. Also consider what extra you may be able to offer such as specialist experience, musical skills or hobbies you have which could add value to the school.

For more information on entry requirements, see primary school teacher and secondary school teacher.

How do I apply for a teaching job?

Applications for teaching jobs can be made through LAs or directly with the school/organisation. NQTs may be able to register with the LA teacher registration or pool scheme where your information is made available to schools with vacancies. This can begin as early as the spring term.

Some schools will also advertise jobs independently, so send an application to the school and be careful to include all they ask for.

The procedures vary between LAs and the details held are slightly different from the local authority teacher registration scheme. Some LAs also use pool application systems; this is more common for primary school vacancies. Pool arrangements are usually advertised in December or January; check the LA for closing dates.

Some LAs will conduct the Disclosure Barring Scheme (DBS) check prior to making the applicant details available; others use a screening process to produce a list of approved applicants.

You may want to consider sending speculative applications but, before doing so, research the recruitment policy for the LA and the school and be sure to tailor your CV to the particular school or local authority.

Search for teaching jobs.


Teaching CV

Image: CV teaching

To make your teaching CV stand out from the rest, target your application to the post you are applying for. Highlight the qualifications and experience you have gained, including:

  • qualifications, particularly details of your teacher training;
  • relevant modules from your degree;
  • details of school experience, prioritising where it is in the age range you want to teach;
  • any other teaching experience e.g. sports coaching, summer camps, youth groups;
  • any relevant voluntary experience;
  • any interests relevant to teaching e.g. musical abilities, sporting activities;
  • any skills that will be useful in the role e.g. leadership, IT , languages;
  • details of two current referees, such as one from your teacher training and one from teaching practice.

Increasingly, local authorities and schools follow 'safer recruitment procedures' and so ask all applicants to complete a standard application form. That way no-one can hide information, which may be possible in a cleverly written CV.

See our teaching CV.

To find out more about teaching, see teaching and education.


What can I expect in an interview for a teaching job?

It is vital to match your skills to the vacancy, your personal or supporting statement will help you to do this. You will most likely be interviewed by a panel; you should provide evidence of your teaching experience where possible and make copies of everything you used to support your application, including:

  • examples of lesson plans and assessments;
  • samples of work produced by children you have taught;
  • research issues or development plans for the school you have applied to.

It is also important to:

  • be aware of any changes to government policies relating to the education system;
  • prepare some questions to ask the panel; but make sure you don't ask a question that has already been discussed as part of the interview.

You are being assessed from the moment you enter the school, sometimes from the first call or visit you make. Many schools arrange for candidates to be interviewed by pupils and/or other teaching staff, so try to answer questions in a relaxed and friendly manner.

You may be asked to deliver a short teaching session, but you will be briefed about this prior to the interview, so you will have time to prepare.

Above all, remember, if you have been invited for interview, you meet the requirements for the role so you already have a great basis to build on. For more advice on interviews see interview tips.

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
September 2014

Graduate jobs


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