What is it like trying to find your first NQT teaching job two years after completing your PGCE?

Every month, Talentometry Teaching will release a blog about all things schools and talent.

To kick things off, we’d lime you to meet meet Lesley Key (not their real name!) who is about to start their NQT after a two-year break after completing their PGCE.  This is Lesley’s experience of finding his new job:

I completed my PGCE in 2018 and am just about to start my NQT year this September after a 2-year break. I had a difficult experience during my second placement, and I crawled to the end of the academic year. Teaching is a profession that requires 100% and I didn’t feel I was in the position to fully commit to starting my career straight away. 1/3 of teachers leave the job within 5 years of qualifying and I didn’t want to add to that statistic so I decided to take a break with a view to put some distance between myself and the education sector.

I did some travelling, took on a home renovation project and tried to regain some semblance of normality in my life after what was probably the most stressful 9 months of my life. I found temp TA work was an excellent fit for me as it put me in the environment that I loved whilst taking away any of the stress that comes with planning and delivering lessons. It also gave me the flexibility to travel and take time off whenever I wanted.

In my last school, I started to develop my passion for teaching that had deserted me during my PGCE. I was able to lead some small group sessions and felt like a valued member of staff. This spurred me on to look for NQT positions for the following school year. 

After applying for various positions with no luck, I decided to go through an agency as I felt this would help smooth over some of the bumps that can arise from having a slightly uneven work history. I felt confident that I could give a good account of myself in an actual interview, but I was falling at the first hurdle time and time again. I found the application process extremely tiring as having to input your details into every schools slightly different application form and then tailoring a supporting statement to make sure you hit the job specification and ethos of the school is a time consuming task. 

I also found that I would become emotionally invested in the school that I was applying to as I would imagine what my commute would be like, how I would arrange my classroom, how I would implement their behaviour policy… To become involved like this and to then not receive an invitation to interview quickly took a toll on my motivation and enthusiasm.

I signed up to a few different agencies who took a  copy of my cv and a brief description of what I can offer and then I let them get on with it. Within a few days I had a couple of interviews lined up and within 2 weeks I had secured a full-time position for the next academic year. One thing you sacrifice when signing to an agency is an element of autonomy about what schools you apply for but I found that I was happy to sacrifice this in return for handing off the burden off filling out application after application.

A good recruiter will listen to what you want and match you with a school that ticks as many of your boxes as possible. 

I am nervous and excited in equal measure but can’t wait to get started in September at my new school.

Talentometry is *not* a supply agency – we take the time to understand what makes you passionate about teaching and then match you to a permanent opportunity within a school that can best facilitate your professional growth.

If you’re looking for a new role or want some confidential advice, please get in touch with Zack Raja: z.raja@talentometry.co.uk / 0161 790 9872

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