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Do you have a Plan B?

Regular readers of First Appointments won't be surprised to see so few posts being advertised for new teachers - we've been warning about the decline for some time. We know there are more newly qualified teachers gaining QTS than ever before, and that falling rolls around the UK mean fewer classroom jobs, especially for primary teachers. We also know that as heads and teachers retire in the next few years, the trickle down effect will mean more jobs coming up.

But what does all this mean for new teachers who are looking for their first post now? It is certainly the case that supply agencies have been pre-registering people at college fairs, my old agency tells me. More students are sorting out a Plan B, in case Plan A (the permanent job) doesn't work out.

If you don't get a job by September, make sure your name is on the books of a supply agency. Bear in mind that flexibility is key - you need to be able to travel. Jobs guru John Howson takes it further. He says that the number of nationally advertised jobs for primary and secondary teachers has declined dramatically in the North. His advice to FA readers who haven't got a job for September: "There is work out there, but be prepared, you may have to move to London and the South East."

As usual, this issue is full of helpful stuff to get you on the right track at the start of your career. If you do find yourself in a different part of the country, you might find our glossary of current schoolyard slang helpful, otherwise you might find you're considered a bit "dandruff". See page 10 for translation. Talking of which... take note of what some pupils told us about their teachers' personal hygiene. It's not just children who can smell bad. Uncomfortable but necessary reading, on page 13.

For those four-year student teachers who have emailed me to complain that the vocational route isn't given the press it deserves, you'll be delighted to see our report on the longer training option - we hear that heads often favour NQTs who have taken four years to train - see page 4 to find out why.

Finally, you know that the key to a successful teaching career is the ability to laugh at the job, and at yourself. So we're delighted to cover Teachers' TV's new light entertainment show - The Bell. We went to the pilot, and yes, it made us chuckle. Keep an eye out for it. An exclusive preview is on page 8.

Best of luck, and as always, keep in touch.

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