Get yourself organised

4th August 2013 at 01:00

Get yourself organised



How to organise your paperwork

Not your favourite task, but it needs to be done. You are just starting a new job. You might even be starting a new career. Congratulations in either case!  One day you will be retiring, and both then and along the way it will be very useful to have all your employment paperwork neatly organised. So this is the way that I suggest that you do it.


You need to organise paperwork for starting this job, and for the future.


For starting this job

You need to provide the school with everything that they need in order to have you on their books. By which I mean, mainly, paying you! They will ask you to provide them with details such as your N.I number and bank account details. Get this information to them as soon as possible, so that the payroll section in the Local Authority can get your salary prepared. If you have been in employment before they will also want your Tax details, so that the right amount of tax is taken off each month. Don’t neglect these details or you could come to regret it!


They may also ask you to fill in a Health Questionnaire. The school has a legal obligation to check that you are Fit to Teach. It is normally just a formality.


For the future

Whether it is applying for other jobs or preparing for retirement (I know – it seems a long way off!), you need to set up five files.


I suggest that you buy a set of A4 plastic envelope files – the ones that have a flap that closes with a press stud.  These will become your basic five files:


  • Your Employment File
  • Your CPD File
  • Your Exam Results File
  • Your Performance Management File
  • Your Trumpet File



1. Your Employment File

 In this file you put all the paperwork relating to you as an employee. You start with a copy of your offer letter, and your official reply to it, on which you have added in pen: Sent first class on 3rd June 2015, or perhaps Hand-delivered to School Secretary on 4th June 2015, with your initials.


You then add to the file your copy of the formal contract, when you get it, again with a written and initialled note saying when and to whom you delivered the school’s copy, duly signed by you.


You should also keep your monthly salary slips


I suggest here that you get treasury tags, and then when you get your first salary slip, put two holes in with a hole punch, and then keep them all together in date order. Put them in your employment file. If you are not really sure what it all means, all those boxes and figures, then read the article about it: What do I do with my payslip?


When your P60 comes, add it to the little pack of slips for that year (up to March) and then start a new pack from the new tax year in April. Your P60, by the way, is a summary for one tax year of what you have earned and what has been taken away from what you earned for tax, national insurance and teacher’s pension. It should be the adding up of the information over the months.


By keeping all your payslips, you will have everything ready for anything where you need to prove your income. Mortgage, Working Tax Credits, renting from a private landlord, etc. 


I used to advise you to keep your salary slips for at least six years, but a poster has said that he was in dispute with the pensions people over the number of years that he had contributed, and was able to bring out 30-year-old payslips to prove his point.


So keep them forever – your pension could depend on it.


A poster reminds us how important it is to CHECK the details:


Dear Theo

Hope you don't mind me adding to your excellent advice of what to do after getting a job offer. 

In one section, you mentioned the importance of getting a P60 and keeping all tax documents (which I do), but I would also add (from experience) that it's also worth checking that your pay slip details will be correct. i.e. That all deductions, such as pay and pensions are correct, that the employer has the correct bank and NI details for you (I have had one supply agency give the wrong NI number on one payslip a few years ago, even though I'd given them the correct number). It's also important to check that your tax code is correct if the job is not your first or only one, so that you are not paid on the emergency tax code forever!  i.e. Make sure that you give the new employer your P45 as soon as possible and fill in the P46 form correctly if you haven't got it yet!


If you have worked or lived abroad for part of your adult life, you probably got at some time some sort of Police Check done there - un Extrait de Casier Judiciaire, for example, that you needed to get your  DBS check.  Keep that too in here.


2. Your CPD file

 Get another one of those envelopes and start keeping in there details of all CPD that you do. Not just "I went on a course". That is not the only source of CPD. Quite often schools have a regular session where they look at ways to improve learning, new techniques that others have found useful, introduction to a new specification or curriculum, perhaps as part of a staff meeting.


Type up a blank CPD form for yourself, print it off and put it in your CDP file. It should have a column for the date, one for location, and then a bigger one for subject. Jot down the topic that was discussed and the date. 


Continuing Professional Development









Lesson Starters



Independent Learning KS4



Improving marking



GCSE English



New whitebaords


When you come to apply for your next post, you won't want or need to quote them all, but you may well wish to include a sentence along the lines of: "Participation in regular inset sessions on topics such as Assessment for Learning, the new science curriculum and encouraging boys to read."


N.B. do not forget to include the child protection and safeguarding training that you will get every year. And mention this in any application, to show that you are up to date on a very important topic.


  3. Your exam results file

 Yet another one of those useful envelopes, call it Pupils' Exam Results, all ready to file away for future reference, all the SATS/GCSE/A level/IB results of your groups. Some schools specifically ask for past results in applications.


Others may not, but it's nice to be able to quote precise figures of how excellent your work has been, both in a written application and in interviews.   


You may think: I don’t need to do it yet, that’s two years ahead – I’ll do it then. And so you might, but you might also forget.


Having the empty file there will remind you. Include the value-added, MIDYIS, YELLIS, ALIS, ALPS or FFT data too. Having it all together in one place will make it so much easier for other applications, for promotions, and of course for performance management.


4.  Your Performance Management File

With yet another of those envelopes! This is where you'll keep details of all the observed lessons that have been graded outstanding. This is a file that is going to become Very Important indeed, because the new arrangements for pay progression are going to be based on your performance, so you need to start evidencing it right from the very beginning.


I suggest that you start, within this file, to do a sort of Executive Summary (you know what an Executive Summary is? If not, go to the bottom of the class, but first go and look in the Why you should always include an E.S. in an application  article). This E.S. is going to be showing how you meet all the Teacher’s Standards. You won’t be able to fill it all in at first, but add a bit every so often, whenever you can see that you are doing things that show how you comply. You will then have some very clear evidence that you should progress up the payscale.


And, of course, year by year, add all the glowing reports that you get from your Performance Management.  There may be some very nice quotable bits for future applications.


5.  Your Trumpet File

Your what?


Another of those envelopes (hope you bought a nice big pack!) in which you can store the thank-you letters, the cutting from the sixth form leavers' mag where someone said your classes were the best thing ever, the email sent to you by a colleague praising your materials, even a note you jot down yourself saying: 5thJan 2015. In Year 13 class, Joe Jones thanked me for the revision guide that I had produced over the holidays. Anything where you could Blow Your Trumpet - hence its name. A very un-British thing to do, but do it anyway.


Apart from being useful for applications, and possibly for performance management and therefore pay progression, your Trumpet File is also something nice to sit and read when you're feeling down in the dumps.


Because there will be moments where you ARE down in the dumps, and need to be reminded how much people appreciate you and all that you do.


And knowing that all your paperwork is nicely organised will cheer you up too.


Best wishes