Webinar for Job Seekers

TeachVac is collaborating with Marketing Advice for Schools to offer a webinar for teaching either currently job hunting or thinking of doing so. You can find the details at https://www.careeradviceforteachers.co.uk/ With a new section on on-line interviews and how to deal with them, this webinar is based around a successful seminar created for teachers during the last recession when there were more teachers than jobs.

The first webinar will be next Monday evening.

Places are limited and participants will receive a copy of the sides. If you know someone that might find the webinar useful, please do pass this on to them.

A new world in recruitment

There is a saying that ‘necessity is the parent of invention’. So it has proved to be during this pandemic. Video conferencing may come to be the next big breakthrough. Not perhaps on the scale of email or mobile phones, but, as the technology is refined, becoming something that will alter both our private and public lives in a way society wouldn’t have believed just two months ago. For instance, how soon before clothes retailers ensure garments will fit the wearer when viewed on-line and cannot then be returned as ‘the wrong size’?

There will also be profound effects on teaching and learning at all levels. In England, the responsibility for education has always remained with the parent or parents, and schooling by the State has been the default offering if a parent chose no other method of education. How that contract between the State and its citizens will develop in this, the 150th year of state supplied schooling, is yet to be determined, but a heck of a lot of invention has been taking place very rapidly.

All this came to mind as I reflected upon the future for TeachVac, the free matching service for teaching jobs and those looking for such a vacancy. Launched six years ago next month, the aim was then, as it still is, to demonstrate that technology could create a viable and low cost platform to bring together schools wanting teachers and teachers looking for jobs.

Well, TeachVac has proved that it can be done for little more than £2 per vacancy. Of course, schools still don’t believe that is possible and spend large amount of money with paid for platforms because they have offered the largest number of visitors to their sites. During a period of teacher shortages, such an approach made some sense, although it would probably have been cheaper to persuade those looking for jobs to move to the free platform that required the least amount of effort on the part of schools.

However, we are now in a different world. With predictions of mass unemployment and future funding for public services unlikely to be as generous as we would wish, especially if the government has to bail out the economy, schools may see a rush of applicants for any vacancy. So, why pay for an advert that attracts so many applicants that it wastes time and costs money short-listing?

A premium site, in terms of quality that is free at the point of use and requires as little efforts as possible, at least for a first advert is a much better proposition. Schools that have the cash to spare can continue to use paid-for services, but others might choose between sites such as the DfE’s, where some effort is required to upload a job, and those, such as TeachVac, where all that is required is to put the vacancy on the school’s own web site.

Of course, teachers and, especially trainees are now in a different position. Instead of having the pick of jobs, they might be competing with many more candidates for fewer vacancies, especially if teachers in post stay put. TeachVac can be tailored to meet the needs of the training sector. Perhaps by offering a 24 hour period of exclusivity for classroom teacher posts before matching them all potential candidates?

As a bonus, we are also dusting off our course on how to apply for a job’ and turning it into an on-line version ready for those that need a bit of support in this new world. Watch out for details of our first webinar next week.


Should trainee teachers be job hunting?

Laura MCInerney the teacher turned editor turned commentator, and also a successful businesswoman has been discussing the question of whether trainee teachers will want to apply for jobs since their training having been so disturbed?

As a former teacher trainer, and someone that has spent many years studying trends in teacher supply I have two observations on this question. Firstly, by the end of Term 2 of their preparation most graduates fall into one of three categories; those that can be told that providing that they keep up their momentum they will pass the course and can apply for jobs if they haven’t been snapped up by the schools where they have already been working; secondly, the small group where either the selection process failed or some other factor has intervened to ensure the trainee is highly unlikely to successfully complete the course. Clearly, even in normal circumstances this group won’t be expect to be applying for teaching posts, or if they do, then their reference might not be fully supportive and draw attention to the challenges they have faced. Finally there is a small group not yet ready to be told that they ‘not yet ready to be on track to complete the course successfully’. This group might be helped to identify their needs by a supportive final term , whether to develop those classroom skills or hone their planning or assessment abilities. This group might want to defer applying for a job, but then they would in any other year be likely to be advised to do so.

The anxiety is no doubt over whether the third term learning will take place, but I don’t see why the manner in which trainees adapt to the changed , and the work currently being undertaken, should not be regarded as just as valuable as the normal curriculum of teacher preparation.

No doubt of more concern in the minds of trainees is whether the job market for teachers, that is still operating, albeit at a much reduced pace than normal for late April, will be swamped with returners to teaching that have lost their current source of income? Such is the normal pattern of events in a recession, and schools have to weigh up the value of trainees over the experience either former teachers or teachers returning from abroad can offer.

Because of the risk of an avalanche of returning teachers seeking a teaching post, I would suggest trainees don’t delay making applications and that they cast their net as wide as possible, especially if they are training for the primary sector or are history or PE teachers. Such vacancies may be in short supply and competition will be fierce.

As ever, I suggest using TeachVac www.teachvac.co.uk where I am Chairman to search for vacancies. It’s free and as far as England is concerned more comprehensive that the DfE site, as TeachVac contains both state and private school vacancies.

Good luck with job hunting whether you are a trainee looking for your first job; a current teacher seeking to change jobs or a returner for whatever reason.


Fewer teacher vacancies since lock down

Laura of TeachTapp and and Freddie Whittaker have written an article in SchoolsWeek about teacher vacancies that confirms what TeachVac has been saying on Linkedin. http://www.teachvac.co.uk

Having crunched some numbers, the team at TeachVac have noted a bigger fall in primary teacher jobs than in the secondary sector. However, both sectors, and especially the secondary sector, had a very strong first couple of months of 2020.

Recorded Vacancies for Teachers by TeachVac
2018 2019 2020
January 5492 6386 8216
February 5056 5791 8421
March 7159 9029 9302
subtotal 17707 21206 25939
April 1799 4233 1793
Total 19506 25439 27732
2018 2019 2020
January 1910 1568 1719
February 2046 1617 2103
March 2944 2844 2491
subtotal 6900 6029 6313
April 819 1423 419
Total 7719 7452 6732
2018 2019 2020
January 3582 4818 6497
February 3010 4174 6318
March 4215 6185 6811
subtotal 10807 15177 19626
April 980 2810 1374
Total 11787 17987 21000

Contact me if you want details of secondary subjects.

Teacher Vacancies

1,000+ new vacancies for teachers posted since Monday by schools in England, according to TeachVac data.www.teachvac.co.uk

Of these vacancies, the majority were posted by secondary schools; with half of the vacancies located in 3 regions (London; South East and East of England).  Vacancies included 87 for teachers of English; 138 for teachers of mathematics and 156 for teachers of science and specific subjects within the sciences.

TeachVac’s dedicated team are working remotely to bring you as many the vacancies posted by schools in England as possible. Schools anywhere in the world can post vacancies on TeachVac Global for a small fee.

TeachVac is looking to expand the service in England to non-teaching vacancies using the spare capacity available if teaching vacancies reduce in number significantly.

John Howson

Chair, TeachVac

Flat Lining: not good enough

Yesterday, UCAS announced its latest numbers for applications to postgraduate teacher preparation courses. Next month will witness the half-way point in the current recruitment cycle. At this stage of the year there tends to be a levelling off in the rate of applications from current students, as they head towards final examinations and dissertation submissions, and the momentum in applications tends to be driven by career changers.

Both the current world health outlook and this week’s falls in stock market prices are too recent to have affected decisions about teaching as a career option but, if either, and certainly if both, continue then the period after final examinations this summer might see an upturn in applications for teacher preparation courses. This would obviously be helped if companies reduce or stop hiring graduates this year.

But, all that is for the future. These figures suggest very similar overall outcomes to this point last year, with some subjects doing slightly better than last year, while others are faring less well.  Applications for primary sector courses continue their downward trend.

Still, there are some crumbs of comfort for the government. Applications to providers in the key London and South East regions are up on last year, whereas in the other regions applications are lower. As ever, it would be helpful to see these changes by primary and secondary sector applications. Overall applications for primary courses are down by nearly a thousand applications, whereas those for secondary courses are up by around 500. However, this might translate into less than 200 additional applicants. In fact, there are some 50 fewer applicants overall than this point last year: a reduction of around one per cent.

Applications for Teaching Apprenticeships continue to increase on this point last year, although the level of applications remains at little more than ‘noise’ in the system. Primary School Direct (non-salaried) courses remain the only bright spot in the primary sector, with a small increase in applications, against falls elsewhere.

In the secondary sector, there are increases for all types of courses, but the School Direct Salaried route is still attracting only a small number of applications, and acceptances are down on this point last year to just around 140 applications.

The bad news on the subject front is the slump in ‘offers’ to languages courses continues, and the various subjects within this group are now registering their lowest levels of ‘placed, conditionally placed and holding offers’ applications since the 2013/14 recruitment round. Both mathematics and physics are also down on last year’s offers. Where there are increases, as in art; business studies and design & technology they come from such a low base that they are not yet anywhere near sufficient to ensure that the Teacher Supply Model number will be reached; still in these subjects every additional trainee is to be welcomed.

With increasing pupil numbers for 2021, when this cohort of trainees enters the labour market, just keeping pace with last year is to be heading backwards in terms of need for new teachers even at constant funding levels. Any increased funding for schools, if not absorbed in other cost pressures, just makes staffing issues worse.


Will it be an ‘ill-wind’?

At the start of half-term, TeachVac has recorded record levels of vacancies for teachers in the first six full weeks of 2020, compared with vacancy levels or the same period in recent years.  A proportion of the increase is no doubt down to the increase in pupil numbers that there will be this coming September. Although National Offer Day for admissions is still a few weeks away, I am sure that schools already have some idea of whether they will be full in Year 7 this autumn.

Indeed, I assume that new schools opening in September have received their Funding Agreement from the ESFA. If not, this is a policy issue the DfE might want to consider, since preventing such schools recruiting at the most opportune of times is not offering them the best start in life.

On the face of it, this is, therefore, going to be a tricky recruitment round f once again or schools seeking teachers. In part this reflects the lack of recruitment into training in some subjects, as well as the increase in pupil numbers. But, is there now a new factor in the equation?

What effect will the ‘coronavirus’ outbreak have on the labour market for teachers in England? Apart from the knock on consequences on the wider economy, and a possible economic slowdown that is always helpful for teacher recruitment, will the outbreak both deter some teachers from seeking overseas jobs, and encourage some of those overseas to return to the United Kingdom, and schools in England in particular? (As an aside, what, if anything, will the outbreak do for the flow of pupils and students from Asia into schools, colleges and universities in England this year?)

Now, it is too early to tell what the outcome might be of a change in attitude to teaching in Asia in general and China – including Hong Kong – in particular, and there are plenty of other parts of the globe where schools are keen to appoint teachers from England. However, even a small downturn in those seeking to work overseas and an upturn in ’returners’ will be a welcome outcome for the local labour market for teachers in England. It is indeed, ‘an ill-wind’.

TeachVac monitors activity on its site by geographical location on a regular basis. This is a somewhat imprecise methodology, since not all users reveal their geographic la location. However, the site has seen an upturn in activity from certain countries, when compared to this point last year.   So, perhaps we might see more ‘returners’ this summer?