Finding an NQT position
There’s a lot to consider when applying for your first teaching job. Here are some pointers to get you started.
- When should I start looking for a job?
- Where should I look?
- Negotiating terms and conditions
- Extra responsibilities
.When should I start looking for a job?
You should start thinking about your first position is as early as possible, ideally at the beginning of your second term. Having said this, this is still relatively early in your training and if you need more time to settle into your training and the idea that you are going to be a teacher, then take it.
.Where should I look?
- Your PGCE tutor
- TES (Times Educational Supplement)
This is THE place for teaching job ads. You can browse on-line, set up email alerts or look in the weekly print edition.
- The Guardian
- Your local IOP Physics Network Co-ordinator
The IOP’s Physics Teacher Network provide support for teachers across the UK through a network of regions. Usually teachers or former teachers themselves, our Network Co-ordinators have close links with the schools in their region and often know of vacancies.
- Talk Physics
When we hear of vacancies suitable for teachers we post them on our community website TalkPhysics.org. Schools often post jobs on here too.
- Local Education Authorities
Local Education Authorities know of all the vacancies in the schools they fund so will be able to alert you to local vacancies.
- Local papers and regional press
- Independent School Council
Vacancies in private schools are advertised on the ISC website.
- Schools’ own websites
While interviews can be daunting they are an inevitable part of going for a new job. If you turn up well presented and demonstrate your passion for physics, children and teaching you will be off to a good start.
Make sure you are fully prepared. Research the school by looking at their Ofsted reports, their school results, their CVA score, the school website and prospectus. Ask questions.
You need to be sure that the school is right for you in terms of how you will fit in, how well you will be supported and how well the school is going to help you to develop as a teacher.
Look around the department and find out about technician support and resources. There is plenty of interview advice available online so spend some time looking at potential interview questions and thinking about how you’d answer them.
.Negotiating terms and conditions
In terms of negotiating your contract, the usual rules apply. If you don’t ask, you (probably) won’t get. You should make sure that what they are offering is made explicit and don’t assume that what they offer you is immutable.
Space to negotiate does depend on the school itself and the difficulties - or not - it has had in recruiting. But do take note: if you are a physics specialist, the chronic shortage of physics teachers means you are likely to be in a strong bargaining position. If you are a female physics specialist, you may be in an even stronger position and if you are from a minority group, this may also strengthen your position.
But being able to demonstrate you can teach physics, particularly if you have taken a subject knowledge enhancement course, should stand you in good stead whatever your specialism and other highly desirable attributes.
- Other conditions
An experienced physics teacher advises: “From experience with my colleagues – read your contract before signing it. If you don't like the terms and conditions, you need to raise these issues before you sign – it’s too late to complain afterwards!”
Use your NQT year to get your physics teaching right.
Don’t be tempted to take on any unnecessary responsibilities in your first year; concentrate on getting the basics settled. You’ll be in a much better position to succeed in other areas when you have consolidated your strengths.
Equally, if you are worried about teaching your non-specialist subjects, see if you can arrange to avoid them during your first year to concentrate on your strengths
If you have any further questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org