As your first term draws to a close, you'll probably be heaving a sigh of relief. However, one of the tasks you might want to set yourself over the Christmas break is to update your curriculum vitae. You probably last looked at it when you applied for your present post, but much will have happened since. At the least, you'll want to add your present job details.
You may not be thinking of changing schools next summer, but you never know what might happen. You could learn that your school is failing, or being merged because of falling rolls. Then is not the time to be worrying about CV updates. Or you might come across your dream job. If so, you'll want the maximum amount of time to concentrate on your letter of application.
By now, schools should be close to completing their staffing reviews and this is probably one of the reasons why the job market has been so flat this autumn. Most vacant posts have been temporary, often to cover maternity leave, meaning that some of your contemporaries who weren't able to find jobs for September will be starting teaching after Christmas.
If you are thinking of moving schools, expect vacancies to start appearing from mid-February. From 2006, schools will have three-year budgets so they will be better able to plan for the longer-term. However, that doesn't mean more teaching jobs. The growth in non-teaching posts has over the past few years been much faster than the growth in teaching jobs. Indeed, stripping out the administrative tasks means that there may be more teaching resources to go around and a need for fewer new teachers. On the other hand, with more female teachers in secondary schools and improved maternity leave benefits, there is likely to be a need for more replacement teachers, if only on a temporary basis.
As ever, the job market is complex. There are still more jobs in London and the South East and fewer in the North and West, especially in Wales. The recent white paper didn't announce any major initiatives on the job front, although Teach First will be extended to five cities outside London, making jobs in these areas possibly more difficult to find. Schools will become increasingly cut adrift from local authorities and will operate even more than at present like small not-for-profit businesses.