Caroline Cafferty, Operations Director, justteachers, specialists in matching school staffing needs with the best available teachers, teaching assistants and SEN staff - day-to-day supply, long-term and permanent - gives her advice to Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) who are unsure how to progress their teaching career.
Being a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) can be daunting especially in the first term as you establish yourself with your colleagues and your class.
NQTs are on a journey to improve outcomes for their pupils but also develop their own career and make their way in the world of professional education. There are plenty of options available to you in a permanent position but did you know you can also secure some excellent benefits by working as a supply teacher?
Once you have finished university there are typically three routes to work you can take as an NQT:
- A permanent teaching job
- A temporary/short term teaching job
- A supply teaching job
Supply agencies often assist with all three routes to employment, not just supply teaching.
Added benefits include:
- Excellent knowledge of local schools
- Existing relationships with head teachers
- Support writing and updating your CV
- Providing you with interview techniques
- Finding you a role that suits your needs, your career plans and your preferences
In your final months and weeks studying to become an NQT, you will no doubt be looking ahead to September and trying to find a suitable teaching role. In the process you will need to make sure you create a top quality teaching CV, including strong examples of teaching ability, good references and, of course, be able to present yourself well.
“Do I find a permanent role or do I become a supply teacher?”
All NQTs have concerns about supply teaching but supply teaching is a well regarded and highly respected part of the industry. Agencies have adapted and evolved over the past few years, specialising in working with NQTs and can assist you with securing your first teaching role as demand for NQTs continually grows.
“What if I don’t get enough work?”
By registering with a supply agency, you will have the option of day-to-day work, long term work or permanent full time work. There are roles available across all types of settings and you will get the option to work on assignments that suit your needs. Typically supply teachers will get work every day, depending on their preferences. You can even choose to be a supply teacher whilst you are waiting to get a full time permanent role.
“I’m worried I will not complete my induction year”
You can complete your induction year whilst working through a supply teaching agency on a temporary contact. You can either work one full year in a school or spread your induction year over three terms in three different schools. This could benefit you because you will have three different experiences, which shows prospective employers that you can work in different types of learning environments. Supply agencies can find you a school that you would choose to complete your induction year in, provide a variety of available schools, reducing the feeling that you need to accept the first school that offers you a job.
“Supply teaching is seen as failure because I haven’t got a permanent job”
Supply teaching is definitely not a failure - it allows you to choose when and where you want to work and how long you want to work there for. It doesn’t cost you anything to join a recruitment agency and their expertise and contacts will give you access to a variety of schools who may not have advertised their vacancies.
“Supply to permanent?”
In many instances teachers go on to become a permanent member of staff at the school they teach in on a supply basis. Supply teaching is a fantastic way to get your foot in the door and will enable you to find out exactly at which school you wish to become a permanent member of staff.
“Surely there is no career progression?”
Working through a teaching supply agency doesn’t limit your possibilities – in fact, it increases them. Choose an agency that has a proven track record in helping aspiring teachers to build up experience and one that offers training. Becoming a supply teacher through an agency will enable you to gain valuable experience in different school settings.
“If I choose to work with a supply agency, what sort of benefits will I get?”
You will often have your own dedicated education consultant who will get to know you and your requirements and closely match you to a school that meets those needs. Your consultant will discuss your goals and create a career plan tailored to your personal objectives and ambitions. There are induction opportunities for NQTs and some schools take on cover supervisors for teacher training placements. In addition to this, a good recruitment agency will offer:
- A choice of work and types of schools
- Pay in line with the National Teaching Pay Scale
- Teacher training and cover supervisor training
- Social and fundraising events
- Supply teaching resources
- Work–life balance
- Your own dedicated recruitment adviser
- A fast application process
- DBS check
- Expert advice on how to write a CV
- Support with interview techniques