To say the last few years have been extraordinary is quite an understatement. However, now the pandemic is easing, the opportunities are opening up like never before.
With record numbers of students, there has never been a better time to enter the teaching profession.
If you’re reading this, there is a strong chance that after years of hard work finishing your degree, and your ECT induction period, the time to find a full-time teaching position has finally come.
A word of warning, though - it’s not yet the time to rest on your laurels; there is still a little work to do to get your preferred teaching position.
Along with record numbers of students, there is also a healthy pool of graduates, similar to yourself who are also looking for a paid teaching position.
However, don’t worry. We have your back, and that’s why we have written this post for you. This is the essential guide to finding the perfect Early Career Teaching job (formerly known as an NQT).
What’s the first step towards your ECT position?
The first step for you is to join the Lambeth ECT Induction Pool. The application to join the Lambeth ECT Induction Pool is a simple two-step process. You can go straight to sign up by clicking HERE.
After you register, you’ll receive the 'Lambeth ECT Information Pack', and we’ll email you any further relevant information. Then you will be able to create job alerts and set your preferences.
Once you’ve completed all that, it’s time to look in other areas to broaden your chances of finding your desired position.
Did you choose the School Direct option into teaching?
If you did, perhaps the school has already confirmed you can stay on as an employed teacher.
However, many schools are not in the position to offer every trainee a full-time teaching role.
If that’s you, don’t stress out.
Of course, it can be worrying knowing you’ll be joining all the other recently qualified graduates looking to find employment.
So, how can you find the school of your dreams?
What’s the best way to find the school where you want to start your teaching career?
How can you ensure that you’re the winning candidate?
Read on for our top advice on finding an excellent ECT job.
What’s the first step towards your ECT position?
Let’s be realistic. You’re looking for the perfect job, and it might be out there for you, but the first challenge you face is simply getting an ECT role that is a fit. The perfect ECT job is the goal, but an ECT job that’s a good fit for you and that you’ll enjoy is definitely within reach.
There are always compromises to consider and decide upon, especially if this is your first position.
Here are a few of the dilemmas you might face:
These are all genuine concerns, and most, if not all, will be answered throughout the Teach Lambeth website.
One of the first things to consider when looking for your first ECT job is whether you should use an agency.
The simple truth is that you do NOT need an agency.
In fact, your future employer would much prefer to work with you directly.
The plain simple truth is Teacher Recruitment Agencies are expensive and unnecessary!
Recruitment agency fees are often in the region of £3,000 to £5,000 for a single job placement. And sometimes as much as £12,000, especially where the placement happens as a conversion of a previous supply teacher arrangement.
Your potential employer would prefer to avoid paying these astronomical fees. In fact, due to economic constraints, many schools are actively looking for ways to avoid paying these high and unnecessary costs.
But anecdotal evidence suggests that many ECT teachers seeking a new job through a teacher recruitment agency can find the experience negative, end up not finding the job they’re looking for, and feeling pushed down a route they feel is unsuitable.
So what’s the alternative?
Take a look at our complete guide on the topic here: https://teachlambeth.com/ECT-agency/
Of course, there are many things to consider when looking for your first ECT job. And in the next part of this article, we’ll cover many areas that come up most frequently. Let’s start with your teaching application.
What salary can you expect as an early career teacher?
Congratulations! You've been offered and accepted your dream ECT position in Lambeth.
You already know that teaching is a rewarding career with some significant long-term benefits, but what does that mean when you’re freshly qualified and starting your new job in one of the most vibrant cities in the world?
You’ll be happy to hear that the government confirmed a starting salary pay rise of 5.5% for the 2020/21 academic year.
This would mean that your salary as an Early Career Teacher would be £25,714 in England (not excluding inner London) and £32,157 in the centre of London.
Thankfully the largest portion of the salary rises went to Early Career Teachers. The more experienced teachers had to settle for a 2.75% increase.
However, there is more good news on the way.
The government has promised to increase the ECT salary in the UK to £30,000 by September 2022 as part of the early career framework, but the exact timeline has not been confirmed yet.
You probably have more questions about your ECT position, such as:
What’s the best way to complete your ECT application?
First of all, you should read the job advertisement carefully. You must follow the school’s exact procedure for applying for a position, or you will probably not even make it to second base.
If the school asks you to attach a cover letter, make sure you do so. If you need help with this we have written a detailed guide for you.
You can access this guide by following the link below.
Link: Your ECT Cover Letter: Why it Matters and What to Say
Likewise, they don’t ask for one, don’t attach one thinking you may get bonus points. Follow their procedure to a tee.
Next, you should assess the specifics of the advertisement. Write down all the qualities they mention they are looking for in the new position.
You must reference all these qualities in your application to make it to the interview stage.
If this is your first position, don’t worry about your lack of experience. Just highlight your personal qualities, skills, and experience in other areas which could be relevant to your application.
If you have to complete an online form, use a program like MS Word to type out your answers to the questions and review and spell-check each of your replies carefully.
This way, you can ensure you don’t make any silly mistakes. You’d be surprised how many applicants mess up this critical step.
Separate yourself from those people by following our advice. Keep everything you write clear and concise. Then paste your answer into the relevant section.
We have written a detailed article on writing your application. You can find it by following this link: ECT Job Applications and Who Should be My Referees?
How do you write a strong ECT personal statement?
Your application and ECT statement will be the first steps in securing that dream position. Therefore, you obviously want to make a great first impression.
And I’m sure you have many questions about writing a perfect personal statement.
That’s why we have written a full, in-depth article on this topic. You can find it here: Your ECT Personal Statement.
How do you choose your referees?
Be careful who you choose as your personal referees. Don’t choose friends, neighbours or relatives as your referees.
Your referees should know you professionally. Your line manager from a school you’ve worked at before would be perfect. Also, a senior colleague from your placement schools would be a good choice.
Choosing a referee from your current placement school is a good idea. If you don’t, this could be a red flag that there has been an issue at that school.
Where can you look for ECT jobs?
Numerous websites all over the internet show job listings for ECT positions. But the trouble is many websites are not updated regularly.
That’s why we have created the Teach Lambeth jobs board. You can find the latest jobs vacancies within the London Borough of Lambeth on this page: https://teachlambeth.com/jobs/
All the vacancies within the London Borough of Lambeth are listed there.
To help you find a vacancy that suits your needs, you can use the filter to refine your search.
Filter by job type - will help you find positions within these four main job types:
Job Alerts - If you find nothing there for you on the day you search, you can sign up to receive specific job alerts for vacancies that interest you by clicking the relevant buttons given.
Also, this is a webpage you will want to bookmark, as new vacancies will appear between 9 am and 10 am each working day, and you want to be one of the first to see them.
However, like some local authorities, Lambeth has an ECT Pool, which enables you to apply to the pool and then have the schools in the borough searching for ECTs approach you.
In effect, you’ll be applying for various ECT roles with just one application.
Read more on that here - https://teachlambeth.com/ECT-lambeth/
Getting a job as an Early Career Teacher
Getting your first job as an ECT is an exciting time in your life. And obviously, there are so many things to think about, plan for and arrange.
One of the first things you will need to consider is when is the best time to start looking for your ECT job.
Well, some schools start to recruit for September as early as January. In fact, the peak recruitment time is often from March to late May.
After this period, the amount of job advertisements usually falls, but some ECTs get their jobs as late as mid-July.
So make sure you plan ahead accordingly to give yourself plenty of time.
Is this the right time to find your first ECT job?
Right now, you might be thinking it’s not the best time to be looking for an ECT job. For sure, the Covid pandemic hit us all hard.
Fuel and heating costs are rising, and the threat of a global recession is forever looming.
However, one thing you should be confident about is the fact that however messed up the world might seem by watching the news, schools will always need great teachers.
Sure, the job market may be challenging right now, but it’s not impossible to find a great school to take you on.
Proper preparation will take you a long way. So, to make sure you are prepared for the ECT job market, here are some important tips to follow:
Tip 1: Prepare a portfolio
As a new ECT you can’t dazzle your new employer with oodles of teaching experience. But you can impress them with your attitude and organisation skills.
Create a folder with your transcripts, certificates, recommendations, references, best lesson plans, and anything that will help you in an interview.
An in-depth, well-organised portfolio will show your professionalism as a teacher and will impress any future employer.
Tip 2: Keep busy
Begin each day with a ‘To Do’ list. Think about everything you can do to push yourself closer to that dream job.
You're getting closer even if you only have two or three things to complete daily.
Tip 3: Think about supply teaching
During tough economic times, getting your foot in the door is better than no position at all.
One of the best things about being a supply teacher is you will get the opportunity to show your talents and enthusiasm.
You’ll also be at the coal-face, so to speak, rubbing shoulders with other teachers and administrators. And basically, you’re in the right place at the right time when positions open up.
Being a supply teacher is also a great way to bridge the gulf between teacher training and the realities of full-time teaching.
You also won’t usually be expected to join meetings or given additional responsibilities. You just teach the classes given to you.
One other potential benefit is the flexibility supply teaching provides. This is especially useful if you’re not sure which area you wish to work.
As you’ll be teaching in a range of schools, you can earn some experience teaching in different areas, understanding what the commute involves, and work with a range of colleagues before you commit to a permanent teaching position.
This is also useful if you’re not entirely sure in which direction you wish your teaching career to follow. Teaching in a variety of schools will broaden your experience and help you decide the best path moving forward.
Tip 4: Practice your interview skills
Let’s face it, no one loves going for interviews. They can be stressful and daunting. But, as with anything, practice makes perfect.
You need to shake off those nerves. And that only comes with practice and experience. However, being relaxed can be tough, especially if you are not well prepared.
Final thoughts on getting your first ECT job
We’ve come to the end of this Guide to ECT Jobs. We hope you’ve found it helpful.
Spend your time wisely in this period of your life. Brush up on the skills you’ll need to get your dream job, such as improving your interview skills. Be organised and make every day count.
Research the top few schools you’d love to work for and find out as much as possible.
Please remember not to be intimidated by your whole job-seeking adventure.
By following the advice we’ve laid out here and all the advice throughout the Teach Lambeth website, you’ll have that dream job before you know it!