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Job watch

The job scene remains quiet at this time of year. You're probably aware by now that the teacher famine of just three years ago has been replaced, if not by a feast then certainly a surfeit of teachers in some areas and in some types of post.

Looking through the jobs pages of The TES in September, I have been struck by the large number of advertisements for headteachers. Throughout 2004, it seems that some 10 per cent of schools are likely to have changed headteacher.

Of course, the headship isn't of interest to you yet, but around one in eight primary teachers eventually takes a post on the leadership grade that covers heads, deputies and assistant heads. What is more relevant is that once the headship vacancy is filled, that releases a deputy head post. When that is filled, another vacancy will come up lower down the tree, and so on. It is reckoned that each primary headship generates more than two subsequent vacancies, and each secondary headship more than three posts. At the top, hard-to-fill posts aren't just in difficult schools - they also include some church schools, especially Roman Catholic schools and those in villages. The fact that dual incomes are now the norm for most couples means that working in the depth of the country isn't always feasible if partners also need to find jobs, even if they are teachers.

The increase in adverts for heads is the first sign of the retirement boom that will hit schools over the next few years. NQTs will see the profession transformed during their first few years - from one in which long-serving teachers in their fifties (who joined the profession in the early 1970s) often dominate staffrooms to one in which most teachers will be between 25 and 35 years old.

Possibilities for promotion in all types of schools will be better than they have been for many years, unless the Government restructures the management allowances to cut down on the number of such posts in future.

There will be more news on that story in this column later in the year. Of course, the real growth in school posts is likely to be among support staff, especially if primary schools are to operate a 10-hour day as childcare centres as well as centres of education.

John Howson

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