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One year on: time to move?

Advice for teachers in their early career

Where are you planning to be in September? Most new teachers stay put for a couple of years to build on all that they've learned this year. If you carry on teaching the same year groups and subjects in the same place things will be so much easier, and you'll reap the rewards of all the planning you've slaved over this year.

But some NQTs have itchy feet. A few realise that they hate teaching and change careers entirely, but others are on the Holy Grail of finding the perfect school. What would that be like?

Perhaps you've got a long journey and want to find a school nearer your home. You'll save time and money on a shorter journey, but the downside is that you may bump into parents and pupils out of school, which can be difficult in terms of switching-off after work. A decent length journey can put some mental as well as physical distance between work and home - a rite of passage.

Research (see below) shows that more than one-third of newly qualified teachers are employed on temporary contracts - and for no good reason. Some schools give them as an insurance policy in case things don't work out, but others just want a continuous supply of cheap labour and cannon fodder.

Lots of temporary posts are made permanent, so once you have your feet under the table keep asking if and when the position will be made permanent. If the head can't tell you, then you should start looking for other jobs. But do so publicly so that your school knows you're serious about leaving. It's amazing how quickly contracts can become permanent when the head realises you might leave. You should certainly know by June because the deadline for resignations is the end of May.

Moving schools after a year isn't too bad for your CV, but if you're not utterly miserable where you are, think through the pros and cons really well. You need to weigh up what is so much better about the new school than your present one. It will be more work so be sure it's worth all the effort of applying and moving - if you're successful. Hmm, how will you feel if you apply for a new job and don't get it? And how will the fact that you applied make your present colleagues feel?

Research report 338: www.dfes.gov.ukresearch

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