It’s a new academic year, and this is the year you’ve decided to find a new school. Perhaps you’re after a promotion or maybe you just fancy a change, but whether you’re moving home or moving phases, we’ve put together a guide to the school calendar so you know what to do and when.
Term one - first half
A brand new academic year and you’re still feeling fresh from the break, so now’s the time to get straight in your mind what it is you’re looking for and what you need to do to get there.
Later in the year, you’ll be busy filtering through the job adverts, so it’s best to get the admin tasks in order now.
If you're in an international setting and looking to move either back home or to another international school in a different country, then you're also going to have to be thinking about rental contracts, bank accounts and other ties you have to the area.
This is the time to dig out the paperwork to see what your legal obligations are.
Do now: Create a job alert on Tes Jobs so you don’t miss out on your dream role being advertised.
Read over and update your CV and covering letter, and check your professional certificates are where you think they are.
Think about: Write a mental list of the sorts of things you’re looking for in your next role: level of responsibility, location, school type. Even if it’s a dream wish list, it will help you think about what your priorities are.
Term one - second half
Time to get serious – you’ve been thinking about the roles you’re after, but now it’s time to put pen to paper and get going on the job hunt. Part of the job search is to make sure you are selling yourself in the best possible light, so it’s time to look at yourself as a potential employer will. Jobs will be appearing, so make sure you’re checking your emails and not missing out on job alerts.
If you’re in an international setting, now is the time you’ll probably be letting your school know you won’t be renewing your contract. Put those feelers out in local schools if you’re thinking about staying put, or start contacting people you might know in the new area you’re thinking of moving to.
The international school recruitment cycle generally starts a little earlier than in the UK, so there will probably already be job adverts online.
Do now: Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on your current role and the work you’re doing. Say you want to get into pastoral – have you got anything in your pastoral experience to wow the interviewers? Now is the time to think about what you’re doing to improve your chances of a successful appointment.
Set up a folder in your inbox for all those "you’ve done a great job" emails. This will help when you are trying to write your covering letter, or if you need testimonies from parents or colleagues as to the quality of your work.
Think about: Approaching someone to ask for coaching advice and getting them to look over your CV and covering letter.
Term two - first half
You’ve had Christmas and you’re back at school, and this is when the teacher jobs market really kicks into gear. As resignations are turned in, the job advertisements for Easter and September starts will be appearing.
Make a new year’s resolution, harness that January detox; do whatever it takes to focus your search.
Do now: Use the Christmas term’s data to update your covering letter.
Save your Christmas/season’s greetings cards to use as evidence of positive relationships.
Think about: Finding someone who will practise interview techniques with you.
Term two - second half
So, the club you started up has been running nicely now, and you’ve possibly even applied for a few positions. You might find the job advertisements somewhat overwhelming at this point, especially if you’re in an area where there are lots being posted every day, but use the filters to search, and try to sit with a friend so you can talk through the options.
Do now: Ask around for personal recommendations for the schools where there are vacancies. It really helps to have insider knowledge. Don’t let a school’s reputation put you off and, where possible, visit. Change of leadership can really turn schools around, and what was a difficult school to work in 12 months ago might be just the right place for you to be come September.
Think about: Broadening your search areas. If you’re not having much luck within your geographical parameters, maybe now is the time to switch that up. Use Google Maps to calculate commuting time and explore options like public transport and car shares.
Term three - first half
If you haven’t got a job at this point, panic not. Plenty of people secure their dream jobs in term five, and you have until May half-term to give your notice for September.
Do now: Ask friends to check over your applications and always follow up interviews with requests for feedback if you’re not successful, or if you are successful and have turned it down.
Think about: If you’re really confident that you want to leave your school and financially you can manage it, consider handing in your notice so you can secure a position in term six.
Don’t be rushed into giving an answer of “yes” if you’re asked if you’re still a firm candidate at the end of the interview. It’s okay to say “no” if, after a day of interview, you don’t think the school is the right fit for you.
Term three - second half
Although it might feel tougher at this point in the year, it’s not over yet! For NQTs or those on fixed-term contracts, there is still plenty of time as you don’t have to worry about resignation deadlines. The school might be winding down for the summer, but now is the time to be thinking about September.
Those of you in international schools will find that there are still many job opportunities if you're willing to be flexible. Make sure you’re maximising your connections and checking in on your contacts to see if there are vacancies opening.
Do now: Ask colleagues and friends if they know of any positions. Some schools may not have their advertisement up yet, so it would be good to know where positions might be coming available.
Think about: Have you included everything you could on your application letter?
Is there a second subject you’d be willing to teach? Could you enhance your subject knowledge with an subject knowledge enhancement course to make you a more appealing appointment?
Time to move on? Search the latest teaching jobs