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Approaching the next step in your teaching career as an ECT

Next week is National Careers Week: a one-week celebration of careers guidance in education across the UK. Whilst it’s likely that your school will be approaching this with your students firmly in mind, we want to ensure that you’re thinking about your own career development too.

As you gain more teaching experience or your personal circumstances change, you might consider applying for your next teaching role in another school. What are the best practices when finding your next teaching position? We’ve outlined a few key considerations if and when the time comes for you to search for your next role.

Finding the right school for you

Whilst your choice of school will be somewhat restricted based on commutable distance, it is important that your school fits your preferences. Here are a few things to consider when thinking of your ideal criteria:

  • Proximity to home – Do you value a short commute highly? Or would you prefer working further away so you’re less likely to run into students outside school?
  • School size – Does working in a school with a high pupil roll give you more chances to absorb and share knowledge? Or would a smaller school allow you to get involved in more areas?
  • Your progression – Are you eyeing a move into middle leadership in the next year or two? Is it important that your school pro-actively offers lots of CPD opportunities?
  • School pedagogy – Every school has its own ethos, and that may or may not work well with your teaching style. Make sure to do some research before applying.

Submitting a winning application

Once you’re certain that the school advertising the teaching role is a good fit for you, you’ll want to create a strong application with a CV that sells yourself as a teacher.

If you do nothing else, make sure that the personal statement is as strong as possible. Your application might be vetted based on this alone if lots of applications have been received, so it’s key to get this right. Things to consider including:

  • A brief outline of your teaching style – Demonstrate that although you’re an early career teacher, you have developed your own style and are confident with this.
  • A small detail about the school you’re applying to – This will show that you’ve tailored your CV for this specific application and that you’ve done some research.
  • Your experience as an FTS Scholar – This isn’t something that most ECTs can put on their CV, so it’s likely to stand out in your application. It might also make for an interesting talking point at interview!

Approaching the interview stage

At this stage, the school is clearly very interested in you as a candidate. So, allow that to fill you with confidence as you approach the interview; this will be the key to success. Let your passion and enthusiasm for teaching maths or physics shine, and demonstrate what you already know about the school during your interview.

For a successful school interview, consider the following:

  • Ask questions ahead of the interview – Don’t be afraid to ensure you have all the information you need going into an interview – particularly for a trial lesson. Try to put all questions in a single email to make it easier for the school to respond.
  • Use STAR – The STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action, Result) will help ensure that you provide a well-rounded response to any competency-based question. Further guidance on this can be found in the Employment Zone on Its Learning.
  • Prepare a few questions for the end – Asking questions at the end of the interview demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role and the school. This could include questions about the department, progression opportunities or something that was mentioned during the interview.

Although it’s been a few years since Covid-related restrictions, some schools continue to conduct interviews virtually. Ensure that you are prepared for this eventuality by:

  • testing your webcam, microphone and software in advance
  • considering using an ethernet cable for a more stable connection
  • resisting the urge to have too many notes prepared – your interviewers will know if you’re simply reading a pre-prepared paragraph of text.

We’re here to support you

The FTS team continues to support Scholars’ employment needs beyond their ITT year. Our Employment Coordinator is available to provide advice and guidance if you are considering the next step in your teaching career. Get in touch with us by emailing info@futureteachingscholars.com; we’re here to help.