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

Careers in teaching

There are also many alternatives such as:

Supply teaching

If you haven't managed to get a job or, don't feel ready to commit to a full-time teaching role, then supply teaching is a good option. You will need to register with an agency and this usually involves submitting an application form or CV then meeting with a recruitment agent.

Supply teaching can be challenging but it can also be also a good way for you to get experience, try out different schools and pick up ideas. Ask around for personal recommendations of teaching agencies, look for ones which are strong in your area, or ask the schools you know. Using lots of supply agencies at once can be difficult to manage so consider starting with one or two agencies and if you decide you don't like one of them perhaps choose another.

It helps to be able to drive, but you don't need to, it will just limit the amount of work you can do. Agencies will either book you in advance or you will get an early morning call, around 8am. Clearly the more flexible you are the more work you can get. As you get to know them more, you can work with the agencies to tell them your preferences and strengths.

You should take work with you as a backup in case the school has no tasks prepared for you.

Where to find teaching jobs

  • Search for teaching and education jobs.
  • Many university careers services and education departments run teaching fairs which are attended by local authorities, teaching unions, schools and recruitment agencies. They will probably have an online job portal or board and can give you useful advice on local sources of opportunities.
  • Recruitment agencies such as EduStaff.
  • Contact local authorities (LAs) directly to discover what the current recruitment situation is. Do they advertise their vacancies online, or have teacher recruitment pages for NQT posts? Some LA's issue regular vacancy lists, hold open days and give opportunities for you to find out more about schools and their requirements.
  • Search newspapers and publications, the Times Educational Supplement Jobs and Guardian Jobs run job alert services where you can upload a CV or create a profile.
  • Use your networks, keep in touch with the schools where you did your teaching practice or worked as a volunteer.
  • Vacancies in independent schools are often advertised with The Independent Schools Council (ISC) and Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS).

Applying for a teaching job

Most schools recruit through their own advertisements and selection procedures, the peak time for this is February and June, although more jobs may appear through the year and May 31 is the final date when teachers must resign if they are leaving their jobs in the summer.

Some local authorities run teacher registration schemes and databases which enable you to complete a single application form and register an interest to work in that area, possibly for a particular school. Registrations may open any time, commonly after Christmas for a September start date, check with your LA for details. Your information will then be sent to schools that are advertising vacancies.

Pool applications are similar to registration schemes, but the selection process may also be completed centrally. Commonly used for primary vacancies, schools select applicants from the pool list to interview. Again check with your LA for details of opening dates.

You may find it successful to approach a school speculatively, particularly if you have contacts with them.

Teaching CV

Teaching CV example PDF

To make your teaching CV stand out from the rest, target your application to the post you're applying for. Use this CV template to 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.

Personal statement

Covering two sides of A4 it should demonstrate how and why you teach and who you are as a person. Always read the specification and target your personal statement to what they are looking for. You need to:

  • Tailor your application to the school, for example their ethos, Ofsted report and latest exam results.
  • Visit the school as many recruiters view this as a part of the application process and it can help you to see if you would want to work there.
  • Get it proofread to ensure there are no spelling mistakes.
  • Ensure your employment history has no gaps and if it has make sure they are explained.
  • Tell them what skills and extra-curricular opportunities you can you bring.
  • Convey a passion for teaching
  • Evidence your success, where you have added value and met targets.

For more information, see our example of a personal statement for a School Direct teacher training post.

Teaching job interviews

Prepare well for the interview by visiting the school beforehand, plan your trial lesson and don't panic, if they have invited you for interview you are a strong candidate. See teaching interviews to find out more about what's involved.

Further help

Visit your careers and employability service as they can help with application forms, interview preparation and they may well have a recruitment service with vacancies you can apply for.