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A piece on the side

Q: I am primary trained and working on supply while I put my energy into securing my first full-time position. What's the best way of including details of the supply work that I have undertaken since qualifying last year? The application forms don't have anywhere for day-to-day supply experience. I'm in the middle of completing a form but there doesn't seem to be anywhere on it where I could put details of the supply work. All the sections assume that applicants have been in a series of long-term permanent jobs, but my experience is short-term.

A: I agree that application forms assume teachers have had a particular career history. This can be frustrating, particularly for those with a different set of experiences. If you have worked for particular agencies, include them as the employer and then list the schools with the number of days in each. If there are too many schools, categorise them in some way, by level or local authority. The main place to make the most of your experiences is in the letter of application. Here you can make an asset out of the large number of different schools. Cite examples of good practice you have observed and made use of later. Also, if some schools have asked for you on supply, include them, and consider using the head of one of them as a referee. Make it clear that you have worked throughout the year so are familiar with issues such as assessment points and the different tasks that arise during the year. As with all these types of problems, it is best to make a virtue out of necessity.

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