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Hmmm....exactly why are they available?

posted 7 days ago

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Let's face it, it can be a tricky time of year for schools in terms of recruitment and retention. Late resignations (31st May deadline), retirements, timetable re-shuffling, Autumn term maternity leaves etc, can all play havoc with schools' best laid plans for the new academic year.

As a result, the period between May half term and the end of the academic year in July, is seen as "no man's land" by many schools, who often view available candidates through sceptical eyes:

"So, exactly why are they available now? Why haven't they got a job for September yet?" is what we often hear from schools, who are feeling less than optimistic about finding an "outstanding" candidate during this time period. 

But this approach simply assumes that all "outstanding teachers"  must have been in a school contract already and should've resigned by 31st May, but haven't because the right job vacancy hadn't come along.

Yes, there's an element of truth to this.....obviosuly a lot of candidates will be off limits until Christmas...... but don't despair, there's plenty more "outstanding candidates" with perfectly valid reasons to be available. So, let's have a look at a few of them:

  1. NQTs: For those of us who've been through it, we know it's a pretty full on year. And for those who throw themselves in to every element of their placement school life, finding a job often takes a back seat, particularly those who are less fussy with location or type of schools. Consequently, many are late applicants, but back themselves to secure a role. And what of those who are promised a role at their placement school, only to find out the teacher is not resigning!? They're suddenly trust in to the job market too.
  2. Returners: So, theres a lot being made of those leaving the profession, but what of those returning? A career break to raise a family, perhaps a foray in to indusry, working abroad or the desire to secure a more stable and secure job amidst the uncertainlty of Brexit, have all been reasons we've come across for thsoe who wish to return to the classroom. And when you're out of education you tend to not observce the school calendar, the terms, the resignation deadlines etc. Hence many choose to return outside of the traditional recruiting period. And there's some real diamonds out there! Often returning stronger, more worldly wise than when they left the profession.
  3. Relocation: Its not all one way traffic you know! Not everyone thrives in the land of milk and honey, and the dream career move overseas isn't always what it's dressed up to be. In fact once the obligatory 2 year contract is up many return, but struggle as they're unable to physcially attend interviews. But with many overseas international schools finishing in June, returners are often late comers to the recruitment party. Hence many are back in the Uk in June/July, interview ready and hungry for a return to a UK classroom in September.
  4. Overseas Trained Teachers (OTTs): There are areas of the country where schools would simply not be able to open their doors without OTTs. And like their Uk trained colleagues there's often many a vaild reason for not physically being available for interview during the UK term times' main recruiting period up to May 31st. With term date fluctuations (particularly from the commonwealth countries) and a lack of knowledge of the UK education system's nuances, many a quality teacher are late to the recruitment party.

So there's 4 valid reasons for starters. Also take in to account those brave soldiers who resign without a job to go to (and yes, we've come across plenty of those in the past) often due to excaberation with the leadership or direction of their current school, or departmental diffferences and those career supply teacehrs who decide they want a permanent role and you have yourself a huge cohort of talent. It's just knowing where to look and how to attract them. 

So, don't ask why they're available, but rather how can I get them to work for me.