Get ready for the application season!

2nd October 2014 at 01:00

Get ready for the application season!


So you are going to be job seeking . . . start by getting yourself properly prepared.  Preparation is in two parts: you, and the school.





First, start by being quite sure that you know everything that there is to know about . . . you.


1)   I suggest that you draw up a working CV.  You probably will not need it for sending off with an application, as Statutory Guidance to maintained schools in England & Wales says that they shouldn’t ask for this.  You might need to send a CV (not your working CV – wrong format, too many details) for a school abroad, or for an Indy or Academy in this country, but ONLY if they specifically ask for it.

But your working CV, kept up to date at all times, is a very useful tool for all job applications, because it will keep in one handy place all your information about dates, qualifications, etc.  Filling in application forms is a pretty soul-destroying experience at the best of times.  Trying to remember which year it was that you started at St Trinian’s School on top of that just makes it the pits.

So find all the information, firstly about your education and then about your employment history.  

For your education, get the school names and dates, and the exam results.  If you can, the exam board as some picky forms ask for that.  No sweat if you can’t find that, but beware! 

Many schools ask to see original certificates of your qualifications: A-levels or IB, degree and PGCE.  You may need to go up into your Mum’s loft to find them.

For your employment, you will need the CORRECT name of the school, the dates, the NOR (number on roll – how many pupils), the actual job title, the starting and leaving salary, your co-curricular contributions, any special successes.  You often get asked for these details on forms.  If you don’t have the salary information, and are asked for it on a form, you just write Unavailable.


NQTs in general will not have a professional history, of course, just education.  You may have some voluntary work that is relevant to education, or part-time work while you were studying which is not in the least relevant!  However when you come to fill in a form, you are expected to give all your employment ever, it would seem.

Let’s be reasonable here.  If from age 16 to the end of your PGCE you were working in Burger King and Tesco, with a few months in Weatherspoons and McDonalds, plus the summer holidays in either Lidl or Waitrose covering staff on leave, it’s going to fill the form with pretty irrelevant information.  Any permanent job that you may have had, for those of you doing teaching as a second career, needs to be on your application forms and therefore in your working CV.  But all those part-time jobs . . . just do this (getting your own correct dates in):


June 2008 – Aug 2014 Series of part-time temporary posts in retail and catering whilst in FT education


So have all your academic and professional details readily available on this working CV. 


2)   Next, unless you are a NQT, you will need to have to hand your four professional files that I call

  • CPD File
  • Exam results File
  • Performance Management File
  • Trumpet File.  

You can find further details about these and what you should have in them by reading this advice article:

Get yourself organised


3)   Next you need to identify your Key Points.  The key features about you. What it is that is special about you, things that would make you a good teacher and a good colleague.

Here is an example that is NOT suitable for you.  Firstly because it is five, and that’s too many.  Three or at the very most four is what you should have.  And secondly because it is the key points of a school, not a person.

(So why haven’t I given you an example of key points for a teacher? Because If I did, there’s a chance that some of you would trot them out in an application letter and have your application rejected for plagiarism. )

So here are the Key Points of one school, they have chosen a word that reflects this, don't do this yourself, you would just look daft! 




Passionate : about the school, the children and the work we do

Respectful: of everyone we come into contact with

Organised: to ensure we are able to do our jobs effectively

Understanding: of the needs of each and every child in the school

Dedicated: to ensuring we are always being ‘the best we can be’


The Key Points that you choose should reflect you, the sort of teacher that you are, what’s important to you.  Individual to you and to you alone.

It’s important for you to ponder this and really decide what you are like, who you are, so that you can express this in your letter and later in an interview.


Tell us about yourself - dream or nightmare question?


4)   Now you need to identify your referees.  Here are four advice articles about this:


Who should be my referees?

Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere? 

Can I see my references?

Can your Head write a negative reference for you? Or refuse to write one? Can you see what was written... 

Can I ask a school not to contact my referees just yet? 


You need to have full contact details for your referees.  This means professional address (normally the school or Uni), phone, e-mail and if available, a fax.  Sorting all this out beforehand can make it a great deal easier to fill in a form


5)   Finally, get yourself a professional e-mail address.  I don’t want to see an application form with the e-mail address or   

Your address should have your surname in it, with either your first name or initial.  You are unlikely to be able to get , as that will have been taken already, but at least you can have John.Smith29 or some such.  It is important for the school to be able to identify you when they look down their inbox, so make a clear address.





The first part – YOU – was all about what to do before you start applying, before you have even seen a job. 


1)   You find a job most easily with these:


Get the TES Jobs App   

How to set up a Job Alert


2)   Once you have found a suitable job to apply for, you then start to research it.

Use the BBC Education site, Ofsted or ISI, the Local Authority, the local demography, competitor schools – and the documents that the school sends you.  You need to find out everything about the school that you possibly can, so that you can see if it is the right school for you, and if you are the right person for that school.


3)   You then draft a rough E.S. to see if you are going to tick their boxes.  Don’t know what an E.S, is?  And they haven't asked for it, so why should you do one.  Read on!

Why you should always include an E.S. in an application

Step-by-step: How to write an E.S. 

Executive summaries - where to start when no person specification

Person Spec too long - how do I do an E.S.? And where do I put it?  

Blank E.S. Pro-forma for job applications


Once you have seen whether or not this is a suitable job for you, you can then refine your E.S. so that you are confident about it.


4)  You then write your supporting statement or letter of application.

Having first done your E.S., you know what this school is looking for, and how you meet their needs.  This is what you should be concentrating on, rather than a boring chronological life history.  Your letter/statement should be relevant to that particular school, tailor made for them.  You cannot have the same identical statement sent to different schools . . .

Letter of application for a teaching job 

Sharing letters of application, supporting statements and executive summaries 


5)   Then read the rest of my advice very carefully:

NQTs start here! *** N.B. ***

Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere? 

Pre-application visits to schools

How to get shortlisted for a teaching job *** The basic advice***

How NOT to get shortlisted

How do schools shortlist candidates?

Common errors found in applications

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth! 

Application form: how to present long list of posts outside education

How can I provide details of examination results?

Can I omit, on an application, a period spent teaching abroad? 

No CPD to put on the application form!

5 common errors in applications 


SUMMARY for applications:

  • Be honest
  • Do your research
  • Make it relevant to the school and its context
  • Show why they need you, not why you want them
  • Show your passion, show your key points


Best wishes