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The job-hunting season begins

There are more new teachers in training this year than ever before. The quality of training is better than ever, according to Ofsted, financial support for trainees has never been stronger, and starting salaries are considered by many to be serious money.

For the Government, it's good news. Trouble is, the teacher shortages of a year ago aren't massive any more, so it's no longer a case of walking into any job you fancy. The TES recruitment expert John Howson explains the latest employment trends on page 4, and shows you where the jobs are around the country. On page 10, Peter York, the style guru, takes a critical look at the Teacher Training Agency's latest ad campaign.

Because it's the start of the "first teaching job" hunting season, this issue of First Appointments is packed with information and ideas to help you bag that crucial first post. Our annual survey of local education authorities shows us who's offering what perks to newly qualified teachers (it starts on page 5), and Ian Whiteling offers advice on filling out applications, visits to schools and the dreaded interview (page 6).

Alistair Campbell famously predicted the end of the bog-standard comprehensive last year. We sent award-winning photographer Brian Harris to record an average day in an average school, and we think his pictures show that every school brims with character (page 40). I hope they inspire you.

If you're studying for a PGCE in FE, you might want to look at your options in secondary schools: read Luis Domingues on page 22 to find out more.

Not everyone gets through initial teacher training that easily: Phil Revell's survey shows how courses vary across the country (page 12), Sara Bubb recounts the story of a student teacher who never made it through her induction (page 38), and Harry Dodds tells how a committed student teacher became disillusioned (page 36).

Have you heard about Teach First? It's the controversial new business initiative to bring highly qualified and independently minded graduates into the classroom. Read the backround to it and let us know what you think of the scheme (page 18).

You may well have picked up the usual bugs over the winter: our section on looking after your health should help you keep sick days at bay (page 58).

After the success of our laminator competiton in the last issue, we're delighted to have a laptop to give away to a lucky student teacher - see the back page to find out what to do to win it.

Enjoy your spring term, and I hope you enjoy this issue of First Appointments. If there's anything you want to see on these pages, let me know.

Fiona Flynn

Editor, First Appointments:

Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield

London, E1X 1BW

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