Finding your first teaching job may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Teachers are in high demand at the moment, but there is still tough competition as NQTs enter schools every year. To help you with your search for your first teaching role, The Classroom Partnership, a specialist education recruitment agency has put together this guide with useful hints and tips.

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, begin studying the adverts to find out what schools are actually looking for. Get as much teaching experience under your belt so that you 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.

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
Teacher registration schemes and databases
Ask for speculative applications

It is worthwhile using all of the above options to help you find a job, but remember, recruitment agencies tend to have the most relationships with schools. 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 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 demographic of the staff like? What duties will be added outside of your teaching commitment?
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 tend to offer jobs on the day of 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. Take full advantage of any offer of feedback, allowing you to reflect on your lesson and interview, and what you could have done differently

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. Don’t be afraid to ask for information about the class prior to interview, to help you inform your planning.

Tips for your teaching interview

Have your answers prepared to questions such as “Why do you want the job? and “What do you know about our school?” Similarly, you will most probably be asked a question around safeguarding, and what your 5 year career plan is.

If it is a faith school, you will probably be asked how you would promote the ethos of the 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 have 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.

Finally, you should always prepare some questions for the interviewers. This not only allows you to show you have researched the school, but it will also help form your view if you should be working there. You could ask, for example, how many NQTs they have had in the last 2 years, and how many have passed their induction.

NQT pay expectations

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

The minimum salary for a newly qualified teacher in England is £22,467 at the time of 2015/16. In London, it is slightly more with minimum salaries starting at £28,098. 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 are entitled to have 10% of your time for your NQT induction, plus 10% of the remaining time as PPA time.

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 Classroom Partnership today to find out how we can help. Contact The Classroom Partnership today to find out how we can help.