The first three months of 2005 turned out to be very similar, in terms of the number of teaching jobs advertised, as the same period in 2004. So far, there has been no evidence of any explosion in jobs for qualified teachers in the primary sector ahead of the final stage of the Workload Agreement.
This comes into force in September.
It may be that schools are waiting for their final budgets for next year before deciding on their staffing levels. However, even with an apparently generous settlement from central government, many schools will see their income fall next year. This is because of falling rolls. Regular readers of this column will not be unfamiliar with this phenomenon and its likely consequences on the job market for teachers. Suffice to say, for most schools, fewer pupils means less money and that means fewer teachers. With more trainees than ever this year, competition for jobs will be fierce, especially in the primary sector.
Of course, it's not all doom and gloom. Around one in four secondary schools advertised for a mathematics teacher during January and February, and there were more than 400 jobs for ICT teachers. That is around 10 per cent of schools looking for ICT teachers. There was also plenty of demand for English teachers, albeit at a level slightly below that of last year.
There was a similar picture in the sciences. The downward trend in demand for language teachers continued during the early part of the year, although there was some recovery in the number of adverts during the second half of February. Business studies was one of the few curriculum areas where demand for teachers rose during January and February this year compared with 2004.
There was also a rise for music specialists, although not so far for peripatetic music teachers.
There has been a reduction in the supply of posts offering promotion ahead of the replacement of the management allowances. Schools seem only to be advertising posts at head of department level as heads and governors work out the new staffing structures for next year.