Schoolzone: changing teaching jobs

Making the next move

The first job; the interview
Marie Rawles, 26, is completing her third year as a biology and science teacher at Didcot Girls School, a comprehensive in Oxfordshire. In September, she is transferring to teach biology and science at Coombe Girls School, in New Malden, south-west London.

"I did a four-year BEd course at Exeter University, and after 16 months working in retail, I applied for my first teaching job, at Didcot Girls' School," she says.

"I find the interview process quite off-putting, because of the speed at which you are expected to decide whether or not you want the job. Using the internet helps, and this school had a good website. I was shown round the school on the day of the interview, and I talked to members of staff and to pupils; it's very easy to just stand back and not get involved.

"When I started at the school, I was supporting the head of year with her tutor group, and I later helped the deputy head of year. I think I had proved myself quite good at dealing with students on an individual basis, and their parents, and I really enjoyed the pastoral side.

"In my second year, I was deputy head of Year 9, and I found it very interesting sorting out timetabling and grouping. This year, I wanted to build up my academic teaching, and I really pushed for some A-level work, which the school gave me."

The second job ; the application
"Three years feels the right time to move on. I used the Internet to find out about possible schools in south-west London, where I wanted to move to. It was quite daunting getting together a CV and job application, and I talked about it with colleagues. I would advise teachers to keep a record of all the extra things they do, and their responsibilities, as it can be hard to remember later on: I was advised to do this, but didn't. When I'd done my CV, I showed it to senior management, and they gave me some feedback.

"At Coombe Girls' School, as soon as I walked in I liked the atmosphere and had a feeling I could see myself there. I think they will continue to offer me new experiences for instance, I'm hoping to do some GNVQ teaching as well as A-level. It's important to spread your wings, and work on different teaching styles and qualifications. I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

Getting an internal promotion
Katie Turner, 27, is coming to the end of her second year as a geography teacher at King Alfred's Community and Sports College, a large comprehensive in Wantage. In September she takes on new responsibilities as the school's primary liaison coordinator.

"Towards the end of my first year at King Alfred's, I felt I wanted a new challenge," she says. "I made that known to people, including the head, because I wanted him to think of me when opportunities arose. I hoped I might get a post as a teaching and learning team leader, but nothing came up. But in January this year, there was a temporary vacancy in my department to lead key stage three geography, and I got that, which was great.

"Last month I was promoted on a permanent basis to be the primary liaison coordinator, working with our 14 feeder primary schools. One of the members of my department encouraged me to apply, and I had a chance to practise some interview questions at a course another colleague was running after school, on preparing for promotion, which made me a bit more confident.

"I was surprised in a way to get the job, because I haven't got all that much experience. But I have got ideas. I didn't ask too many people for advice before the interview, because I wanted to keep it quite fresh and not be overloaded with other people's ideas. If you give text-book answers, they're not very inspiring, and I think you've got to be yourself.

"If I hadn't been offered this post, I would have started looking for jobs in other schools. I think it's healthy to look for new opportunities, and I would get bored if I just kept on doing the same things."


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