Timeline for application
Final year autumn term onwards: Get prepared
- Make a list of the local authorities and schools that you would like to work in. Be open-minded about where you will work – looking beyond the North West will increase opportunities.
- Find out how authorities and schools you are considering recruit.
- Look out for teaching recruitment fairs, events and workshops – attend all that you can.
- Collect samples of your work which you can take to interview if relevant e.g. lesson plans, photographs, examples of children’s work, positive comments from tutors.
- Consider creating an online portfolio through Teacherfolio, an online recruitment tool used by some Primary and Secondary schools as an additional extra to the traditional application form in teacher recruitment. Applicants build a portfolio on the site and Teacherfolio staff give feedback on new portfolios.
- Keep up to date with current news in Education:
Look for job adverts from November onwards.
Most jobs are advertised in the spring term with the peak period for job adverts being February to June. Some teaching vacancies, however, (mainly those with teaching pools) are advertised before Christmas, from November onwards.
Finding teaching vacancies
There are many places to look for teaching vacancies, we have listed the main ones below. Most job seekers will use a variety of the sources and websites listed.
Teaching pools are run by local authorities and tend to be for primary rather than secondary vacancies. Applicants apply to the pool and shortlisting is done by either the authority or the school themselves using the database of applicants. Some teaching pools open in November and have early closing dates. Local authorities that have previously used pools include Bury, Salford, Oldham and Manchester. Vacancies are on local authority websites as shown below.
Local authorities and councils
These publish their vacancies online. To find vacancies visit individual local authority websites, you can find details of your local council on the Gov.uk website or search on google.
Useful websites for finding local government vacancies also include:
Groups that run academies and free schools advertise opportunities through their websites. For a list of groups see the TES website
- Look on individual school websites
- Eteach is a useful website
Teaching recruitment agencies
These are also a great source of job vacancies and advertise permanent and supply job roles. There are many teaching agencies and you can find details and websites by searching on websites such as Yell.com or Agency Central. Examples of agencies include:
Documents the recruiter will provide
There are usually two documents accompanying a vacancy advert – the job description and the person specification:
- A job description informs you of the day to day tasks that you as a teacher must undertake in your class and school.
- A person specification lists the skills, experiences, qualifications and knowledge that are required for the post and that an applicant must evidence in order to be selected for interview.
We have provided some examples in our Letters of Application/Personal Statement section
In your application you will need to ensure that you address all parts of the person specification, giving evidence that you have the criteria that the school is looking for.
On receiving applications for a post, the recruiter will look through the forms and do an initial trawl using the person specification. They will be looking for applicants who clearly match all essential criteria. Your task is to make it easy for the recruiter to find what they are looking for so make sure you address the criteria clearly and where possible, in the order used on the person specification.
Documents you will submit as part of your application
The usual method of application to teaching vacancies is via an online application form.
You will also be asked to provide a statement in support of your application, this is known as a letter of application (LOA), supporting statement or personal statement (PS). This will either be part of the application form itself or will be sent as a separate document accompanying your online application.
Where you are asked to provide your statement as an additional document you should attach this with your application. The application instructions should make it clear how to do this.
If you are unsure about what to include where or what is required, check with the school or authority you are applying to – they will be happy to answer your questions and it’s important to get it right.
On some occasions you will also be asked to provide a CV with your application, this is particularly common when you register with agencies. See our Teaching CV section for more information about how to write a CV and what to include.
Whatever the method, always read the instructions carefully including any guidance notes and complete the application as instructed and always check your application before sending it. Use the Ask a Question service to send statements or CVs to Careers for review. Please allow 5 working days for us to get it back to you, although we do endeavour to respond as soon as we can.
You may be asked to include further information in your application including:
- Teacher Record: If you have any questions about your teacher record contact:
Email: [email protected] or Tel: 020 7593 5394
- In the past, the TRN number might have been called DfE number, GTC number, QTS number or QTS certificate number. These would all have started with RP followed by 2 numbers and then a forward slash followed by 5 numbers so: RP 55/12345
- The new system is called TRN and this now has 7 numbers (so not preceded with an RP or forward slash.) Students on all initial teacher training courses (ITT) are sent their numbers at the start of their course and should have a record of them. If you do not have this, ring the above number in the first instance.
QTS: Students do not receive QTS status until they are officially awarded it at the end of their ITT course, so if you are asked for this you should put ‘pending’ in the box asking for this on the application form.
CCRS: The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) is a national course that offers training in Catholic education. The course is designed for part-time study over a period of 2 years although it can be spread over a longer period – up to five years. The course comprises 8 modules – 6 core and 2 specialist.
You can find CCRS courses advertised via the local diocese, the details of which can be found on the catholic education service website.
North West based dioceseNorth West Diocese Lancashire Liverpool Salford
Letters of application and personal statement
Your letter of application is the most important part of the application process. This is your opportunity to match yourself, your skills, experience and abilities to the requirements of the teaching post, and to persuade the governors that you have what they are looking for in their new appointment.
Your letter should normally be no longer than two sides of A4 although you may go over this when addressing the letter formally using postal addresses.
Your letter should be written as a formal letter following standard letter writing rules. Address the letter to the Headteacher and governors of the school to which you are applying. Find out the name of the Headteacher if you can your e.g. Dear Mrs White & Governors. Conclude the letter formally.
Write the letter in the first person, give it a clear and logical structure and check the spelling and grammar before sending.
Content and structure
The opening paragaph
The opening paragraph of any letter is important and is your opportunity to engage the reader and set the scene. Use this paragraph to tell the recruiters which role you are applying for and to highlight your reasons for applying. You need to sound enthusiastic and motivated and demonstrate that you have researched the post/school and can comment on what specifically attracts you.
I wish to apply for the post of Key Stage 2 Class Teacher at St. Mary’s RC Primary School in Southport, as advertised on the Edge Hill Careers website. I am particularly interested in this post as I am a practising Catholic and have registered for the Catholic Teachers Certificate. I am familiar with the Southport area and enjoyed my teaching practice at a neighbouring school, Millside Primary.
Reasons why you might be interested in applying could include:
- Familiarity with an area
- Successful placement in the school/authority
- Desire to teach in a religious school
- School age range
- Experience of a similar type of school e.g. independent/rural/church
- Interested in a particular ethos or aspects of the school
If you have already visited the school or been there on placement, mention this, including positive feedback from the visit/placement. What did you like about the school? If you have not visited, you can still find out about the school via effective research e.g. their website, the internet or speaking to teachers or students who have been placed there.
The main body
Use the main body of the letter to address the person specification. If there is no person specification attached to the vacancy, contact the school and ask for one. If the school has not produced one then use the Teaching Standards as a framework for your letter – using the headings as a guide.
Address each point on the person specification individually and where possible in the same order. Write a short, separate paragraph for each, providing evidence of how you meet the criterion via examples of lessons, activities, pupils or situations in which you have been directly involved. Don’t forget to use the STAR framework
Look at the following examples to see HOW applicants address essential and desirable criteria in their letters of application:
- Example addressing criteria teaching post
- Example Person Specification – Early Years
- Example Primary Person Specification
- Example Secondary Person Specification
Things to include in your letter
For primary, don’t just mention your degree subject. You may be specialising in science, but English might be the next subject that you feel most confident in teaching. In this case, write about your strengths in science but also in English. For secondary give details of the range of topics you could cover from your degree specialism and teaching experience to date e.g. for GCSE, BTEC, A level etc.
Give short examples of how you have taught your subject/s in the classroom. Give evidence of the good practice you have taken part in; be creative and innovative in your ideas. How have you motivated children to learn? How have you helped at least one child to progress through your subject teaching? Give specific examples. You could also include links to relevant material you have created and stored online (e.g. via Instagram accounts or blogs). Give the governors a clear picture of you in the classroom motivating their children to learn.
Give an overview and examples of your generic and subject-specific teaching experience. Give examples of the diversity of your teaching –age range, ability levels, different schools, successful outcomes. Create links between the experience gained on placement and how that will be helpful to the school to which you are applying. Don’t forget the experience you gained prior to your QTS course.
Sometimes you will be asked to include information about your teaching philosophy and good practice. The governors don’t want you to write a theoretical essay, they want to know how you are going to teach their children. For example, if you say, “I believe strongly in as much parental involvement as possible”. This could be backed up with “for example, whilst on teaching practice at N school I……”. All theoretical statements, especially the “I believe” should be backed up with evidence of how you have applied this in your own classroom experience.
Non-teaching work experience
Decide how previous non-teaching work experience is relevant to the role and highlight this as a positive strength. It may be that you have acquired relevant skills e.g. communication, teamwork, marketing, supervisory or management skills. Remember to market yourself not just as a classroom/subject teacher but as someone who can contribute to the life of the school e.g. helping to raise the profile of the school in the local community.
If you are applying to a school where equal opportunities would be particularly important e.g. a school in East Lancashire with a large multicultural base, include something about your commitment to equal opportunities and provide evidence of this in your teaching.
If you are applying to a SEND school give evidence of experience of teaching students with special educational needs and disabilities.
If you are applying to a religious school express your wish to follow or promote the teachings of the faith and if you have relevant experience or training e.g. CCRS mention this too.
If you are applying to a school that is very academic show evidence of how you have, or would, teach academically strong pupils.
What else can you offer the school?
Think about additional things you can bring to a school. Examples might include:
- The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS)
- Other subjects
- Cross-curricular strengths and interests
- Fundraising experience/hobbies/interests
- Employer liaison
- Musical/sporting/drama/ achievements
- IT/marketing/writing skills
- Management experience or other relevant work experience.
Ending the letter
Provide a courteous and formal ending to your letter e.g. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to hearing from you.
Remember to use Yours sincerely if you have addressed the letter to a named individual and Yours faithfully if not.
A CV is a record of the skills, experience and qualifications that you have accumulated and which you can bring to a vacant role or position. Use your CV to highlight relevant knowledge, skills and experience and to show how what you have to offer is a match for the requirements of the post you are applying for.
For details of what to include in CVs and cover letters visit the CV section of our website.Sample Primary Teaching CV
What to include in your teaching CV
- Name, address, telephone number, email.
- Link to LinkedIn, digital portfolio, blog, Instagram or other relevant professional social media
Begin with the most recent i.e. your teaching qualification & degree. Write a few lines about your degree and teaching qualification – relevant dissertation, curriculum areas/interests
Teaching or education experience
Make the most of this section. Use it to provide information about your teaching practice, including details such as the age range of children you have taught, subjects taught, types of schools, numbers on roll, other teaching experience before you started the course. Put the most recent experience first.
Additional volunteering looks great on a CV, especially if it is education/young people related. It demonstrates your enthusiasm and commitment to working with children and young people. You could include brownie volunteering, helping at breakfast clubs/holiday activities and similar relevant experiences.
Give brief details of other work experience. Identify skills that are transferable to teaching such as communication, problem-solving, leadership and teamworking
Anything else you can offer the school e.g. First Aid certificate, sign language, ICT skills, musical achievements, interests (especially those that demonstrate a skill)
Please include two references.
Include two references.
Edge Hill University should be your first referee. Present as follows:
Teaching References Department
Faculty of Education
Edge Hill University
Email – (choose whichever address is applicable to your course):
- Early Years: [email protected]
- Primary: [email protected]
- Secondary: [email protected]
- FET: [email protected]
A second reference is usually required, preferably someone who can comment on your teaching ability e.g. a teacher from a school where you have completed block school experience. For church schools, you sometimes need an additional reference from a member of the clergy.
Once you have submitted your application you need to start thinking ahead to the next stage of the selection process.
- Keep a copy of everything that you have sent to the school – your interview will pick up on some of the information you have provided.
- If you have not heard from the school within two weeks of the closing date, don’t be afraid to ring or email to follow up on your application. If you have not been selected for an interview, ask the school if they could give you some feedback on your application. If your letter or supporting statement is not right it is best to find out as soon as possible. Some schools may not offer feedback at this stage but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Keep your teaching applications, notes and information together as these will serve as a reminder before the interview. If however, you find that you are not getting called for an interview or have any concerns about your application then make an appointment with a Careers Adviser or use Ask a Question to submit the person specification and letter of application for the last post you applied for so that a Careers Adviser can give you some written feedback.
Visiting the school
- If you are offered the chance to visit a school at any point in the application process, take up the offer if you can. Applicants are not always able to do this and schools understand that. Visits are an ideal opportunity to find out about the school and to highlight your enthusiasm and ability to fit in. Visits are more commonly offered for primary applications.
- Dress smartly and think carefully about what you need to know. Take note of the school environment – you could be asked to comment on it later at the interview. Ask questions and look interested during your visit.
- Remember that you are always being observed, from the start to the close of day and during all activities and interactions, including your approach to reception and being shown around the school by pupils.
- Once you have visited the school you can refer to it in your letter of application or during the interview. Remember to mention things you were impressed with on the visit, this might include the environment, extracurricular activities, ethos, values or teaching methodology amongst other things.
On interview day, remember that one of the key characteristics that Head Teachers will be looking for in candidates is the ability to engage effectively with students. Despite being in a room you have never been in, in a school that is new to you, with students you have never met before – it is very important to try and develop a relationship with the young people at every opportunity.Headteacher
Preparing for your interview
Before you start to think about the questions you might be asked, you will need to prepare for the other aspects of your interview. These could include a presentation and a micro-teaching activity as well as the panel interview.
- Check the details you were sent when you were invited to interview so you know exactly what you need to prepare for
- Research the school and the area, find out as much as you can about the school and the children you will be teaching. Think about any particular issues and challenges and ways in which you would deal with these.
- Prepare your micro-teaching session and produce a plan you can share with the interview panel, prepare materials and resources and anticipate any questions that might be asked afterwards.
- Look at the job description and person specification so you are clear about what the job involves and what the recruiters are looking for.
- Think about evidence that shows you match the job requirements. Try to think of 2 – 3 examples to evidence each criterion so you have examples to hand if asked at an interview. Practise using the STAR technique for competency questions. You can find out more about this technique in our STAR framework resource
- Look back at your application and remind yourself what you have told the recruiters.
- If you have been asked to provide links to a teaching portfolio – or if you have decided to take one anyway – make sure this is up to date and has examples of all of the experience and skills you wish to evidence
- Make sure you are up to date with the latest developments in education policy and practice and the curriculum and teaching methodology for the subject and age range you plan to teach
- Think about interview questions you may be asked – for some ideas see the teaching interview resources on our interview pages
A typical interview schedule
Your interview will usually take place at the school, however, if the school is part of a larger multi-academy trust or similar the interview may take place at the lead school instead.
The assessment process may last a whole day or part of a day. There may also be a break partway through the day, with not everyone proceeding to the formal panel interview stage.
Some or all of the following activities may be used:
- Informal talks with a Senior Teacher/Head of Department.
- Tour of the school and possibly a school lunch.
- A panel interview which may include pupils and governors as well as staff.
- A presentation. – A micro-teaching session with questions.
- A video interview – increasingly used for interviewing applicants by Graduate recruiters and extensively used by schools during the Covid 19 lockdown. Read more about Video Interviews on the Prospects website
On the day
Make sure you have a copy of your application with you and also any resources and paperwork for additional assessments (e.g. micro-teach) and any documentation you have been requested to bring.
First impressions are crucial! Dress smartly but comfortably. Smile, shake hands and look enthusiastic.
If there is a tour of the school, try and engage with the children leading it and show interest.
Remember to use STAR answers to interview questions.
Further reading and resources
For more information and tips on performing your best in Teaching Interviews read this article on the Targetjobs website
TargetJobs – Graduate Career Guide – Teaching
For more tips and advice on interviews in general visit the Interview pages on the Careers website.
Use Interview Stream to practise video interviews and to hone your interview technique. You can practice interviewing anywhere with this using your phone or tablet and can ask for feedback from a Careers Adviser.
Teaching outside England
Many graduates decide to teach outside of England. Depending on where you want to teach the steps required and places to look for vacancies will differ. Use the links below to find out more about teaching in other parts of the UK, Ireland and the rest of the world:
Have a look at this dedicated collection of information to help you get your first job as a teacher.Securing a Teaching Position