Careers clinic

30th January 2009 at 00:00
Our experts answer your questions

Is it goodbye to a golden hello?

I've completed one term's induction, but left my job after an accident. Now I'm fit to work again, albeit nervous, but there are no jobs in my subject. How do I complete my NQT year now? Do I assume I wave goodbye to my golden hello?

There is no time limit between starting and finishing induction, although the sooner you do so the better. However, there is a 16-month limit on how long you can do short-term (anything less than a term) supply work. The clock starts ticking from your first day on supply as a qualified teacher. Keep in touch with your local appropriate body for induction. They often hear about vacancies first.

Golden hellos are only given to shortage subjects so I'm wondering why you say there are no jobs. Perhaps they're not being advertised at the moment but there are likely to be increasing numbers from now on, with a deluge in the four weeks after the Easter holidays. However, there'll be lots of new teachers coming out of training and looking for a post so you need to work hard to try to secure one soon and for this school year, using your term's experience to advantage.

Try to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. Supply work isn't that plentiful and will be hard so you might want to try some voluntary teaching helping friends while job hunting. It will get your name around and boost your confidence.

As for the golden hello, you should be OK. You claim it within a year of completing induction so long as you are employed by a school and teaching the shortage subject. SB

I want to apply for another job.

I'm an NQT and the only specialist in my department. During the first term my head of department went off sick, and as far as I'm aware they won't be back anytime soon.

As a result of this I have had to write all the schemes of work as there were none in place and essentially run the department. This has been a fantastic experience but, as you can imagine, also quite stressful as an NQT.

I want to apply for another job, but what is the most professional way to explain my situation on the application form? I don't want to come across as negative but at the same time want to be honest.

You don't need to explain your reasons for leaving. Just say why you want to work in the school you are applying for. If you are asked, you just say how you are looking for new opportunities for professional development. To be honest, the focus will be on why you want to move to that school, not from your old one. JH

How can I stand out from the masses?.

I'm a head of department at an independent school and looking to become a deputy head. I'm driven and have taken all of the opportunities that have come my way throughout my relatively short career. I ascended to the role of head of department in three years. I don't want to lose momentum, as I'm getting lots of pleasure and good feedback from the management responsibility I have been given, but I want to develop further.

What should I be looking for in terms of professional development that would make me stand out from the crowd? Should I look into the courses from the National College of School Leadership, and if so which ones? Or is there an alternative route? Cost is also an issue as I would be footing the bill myself.

- The NCSL courses might be useful, especially if you are thinking of switching to the maintained sector or an academy.

Anything that provides preparation for first senior management posts is what you should be looking at. However, an alternative is to do a higher degree with a leadership component, as that may give you a wider perspective than NCSL courses.

Don't ignore your professional associations and those for school leaders as they offer useful short courses on preparation for leadership.

Unfortunately, you will have to pay your fees, but with secondary head salaries now often in excess of Pounds 120,000, the investment could pay dividends. JH

Do I need to collect evidence?.

I've been told by my induction tutor that I don't need to collect any evidence for the core standards. Is this true?

You don't need to collect and file extra evidence because you will have stacks of stuff from your everyday work that demonstrates your meeting of the standards. You will have planning, pupils' work and reports.

Since you are judged from now on by the headteacher rather than an external person, everything you do should be evidence enough.

Where someone has said that you are not meeting the standards to a high enough degree - say, your marking isn't detailed enough - keep evidence of your improvement. SB

John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training. He is now a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University.

Sara Bubb was a primary teacher before becoming a teacher trainer. She is now an education consultant, lectures at the Institute of Education in London and has written on induction and professional development.

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