Misleading adverts lead to job despair

23rd December 2005 at 00:00
Newly qualified primary teachers struggling to find work will be competing for jobs against an increasing number of candidates.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA)has announced that 41,900 people are expected to begin training in England this year - an increase of 600 on last year. Of these student teachers, 16,113 will fill the 15,800 places for primary trainees allocated by the Department for Education and Skills. By contrast, 18,500 places are available for secondary teachers, but are filled by only 17,715 trainees.

The numbers of secondary science, music and RE teachers have increased most notably.

And the number of men choosing to work as primary teachers is also growing.

This year, the proportion of male primary trainees rose from 13 to 14 per cent: a total of 2,293.

Graham Holley of the TDA, said: "It is very encouraging that teaching continues to attract at record levels. Teaching remains a top career choice for graduates."

Jacqui Smith, minister for schools, has welcomed the growing number of trainees. She said: "Teaching offers a unique opportunity to really inspire young minds and to have a huge positive impact on their lives, that will stay with them for years to come."

But newly qualified teachers struggling to find work are less enthusiastic about the increase in numbers.

Marie Turner applied for more than 50 primary jobs in Derbyshire before finding a part-time post. "There are just no primary posts available," she said. "People don't realise it. Adverts on TV make you think there's a shortage of teachers. You think you can get a job wherever you want it.

"I'm quite resentful. If I'd known how much competition there would be, I'd have thought twice about going into teaching."

Jo Walker, who has been looking for work as a primary teacher in Lincolnshire since graduating this summer, agrees. "I've lost track of how many jobs I've applied for," she said. "Some have more than 100 applicants.

And it is getting worse.

"I feel cheated. I've followed government advice and trained to be a teacher, and now there aren't any jobs going."

Sara Bubb of the Institute of Education, believes that the Government needs to pay greater attention to these primary NQTs. "The primary market is a tough one to get into," she said. "New teachers need to be very proactive about applying early, and apply well, or they won't even get looked at.

"Numbers of trainees are one thing, but lots of new teachers leave school and leave the profession. Newly qualified teachers need to be aware that vacancies are often in schools where nobody wants to teach.

"But with so much invested in their training, we need to do more to retain them."

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