Citizenship teachers' job woes

26th May 2006 at 01:00
The recruitment season is drawing towards its end for another year. As I predicted earlier in the year, jobs have been plentiful in the secondary sector, but fairly scarce in primary; at least as far as those that are nationally advertised are concerned. However, there is still time to find a job for next year if you've handed in your notice by the May 30 deadline for resignations. But don't expect to be able to pick and choose.

As in previous years, jobs have been scarcest in the North and in Wales, where there is a serious over-supply problem. The counties around London have had proportionally the greatest number of vacancies. Job adverts analysed for the spring term between January and the end of March suggested that there were more than 7,000 posts for classroom teachers advertised by secondary schools. In one week there were more than 400 adverts for maths teachers. By the end of July, there will probably have been some 20,000 secondary jobs advertised during the year. About three-quarters will have been basic classroom teacher posts; the rest will have been for heads of department or leadership scale positions.

One group who may struggle to find work in their subject are teachers of citizenship. With a couple of hundred trainees hunting for jobs and fewer than 100 mainstream posts on offer nationally, there is a serious imbalance. Teachers of this subject would do well to have a second subject they were willing to offer.

Flexibility is the key to job success at this time of year. Schools often find themselves with awkward pieces of the timetabling jigsaw to complete late in the summer term and welcome those who are prepared to multi-task.

Remember, although your degree of PGCE trained you for a specific age range and subject area, once you are qualified you can offer to teach anything.

Some schools will be pickier than others, but there have been posts with surprising combinations of subjects that have been advertised in The TES this year; dance and drama seems as obvious a combination to a head as does food technology and textiles, but psychology and sociology? If you can teach one well and are prepared to have a go at the other, you might be the best candidate who has applied.

Finally, figures published by the Government during April showed that the introduction of the 10 per cent non-contact time last September didn't result in any upsurge of teaching jobs for primary school teachers. The total number of teachers in the nursery and primary sector only rose around 2,500, on a workforce of more than 200,000. There was a rise of more than 10,000 in the number of what the DfES calls "other education support staff", a category that includes learning mentors and others not classified as teaching assistants. The number of teaching assistants rose by around 6,000 between January 2005 and January 2006. Overall, non-teaching staff numbers across all sectors rose by just under 20,000. This means that for every 100 teachers employed in schools, there is now the equivalent of nearly 75 support staff.

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