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Starting out

Sara Bubb explains the importance of May 31 and what you should do beforehand

What's special about May 31? Well, I've got to remember it's my parents'

wedding anniversary and to celebrate an old friend's birthday, but it's also when resignations have to be in for teachers who don't want to be in their present school come September.

This is significant in several ways. Once heads know who's staying and who's going, they'll be able to turn temporary contracts into permanent ones and recruit new teachers. So, if you've been on a temporary contract, find out what's happening and whether you'll have to be interviewed again.

If you're looking for a job, prepare to be writing lots of applications in June again when The TES will be deluged with adverts. Remember to also look at local authority and individual school websites for vacancies and use the efficient teacher grapevine.

Think carefully before moving on: the grass always looks greener but it often isn't. People tend to search for the opposite of the context in which they've been unhappy or ineffective without thinking about all the factors.

It's a shame not to capitalise on all this year's hard work. Next year will be so much easier if you stay in the same place.

Children and staff will treat you as an experienced teacher and will show you more respect without you having to bust a gut to earn it. You'll have more success in applying for new jobs and promotion after two or three years when you've proved yourself.

If your contract is due to finish in the summer, there's technically no need to hand in your notice but it's a good idea to remind the head you won't be around in September by thanking them for your time in the school, verbally or in writing. It's easy for heads to forget you're temporary and you don't want to give them a nasty shock.

If you're on a permanent contract you need to hand in your notice by May 31. And don't forget to say your resignation is from August 31 or you won't get paid for the summer holidays Sara Bubb is an education consultant specialising in induction. She answers questions at www.tes.co.ukstaffroomnew_teachers

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