When and how to look for a new teaching job

WHY do you want a new job?

Be clear about what you want
“A fair number of teachers who come onto our books are serial complainers”, reveals one recruitment agent (not a member of the panel quoted for this piece). “It’s hard to get them to commit to anything, particularly when they’re already in a comfortable post.” It’s difficult to take the risk and move to something new and you’ll need to be prepared to graft at self-marketing campaign and for a degree of uncertainty when you eventually move.

Take the ‘is the grass greener?’ test
To increase your job satisfaction at work it may not be necessary to change jobs. A good way to find out is to take a reality check on whether you need a new job.  You can do this by evaluating your happiness and effectiveness in your current role.  ( instead of: It’s worth taking a reality check on whether you need a new job or not is to evaluate your happiness and effectiveness in your current post.) Just to make it clearer, perhaps? If there’s an overlap of 70% between what you and your employer want from your role, then there’s a good fit.  Similarly, if you’re pretty much happy three and a half days out of five, all is well. Anything less is not good news and this person will likely be seen as underperforming and uncommitted.


WHEN to look

The three peaks
The timing of job seeking activity is influenced by the volume of job ads and this in turn is dictated by regulations governing notice. For teachers, this is generally half a term and for head teachers and senior staff, more usually a term although this can vary in the academic sector. This results in a series of resignations peaks at the three half terms and a surge of vacancies following these deadlines. However there will always be candidates for whom job seeking does not synchronise with the three peaks – returning mothers, teachers who have to get out of a job quick, for example.

Plan ahead
Don’t assume that just because you’re looking for a job to start in September that all the relevant vacancies are advertised in March or April. A lot of schools like to advertise well ahead and the very together school may recruit a head teacher a year ahead of the start date. If you want to have the pick of the choicest jobs it’s important to start your campaign early; We’ve designed a timeline to help jobseekers plan for and do all the necessary things in a timely way to secure their new post.


WHERE to look

TES Connect
Create a job alert for the role, type of school and region you want to work in. You’ll need to register with the website first but can then set up and edit any number of alerts and elect to receive them by text message, too. Read the TES newspaper.

When you register with recruitment agents, check whether the calibre of the partnership schools that they work with, and how other candidates have got on with them.

Local Authorities
Most LAs also recruit direct and you should register on the on their website for any services that they offer.


HOW to job hunt

Refresh your CV
All agents work from CVs. Even if you intend to apply directly to schools, compiling a CV is a useful exercise because it helps clarify aspirations and is a handy record of previous employment and study. Our Ultimate guide to job seeking section has many other useful articles on interview technique and dress code.

Build a good relationship
Your agent isn’t obliged to put your CV top of the list. Like other things in life, getting results depends on fostering good relationships. Courtesy and good manners will get you a long way and will not impede your job hunting one iota! That means keeping appointments and being transparent about your other job seeking activities. If you are applying to schools direct, let your agent know so they don’t duplicate applications. Be open to any feedback that they offer post interview.

Test the market
If you really hate your job and have to get out of your current school, supply work may be a short term tactic. It provides the opportunity to try out different types of schools and to see what floats your boat. However it is not for the fainthearted: supply teaching is not an easy option but rather a high risk strategy as it does not guarantee income. If you can happily tolerate your current role but are ambitious for more, having a post to go to before you resign will be a better option.

With thanks to…
Dane Christensen, managing director of Axcis; John Lees, author of How to get a job you love, Murphy, Capita Recruitment, Gavin Beart, regional manager at Reed Recruitment,  Paul Matthias, National Business Director at Hays Education

Need more advice? Visit the Ultimate guide to jobseeking