25th May 2007 at 01:00
Q If I do not find a teaching job this summer, what options are open to me?

A Much depends upon what type of teaching post you are looking for and how mobile you are. It will be much more difficult if you need a post in a specific area than if you are prepared to travel to where the jobs are.

That said, primary teachers and those in some non-shortage subjects in secondary schools will always find it more difficult than those in shortage subjects or where a change in policy has altered demand.

With more schools being encouraged to opt for the separate sciences at GCSE, teachers of chemistry and physics should have lots of opportunities.

But if you are a primary teacher in an area where every post, even for part-time work, regularly attracts more than 60 applications, this isn't much help. Short of retraining, there is nothing you can do.

The need to pass your induction year really divides your options into two groups. Either keep on looking for a teaching post and try to find supply work in the meantime, or treat your training as good experience and cut your losses until the situation improves. After all, you have acquired lots of key transferable skills which employers seem to want for many graduate posts.

You can communicate, plan and organise. You are unflappable under pressure.

And you have a degree with some subject knowledge. Why wouldn't any other employer hire you instead of a graduate without any outside experience?

Of course, if you have just taken a PGCE after 10 years in business, you might be unhappy about the loss of a year's income - but I assume you did your homework about the job scene before you started your course.

If you want to stay in teaching, call in favours where you can: talk with tutors, schools where you did your practices and even haunt the careers'

service until it is fed up with the sight of you. Those who make the most effort are the ones most likely to succeed.

Even send your CV to schools - you never know what gaps they might have on a timetable. Main scale teaching posts don't always need to be advertised, and schools are always keen to save money. But be realistic and have a plan B if all else fails

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University. To ask him a question, email him at

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