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Applying for your first job

You have worked very hard in your placements; meeting a wide range of people, children, young people and parents and carers. You have planned, prepared, wrote, displayed, taught, reflected, evaluated and discussed your teaching practice. So, to help you, we have gathered together some helpful advice.

Before starting to apply...

Ask yourself these questions:

  • why did I choose to teach and reflect on where you were before you decided to train?
  • think about your entire teaching and life experiences and how you can apply this experience in your application?
  • what type of school do you think you are most likely to feel at home in?
  • where do you want to live?
  • reflect on your teacher training and placements - what did you learn, what did you achieve and has this helped you decide that type of school you want to work in?

When should I start looking?

Our advice is to start looking for a September teaching post as soon as possible from around December onwards. Your placement schools will always mention possible jobs and may even want to interview you quickly. Take a deep breath and think about whether the school is right for you.

Teaching jobs will continue to be advertised right up until the end of July. Posts advertised after the 31st May resignation deadline will focus on attracting NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) given permanent teachers can't start for September.

Start searching - where to look?

A handy tip: register your interest and sign up for job alerts saves scrolling through reams of jobs

* Teach YC – if you are wanting to work across Scarborough, Whitby and Filey all our teaching jobs will also be posted at

* Local authority job boards. In North Yorkshire the majority of teaching jobs will be advertised on The Council's jobs portal -

* DFE Teaching Vacancies – free job board for schools from the DFE -

* TES – mostly secondary schools will advertise on the TES – you can sign up and create a job account -

  • University/ITT provider- schools will let your tutor or university know of jobs so make sure you read those emails and messages

* Twitter – get on twitter a lot of schools are on twitter and will share jobs – follow schools you want to work at and show initiative. Follow us @teachyorkscoast and follow #edutwitter and the Chartered College of Teaching @CharteredColl

* Agencies – schools will work with their preferred supply agencies so they can also help alert you to jobs.

How much research do I have to do?

We recommend looking at a number of schools in the area you want to work / live and checking them out! Look at their website, social media, prospectus, staffing profiles so you are ready if a teaching post comes up at the school.  Ofsted is always useful - but remember sometimes the best school for you isn’t the one graded outstanding!

Does the advert encourage NQTs?

There are times when schools won’t be able to appoint an NQT (newly qualified teacher) - usually due to Ofsted, capacity to support you in the department / phase or simply they need a teacher with a bit more experience at that particular time.

Does the advert say applicable for NQTs or NQTs welcome to apply? Great!

Does the advert mention the words 'experienced teacher' and no mention of NQTs - not great!

The best adverts are the ones that are open and are focussed on what the school can offer the teacher.  And remember you can always contact and ask.

View some recent advert examples

Application forms

Is the application form online or a word application? 

Some academy trusts have online systems to apply for their jobs, some are happy for you to apply using the TES application system. This can be easier as on the TES you can store your application details to save time. Most schools that are part of a local authority (we are in North Yorkshire) will use the standard local authority form.

A Handy Tip:

Complete a template application form, which will help you get used to applying for teaching jobs.

Does the advert encourage visits and do I have to visit?

Visits are always encouraged and will allow you to see if the school is right for you. But remember schools will also remember you so ask questions that show you have done some research - don’t always go for the question 'what support do you offer NQTs?'

You don’t have to visit to apply and sometimes you can’t due to seeing a post late or other commitments. A visit is a sneak peak at potentially your new school so make it count!

What tips do you have for the school visit?

Visiting during the school day allows you to see children and students learning and you can see how the school operates.

After school visits are also useful - you sometimes get more of an in-depth chat with the Headteacher, department leads and school staff.

  • the person showing you round may be your line manager or headteacher - ask lots of questions that show you as a teaching professional
  • be cautious about asking questions around the behaviour policy - this is normally on the website and you get a feel by visiting on how the ethos and the attitudes to learning are from visiting classrooms
  • thank the person showing you round and if you and make sure you mention your visit if you decide to apply for the post

Sitting down and completing the application form

  • for your present employment either put your ITT provider or your current placement. This helps schools to see which placements you have been on
  • list your previous placements under previous employments and make sure there are no gaps from when you left school
  • for your references always put down your ITT tutor and your most recent or relevant placements - either school based tutor or the headteacher

Read the form

If you have an option to put your supporting statement in a letter format take it - this makes it easier for the school to read. Simply put see attached in the box. You can then put your supporting statement in a letter format, which means there is no need for a covering letter!

We recommend a maximum two page supporting statement (unless the application form says otherwise).

The Personal Statement

Your personal statement is in many ways the most important part of your application. Read the job description and person specification and make sure your application demonstrates you know the school. Do not make your application generic and one that you can send to any school.

  • make sure you get someone to proof read it
  • shape your statement - first couple of paragraphs on why you are applying for the role and the school. If you have visited mention this - did you see anything on the visit that impressed you - can you link this to your teaching experiences so far?
  • talk about why you want to be a teacher - what is your educational philosophy? How have your placements helped form this?
  • talk about your placements - mention them by name and their context. Give examples of the progress you and your pupils have made, the classes you have taught and the lessons you have planned. Link your progress to the Teachers' Standards (2012) that you have been assessed against during your training year. How are you going to bring your experiences so far to the school?
  • continual Professional Development (CPD) - what CPD have you been involved in - and what CPD are you interested in accessing
  • extra curricular activities - what else can you offer the school? Link this to the curriculum offer at the school
  • make the first and last paragraphs positive and memorable


"…As a result of my recent visit, I would really appreciate the opportunity to work at ….  because the school’s ethos and values are strongly matched to my own. Additionally, I think it would be a supportive environment to develop and grow as a Newly Qualified Teacher…"

Here are some further tips for completing your personal statement...

You have been shortlisted!

Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for the post! Depending on the school and the role, you will be asked to take part in any of the following:

  • teaching task - usually 30 minutes for a primary and can be 60 minutes in secondary
  • planning or marking task
  • pupil or student voice - the students will ask you questions
  • meet the department or staff
  • formal interview - competency based interview usually with a panel of 3-4 staff (headteacher, head of department / phase, deputy headteacher or NQT lead and a governor)

Some interview tips

  • firstly prepare well read your invite letter / email and draw as much information. And if you need to ask questions feel free to do so. Sometimes schools want you to get in touch and get more information - they want you to do your very best
  • be prepared for technology not playing ball - have a back up plan
  • first impressions count - arrive on time or a little early and plan your journey! School carparks are smaller than you think and you may have to park away from the school
  • be smart and ready to be interviewed by the profession you have chosen to join
  • smile – be enthusiastic, passionate and motivated. Show why you are applying to join the teaching profession

Virtual recruitment

The COVID-19 situation has thrown new challenges as to how schools recruit. Virtual platforms like Zoom, Google Classroom / meet, Microsoft TEAMS have allowed schools to be more recruit. Schools have arranged virtual zoom tours of the school to prospective teachers, which have replaced the traditional school tour. Take half an hour to research the different virtual platforms and make sure you are comfortable with how they work. Read our blog to learn more about virtual recruitment on the coast.

The interview

A formal interview can often seem scary but schools want you to do well and understand that as an NQT you won’t be the finished article - in fact who is!

It is normal to lose your train of thought and those key examples of your skills can pop out of your head! Maybe use the S.T.A.R. technique to help?  Situation, Task, Action and Result.

Have you any questions for us?

Well done - it is over!

After the interview remember the magic words - 'please' and 'thank you'.

If you would like to move your teaching career here to the North Yorkshire coast and would like some advice and support contact our own specialist Educational Recruitment Specialist Helen about any roles we have here on the North Yorkshire Coast.

Good luck!