So you’re looking for your first teaching job? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process and in this blog we provide some useful hints and tips to help get your teaching career off to a flying start.

One of the main things to remember is that schools are actually struggling to meet their recruitment targets for many subjects, so you may already be a hot commodity! Read on to find out what our top tips are.

When should I start looking for my first teaching job?

This is an interesting question, you’ve started your PGCE in September and your fellow students are already talking about finding a job by December. This can make you feel rushed, but our advice is not to rush into it.

You should only start applying when you feel ready, only then will you create the best application to the schools you wish to work in.

As a timeline, some schools will begin to advertise roles for the new school year in January. During this time, study the adverts to find out what schools are actually looking for. Get as much teaching experience under your belt so that you fully understand your subject matter as much as possible. That way, you’ll be more likely to perform when you attend the interviews.

Below is a table showing the typical timetable that could help you with your job hunting.

Finding your first teaching job

What is the recruitment process for teachers?

It may come as a surprise, but schools use a variety of methods to recruit NQTs. They will, for example:

Advertise the role directly
Use recruitment agencies
Use teacher registration schemes and databases
Accept speculative applications

It is worthwhile using all of the above options to help you find a job, but remember, recruitment agencies tend to have relationships with many schools so they can reach out to more than maybe you will be able to with speculative applications. Keeping in touch with them regularly is a good idea, that way you will keep abreast of the latest roles.

When you apply, ensure that each application is specific to the school. This is not always possible with agency adverts but should always be the case when responding directly to an advert from a school or a speculative application.

The interview

It may seem strange, but schools often make appointments on the day of the interview. Be prepared for this, it’s the same whether you are an NQT or a head of department.

Use the interview to find out if the school is right for you. You will want to find out about:
Workload: How many hours will you be teaching in a classroom? What is the culture and demographics of the staff like? What duties will be added outside of teaching your subject?
Training: Do NQTs receive training and mentoring? Are mentors available when needed? What other training is available outside of the basic NQT requirements?
Start date: By negotiating a start date in July, it allows you to be paid during the summer months in which you will be preparing lessons for the forthcoming year.

Interview lesson

It’s normal to be asked to prepare and teach a lesson. This is a good opportunity for you to also assess the school, do the teachers look professional and happy? Are they happy to help you? Is this a department where you’d like to work?

What if you’re offered the job right there and then?

Schools sometimes offer jobs on the day of the interview. If you are unsure at the moment, it’s perfectly normal to ask for 24 hours to consider. You shouldn’t feel pressured into making a decision. If you’ve done your homework and you like the school, by all means, accept the position. If it’s your first job offer and you’re unsure, take your time.

Similarly, if you are not offered the position at the interview, this isn’t the end of the process nor is it a negative. It has given you the experience to see how different schools operate and a realistic view of teaching.

Tips for your interview lesson

Prior to your lesson, try to get a sense of how the class is led. What is the teacher’s attitude like towards the students and how are they learning? As much as good class control is important, ensure that the students are learning too.

Are the students able to think for themselves during the lesson and able to answer open questions about the topic or are they spoon fed the information?

Make sure your lesson plan is prepared, for both the school and the topic. This can sometimes be difficult in circumstances where there has been short notice but a prepared lesson plan is music to the ears of an interviewer.

Tips for your teaching interview

Have answers prepared to questions such as “Why do you want the job? and “What do you know about our school?”

There will be plenty of questions that you will be asked at your interview and many of the clues to these will be in the job description, prepare answers for each point on the requirements in the job description as well as some more general questions. Remember, in some specialist subjects such as physics, you may be asked to demonstrate your practical knowledge.

Maintain good eye contact with the interviewers, respond directly to the person that asked you the question. Once you’ve got through the main part of your answer you can glance at others in the room if that’s the case. Practice with your friends or family prior to attending interviews, it will then become more comfortable during the real thing.

NQT pay expectations

What does an NQT earn? We hear that question a lot and luckily, there is plenty of information around as the government looks to attract more graduates into teaching.

The minimum salary for a newly qualified teacher in England is £22,917 at the time of 2017/18. In London, it is slightly more with minimum salaries starting at £28,660. Most NQTs will begin their career within the M1 – M6 pay scale. Upper pay scales range from U1 (£35,571 – £43,184) and can increase to U3 (£38,350 – £46,829).

Salaries can also be boosted by up to £12,770 by taking on additional responsibilities in the school. This can include, helping train other teachers, developing a curriculum or leading additional courses.

What to expect during your first year

All teachers are required to complete an induction year which lasts one academic year. During this time, you will not be teaching more than 90% of a timetable and you will receive at least 10% of your time allocated towards planning, preparation and assessment (PPA)

There will be continuous assessments against core professional standards which your appointed tutor will support you. This tutor will also provide day-to-day mentoring and support.

Are you ready to start searching for your first teaching job? Contact The NQT Partnership today to find out how we can help.