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Q: I am thinking of returning to teaching in September after a few years doing other things. When should I start looking for a new job?

A: The majority of posts are advertised early in the year, starting with headships in January. This is followed by other posts with teaching and learning responsibility payments. The bulk of main scale posts appear between March and the end of May. The exception is for jobs in primary schools where local authorities still operate "pools", meaning you must approach the LA rather than individual schools and you might need to send your application in very soon - check their individual websites for details.

With Easter falling at the end of March this year, I predict a bumper week for The TES jobs sections around the middle of April. However, as the detailed funding package for schools and any pay settlement have both been announced later than in some years, this may have delayed the calculations for individual budgets and some may find they have less cash than they thought. However, as there will still be lots of teachers retiring who need to be replaced, there will be a healthy demand for new staff.

As you are seeking to return to teaching, it might be worth looking out for any courses that can bring you up-to-date as you will be competing with job seekers who will have just finished their training and will be on message with the latest changes to the national curriculum.

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University. To ask him a question, email him at

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