In association with the Teaching Agency

You have an excellent chance of finding a job

With demand for teachers remaining strong, it’s the ideal career choice for those who want security as well as a rewarding job

“I’ve never been out of work,” says Aaron Saxton, head of ICT at Ashton on Mersey School in Cheshire. He qualified four years ago and was taken on immediately by the school where he’d trained. Within four years he’d progressed to management level. “You definitely get a good grounding from your training. And you do feel more secure in your job.”

When work is scarce, teachers still have a good chance of finding the work they love. Teaching Agency figures show that nine out of 10 new teachers looking for a post find one in their first year after qualifying.

“Nearly all of our secondary level teachers who want a job will find one,” says Professor Debra Myhill from the University of Exeter Graduate School.

Figures released this spring show that more than a third of university graduates have no option but to take low-skilled jobs such as cleaning – up from a quarter of graduates a decade ago.

One in five new graduates is unemployed, says the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Not only are teachers more likely to get a job, they’re twice as likely to stay there, says the Teaching Agency. Some 44 per cent of graduates in popular non-teaching roles switch career within the first three and a half years, compared to just 21 per cent of teachers.

As job hunters, teachers can draw on direct experience gained during training.

Two or more substantial placements in schools equip trainees not only with references and a proven track record in the classroom, but might also offer the possibility of further work.

Many trainees are offered a job in the school where they completed a placement and others are advised of posts in other schools by supportive staff.

“Trainees are very well prepared for what they encounter,” says Myhill. “We try and get them through the ‘initial practice ’ element of teaching as early as possible during their placement so they are ready to push to higher levels. They continue to develop professionally.”

Maths teacher Kris Spreadborough found a job at Plymouth’s Marine Academy during a “brilliant time” on another placement, and was ready to start as soon as he qualified in 2011. “Between two placements at very different schools, I feel I was prepared for wherever I would have been employed.”

He’s preparing to begin teaching the academy’s sixth formers next year, and is mulling his options. “With this career I can see there is a path you can take to help you aspire. Your colleagues can help – we are all trying to get the best out of our students.”

Careers advisers recommend that you begin hunting for a job at the start of the spring term. “If you have difficulty finding what you’re looking for, don’t despair,” says the Teacher Support network. “It’s not unusual for some schools to wait until the beginning of the summer to advertise vacancies.”

“If you keep plugging away with applications, you’ll get a job: there are nearly 500,000 teaching posts in England alone,” says author and teacher Francis Gilbert.

As Saxton found, opportunities to reach more senior levels are there for the taking. Teachers are twice as likely to reach management level just four years into their career, compared to peers in other graduate careers, such as accountancy and law.

Starting salaries are competitive. A newly qualified teacher will start on an average £22,800. Experienced teachers can earn up to £64,000 in London and £56,000 in other parts of the UK, while head teachers earn an average £84,600 in secondary schools, and in some cases up to £112,000.

“As a teacher, you are highly employable. There are so many opportunities within teaching – it’s probably one of the most flexible careers you could choose,” says Myhill.

Case study:  Kerry Tabb, 25

Kerry Tabb, 25 is in her second year of teaching at All Saints School in Dagenham. She completed a PGCE in 2010 at the University of East London after a first degree at Queen’s University Belfast.

“I’ve just found out our students are going to be involved in the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – they were ecstatic.

It’s a wonderful feeling. They’ve been torturing me for days asking whether they’re in. I’m in charge of the Olympic organisation at school and that’s a great thing to put on my CV.

There are so many opportunities in London with so much going on there. Once I saw what was going on here work-wise, there was no going back. This is a great city to work in: the children have great personalities and there’s a big community of younger teaching staff so we all socialise together. I’m on a permanent contract.

At home (in Northern Ireland) I’d have been lucky to get even temporary work. Some of my (non-teaching) friends have emigrated or gone back to university as they haven’t found work.

I’ve always wanted to teach, and this was the second job I applied for. Out of my year group nearly everybody got a job.

Training helped massively; it gave me ideas and a sense of what type of school suited me. I like a smaller community school, where you can walk down the corridor and say hello to the students.

Just make sure you have as much experience as possible when you come into teaching. Be open to trying new things, have a broad range of strategies in your locker.”

My first day

Nirvana Plante is in her fourth year of teaching French and Spanish at Arthur Terry School in Sutton Coldfield.

“I was quite shaky, my knees were knocking, but once I had settled in I really did think ‘this is great’. It’s a good idea to get the background on your class, and a list of names beforehand. I took some time to do the introductions, I didn’t launch straight into instructions. All of the children wanted to know who I was and where I had come from, so it was good for building up relationships (to start with).”

To find out more about teaching, visit education.gov.uk/getintoteaching

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
fashionA new dress to enrage the internet...
Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own