When teaching professionals become mothers

Isn’t it a shame mothers don’t have a better pathway back to work after several years out having children. If more part time work were available – more work would be done by more mums, who have had a few years out to bring up children.

Time and time again I register skilled teachers at the agency, women who wanted to give their children their full attention for 4/5 years and then find themselves feeling that returning to full time teaching immediately is still:

a) Not possible.

b) Too big a step given their slight “rustiness”.

They join a supply teaching agency in the hope that we will be able to find part time supply teaching work in the London area.

I see the returning to work thing from 2 angles. Firstly from the husband angle and secondly from my work as a recruiter of supply teachers.

We have many candidates who come to us seeking part time supply teaching work, many of whom are mothers and many of whom are very good teachers. If only we could put two of them together to work a full teaching timetable!

My wife needs a part time job role in the profession she qualified in (in her case as a lawyer, which took years and cost a small fortune)….but employers do not want part time (lawyers)  or job sharing lawyers – only your 12 hour day mum (with nanny since the age of 3 months is welcome) it seems!

The same applies to teaching. The teachers who register with our agency and want part time work suffer a similar lack of success, because although:

a)      They are often really excellent teachers and
b)      They teach in-need secondary subjects in an environment of teacher shortage, schools are reluctant to take them on part time job share basis because of expense and because it is viewed as a risk.

I will explain what schools said about job shares further down this article.

The fact  is for most families life is simply too expensive to have one adult family member earning (and one not earning). Also part time work is a more attractive method of getting back into work than waiting until children are much older and then going back full time after a decade of being out of work.

Inevitably it will put women in a really difficult situation. To get a job of any kind they must avoid taking any significant time off work OR they must have fewer (or no) children!

It can be enormously frustrating for us, as a recruiter of effective teachers, when we see schools make poor recruitment choices because they do not want to hire part time job sharing teachers.

The government is clearly keen on getting women back to work – it is heavily in their interests! But realistically whilst it suits some women to go back after 3 months of recovery and bonding time, there are always going to be many who want to stay out of the workforce for several years.

We need to make a pathway that encourages reintroduction gradually and sensitively to a group who have inevitably become “rusty”, but often have very valuable knowledge and indemand skills and too much potential to be permanently put out to “career pasture”.

We hope that the coming post recessionary cycle – during which schools traditionally become desperate to recruit teachers– will help those teachers seeking job-share work a chance to gradually re-enter the school environment.

Next week – what schools say about job share arrangements.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

Supply teacher travel planningOne of the joys of supply teaching is the flexibility it offers.

Supply teachers often find contracts end slightly before the end of term, by mutual agreement with the school.

As a result supply teachers can benefit from significant travel savings.

Now is the ideal time to start planning your summer getaways. So to help you on your way, we have compiled 10 top tips to help you save money on your travel plans:

1.  Book off peak

Some supply teachers are free of the commitment to be at school until the very last day of term. Some schools terminate positions at May half term. So book early and take advantage of huge off peak savings.

2.  Travel at the cheapest times

Supply teaching also means that you are not tied to a Monday to Friday week. So don’t travel at the weekend. Save money and travel midweek.

3. Plane, train or automobile

You can often make considerable savings if you investigate a wide range of travel options.

4. Book yours ticket now

Make the most out of early booking discounts. The closer to the holiday season, the more expensive tickets will get.

5. Use public transport to get to the airport

Don’t leave it until the last minute to leave for the airport. Use public transport and enjoy the savings you will make.

6. Avoid airport currency exchanges like the plague

Know you will get a much better deal if you buy your currency at your post office in advance – or buy a cash card specifically for foreign exchange. The more you change the better the rate at the post office. Know that bank rates are dire and include many hidden fees.

7. Book an apartment as opposed to a hotel

Great apartments can be found at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. We suggest Air B and B – or a private room in a hostel.

8. Camp

Why not make the most out of the glorious summer sun? As with hostels the extras on a campsite or in a hostel are so much less expensive than the extras in a hotel.

9. Beat baggage charges

Pack as light as you can. Challenge yourself to pack hand luggage only. At the same time avoid arrival baggage handling queues.

10. BYO food

Airline food, apart from being unappetising, is notoriously expensive. So plan ahead and take your own and don’t forget a water container to refill!

The days are getting lighter. Summer will soon be upon us. So start planning your summer holidays now. You know it makes financial sense.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

Supply teaching: What to expect

  • Have you recently completed your teacher training, but have yet to find a permanent teaching position?
  • Do you love teaching but want a break from the administrative constraints of the role?
  • Or perhaps you have taken time out from teaching and would like make a return to the classroom?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then supply teaching may offer you a solution. Many teachers enjoy the benefits of supply teaching which include:

  • Flexibility.
  • The opportunity to work in a variety of schools.
  • The opportunity to develop your skills.

One thing is certain. Life is never boring as a supply teacher in London and the South East.

If you are thinking about trying out supply teaching, here is a good article for you that details what you can expect. Also, take advantage of the tips within the article for getting the most out of a typical day:

A day in the life of a supply teacher: What to expect

Of course if you have any tips of your own, please do share them with our readers.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

What supply teaching agencies can learn from matchmakersHow do we find out if candidates and schools are right for each other? The answer lies in matchmaking.

As it is the season of love, we have been thinking about the skills needed to be a successful supply teaching agency matchmaker.

Like a matchmaker who is paid to help people find love, a successful supply teaching agency consultant needs to be equipped with attributes including:

  • Relationship management skills.
  • People and communication skills.
  • Time.
  • Energy.
  • Passion.
  • Drive.

To ensure candidates and schools present themselves in the best possible and accurate light and to make the perfect match.

Matchmaking for schools

Of course building and maintaining strong relationships with schools has to be at the heart of any successful supply teaching agency business. Therefore when making a match for a school, a good supply teaching agency will deliver:

  • A professional service that combines a positive and realistic attitude and the ability to listen and understand the schools needs.
  • Excellent lines of communication.
  • An excellent vetting service.

So that schools can be confident that they will be introduced to the right person with the right skills and attitude to do the job.

Matchmaking for teachers

Very much like modern dating, a supply teaching agency’s initial contact with a teacher will be online. It will speak to you without actually seeing you.

Although a supply teaching agency will be more interested in a teacher’s CV than its photo, it will be aware that some “artistic license” can be used to embellish attributes!

Where a supply teaching agency differs from an online matchmaker is that it can check up on past performance!

Furthermore, unlike an online matchmaker, a supply teaching agency can ask previous (employment) partners for references.

In fact online matchmakers should take note of this feature of our service. Wouldn’t it be great if you could vet potential partners in terms of:

  • Tidiness.
  • Flexibility.
  • Ability to get on with your friends.
  • Punctuality.
  • Attendance… and more.

Sorry, I have become distracted. But surely, this would save so much time?!

Back to matchmaking for teachers. A good supply teaching agency will:

  • Have great relationships with a wide range of schools.
  • Provide a quick and simple job finding service (easy to register and regular updates of available positions).
  • Create exceptional job descriptions.
  • Provide help and advice to get teachers through the interview process.
  • Be skilled in negotiation so teachers can be confident they will benefit from the best rates of pay.

Unfortunately in education recruitment unlike some matchmaking agencies, we do not get the chance to wine and dine our candidates.

However I am going to make a late new year’s resolution to meet as many teachweb teachers as possible for a drink and a chat.

Why?

Because that is how teachweb started and that’s what it is all about!

In conclusion, whatever you are doing this Valentines day, enjoy it and know that we are extremely enthusiastic about your relationship with teachweb!

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

Supply teachers: How to engage a classWhat can be more distracting and frustrating for a supply teacher than having to manage a pupil that:

  • Doesn’t easily participate in class activities.
  • Regularly demonstrates poor behaviour.
  • Doesn’t complete its homework.

Well, you will be pleased to hear that help is at hand. Senior Leader at Shoreham Academy Emlyn Hall has developed an effective new approach to managing pupils with behavioural issues.

Read Emlyn’s article: Helping students to re-engage with their education and you will be able to introduce your school to new strategies for:

  • Getting students to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Salvaging strained or broken pupil/staff/school relationships.
  • Getting pupils with behavioural problems to work together with troubled peers, so that they can ultimately achieve their potential.

Finally, find out how you can help your school, like Emlyn’s school Shoreham Academy to benefit from significant success in re-engaging the most challenging pupils.

Of course and as always, we would be delighted to hear your experiences on this subject. So do let us know if you have any advice you can pass on to teachweb supply teachers.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

Why academy schools strike fear into supply teachersIn part three of our expose on why contract teachers are turning to supply teaching, we turn our attention to academy schools. We reveal why enforced new terms and conditions set by academy schools are driving teachers to rethink their careers.

teachweb supply teachers have been more than willing to share with us their experiences.

Many teachers told us they felt they were being taken for granted. Unfortunately, many also told us they had turned to supply teaching as an exit route from the profession.

It is a fact that academy schools are free to invent new terms and conditions for new staff. On a positive note, the majority of academy pay scales do not tend to vary much from national norms.

Yet worryingly, according to a report by the Times Education Supplement: “Some academies require staff to be available during school holidays, while others put no upper limit on working hours.”

According to the NASUWT, academy schools can propose all sorts of changes to pay and conditions.

Some existing academies insist on Saturday working, whilst others enforce longer school days and longer school years. In some, slightly more pay is offered for these extensions to working hours. In others, this is not the case.

Furthermore the NASUWT also states: “Existing staff who agree to a change of contract following conversion to academy status are bound by any new contract devised by the academy, which may not include provisions for planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time.”

The NASUWT adds: “New contracts also rarely cover leadership and management time. Also new contracts can result in teachers being required to undertake a range of administrative tasks that do not require their qualifications or skills.”

For many of the more desperate teachers teachweb spoke to, the ultimate decision to leave the teaching profession came only after their contracts were changed when their schools turned into academies.

The majority of teachers found their teaching days lengthened by an hour. In addition they were required to cover after-school activities as well as to stay for meetings until 7pm on at least one night a week.

On top of that, teachers still had to find the hours required to complete marking and paperwork.

In conclusion, in many schools teachers who are already stressed and overworked are now essentially being forced to work an extra hour, every day for the same pay.

Therefore it’s of little surprise that changes to terms and conditions in contracts, applied by academy schools have been the final straw for some good teachers who choose to supply teach while they are retraining.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

Supply teachers reveal why they disagree with teaching to the testTeachers become teachers because they love to teach. Yet it is becoming apparent that under the enormous pressure of tests, league tables and classroom management objectives, many teachers are questioning their career choices.

In a follow up to our last post: The uncomfortable truth: Why teachers are turning to supply teaching, we reveal why teaching to the test is making them so unhappy.

According to many teachers questioned, Ofsted is constantly changing what it expects to see in an outstanding lesson, making it harder and harder to get the coveted grading of “outstanding”.

One teacher told teachweb: “Every child has to be engaged all the way through the lesson to get ‘outstanding’. If just one child is off-task, then you won’t get an ‘outstanding’.”

For anyone who knows children, it seems fairly obvious that at some point during a thirty-minute lesson, at least one child is going to disengage. They’re children for heaven’s sake! On top of that, the lesson isn’t all that will be judged.

Another teacher told us: “You can teach the most amazing lesson, but if you aren’t completely up to date with your marking, you’ll fail.”

More and more teachers get the impression that Ofsted is just looking for ways to catch them out and label them as inadequate.

“It’s meant to be about raising standards, but it feels more like a witch-hunt to me.” said one teacher.

Another teacher said: “I can think of one four letter Tory word for why people would want to leave teaching.” Yes, Mr Gove has a lot to answer for.

Mr Gove has repeatedly insulted teachers by calling them “whingers” and insinuating that they are lazy. He wants to raise teaching standards by adopting performance related pay and forcing out under-performing teachers.

But will these proposals really drive up standards? Of course not. They will just cause more stress and decreased morale in the profession.

Hands up if you know who said this? “The Government must take responsibility for driving so many experienced professionals out of the classroom by tying their hands in red tape and watering down their powers.”

This statement is so true. However it might surprise you to know that this isn’t a quote from one of our teachers. It was actually said by Michael Gove back in 2010 in an attack on the Labour government.

Has anything changed since then? Has red tape been abolished? Well, whatever has been done isn’t enough to stop teachers from quitting, that’s for sure.

Are you thinking of leaving the teaching profession? We would welcome your comments”

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

We cannot help but notice that many highly qualified and experienced teachers are turning to supply teaching, having made the decision to leave permanent teaching jobs to change career.

Further investigation tells us in fact teachers are leaving the profession in droves. It’s hard to ignore these statistics:

  • 50% of teachers quit teaching within their first 5 years.
  • 84% of teachers admit to feeling demoralised and de-professionalised.
  • 50% of current teachers have seriously considered leaving in the last year.
  • Almost half of qualified teachers in the country are no longer teaching.

So to sum up these statistics: Half of all teachers are leaving the profession and 84% of those left feel demoralised.

There’s no way of brushing this issue under the carpet. It’s as clear as day. Teachers are not happy. As a result the UK is losing excellent, highly skilled and committed professionals in their thousands.

Therefore we decided to ask teachers registered with teachweb what the real reasons are behind them wanting to get out of the profession.

As expected, they told us stress and bureaucracy are top of their list. Also, the huge number of changes being forced upon them. Here’s a rundown of some of their comments:

“The unbelievably harsh regime of observations we have to endure.”

“Ofsted has created a new pressure. Now it wants everyone to be ‘outstanding’. My school seems to think that anything else isn’t good enough.”

“This pressure to be “outstanding” has led head teachers to implement their own systems of stress-inducing observations. There used to be a maximum limit to the number of observations a few years ago. Unfortunately for us this has now been removed.”

“In most schools observations are ‘no notice observations’. This means the head will just walk into any lesson without warning, observe it and give the teacher a grade.”

In theory, the possibility of any lesson being observed will lead to improved standards, as teachers will meticulously plan every lesson.

In reality though, teachers are reduced to quivering wrecks with the constant fear of observation upon them. Many work themselves into the ground making sure every lesson is of observation-quality, as if they don’t have enough to work to do.

Are you thinking of leaving the teaching profession? We would welcome your comments”

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

When it comes to searching for teaching jobs in London, due to a wide selection of agencies out there, it can be difficult to choose the best one for you with  those all important competitive pay rates.

At teachweb, we find it is often about connecting with a consultant that understands your requirements, needs and skills so they can place you into a role you will enjoy and thrive in. This article will discuss the benefits of registering with teachweb, some of which include having a dedicated consultant, getting fast feedback and thorough interview preparation help!

 

 

  • Immediate notification of the latest available secondary teaching jobs.
  • After  you have completed the short registration process, you can expect to receive immediate job alerts.  If you let us know you are not available, or you have told us to cease looking on your behalf, you will stop receiving these alerts. The great thing about immediate notifications is that your CV will be the one of the first to arrive at schools offering teaching jobs in London – without you doing anything.  Schools prefer to use agencies because of the speed, efficiency, legality and convenience – and the same is true for candidates – we can send your CV to many teaching jobs at the touch of a button.
  • Having a dedicated, experienced, focused and friendly consultant. With teachweb you are dealing with a personal, experienced, accountable job finding organisation. Once you are fully registered, when you call, you can expect a consultant to be familiar with your “job search” after he or she picks up the phone. We often  identify you by voice without you having to tell us who you are!
  • CV and interview preparation and feedback. Quite a while ago we realised that because we are an intermediary that organises so many interviews, and because we get feedback on each interview, we should be able to give our  candidates information which will help them avoid making common mistakes that previous candidates have made in previous interviews. Most schools reject candidates for similar reasons and , generally the flaw is in the “trial lesson”.
  • Fast reference checks and feedback.
    • Have you every wondered what other  people say about your teaching?
    • Would it be useful to use this information to enhance your practice and to prepare for interviews?
    •  Would you expect your agency to let you know as soon as your references were returned?
    • Teachweb works in partnership with you to use references to your advantage.  

     

    Now you know the perks of registering with teachweb that will give you the confidence, inside knowledge and connections to help you successfully land supply teaching jobs in London.

 

Image taken from www.today.mccombs.utexas.edu

School open days – a chance for the head teachers and principals to sell their secondary schools to local parents and pitch all of the unique benefits their hub of education carries.

I have written this blog post to give an account of my thoughts from not only a recruitment consultants perspective, but that of a parent as well. I really got to see the different ways in which heads perceive their schools and Academies. Each Head also has different persuasive abilities and skills in presenting their school to their audience.

As the open evening season draws to a close, I begin to reflect on the Principals I have seen, and will within this blog post, discuss the pros can cons of their presentations and set them in context against the school being presented.

The first institution I went to was an academy in South London which had recently been taken over by a well known Federation. The Principal was confident and charming with a “can do” attitude. When he delivered his speech, he was so convincing that I (from the talk alone) would have thought the school was an established Academy already on a plateau of excellent results with established buildings and long serving staff. This wasn’t because there was any massaging of figures; it was because the Principal’s approach was so confident. There is no doubt that this Academy is a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis of the old school!

The second was a small Roman Catholic mixed school with a recent rebuild and an emphasis on caring and spirituality as opposed to the first which was centred on raising academic achievement. As a parent who found secondary school quite intimidating myself, I found something very comforting about the presentation of this school. The Head Teacher claimed to know all 700 children’s names (and I believe that is absolutely true). She seemed very approachable and demonstrated prior knowledge of several parents in the audience whose children had been through the school before. There was less of a mention of results and more ambition to bring up spiritual, rounded young people.

The last institution I visited was a large academy, completely new, with very experienced senior managers. There seemed to be an essence of freedom here in which teachers and heads could shape the institution from the ground up (as it was built) along with its policies. The teachers reported that teaching there was so much fun, even compared to other good schools. They claimed the lessons were fun because of the rituals and routines which students engage in, which really do succeed in making them fully participating learners. The Principal was passionate about explaining these rituals, routines and structures built into the day and the curriculum which work to engage students of all abilities. I came away with the impression that this was a place where everyone could succeed. This was partly because the experience of the managers had been allowed to blossom and shape the design of school life in this establishment. The Principal seemed like he knew all of this back to front – but his presentation was possibly more “technical” (in an educational systems sense) than the others. Like the first there was not so much mention of care, and leaning towards making everyone feel at home.

Overall, I came away from the three presentations aware of the competition there now is between Secondary educational institutions. Standards are high and “sink” schools simply do not exist any more which in turn puts increasing amounts of pressure on teachers to get their kids acing exams.

Tell us your thoughts!Which secondary school would you prefer out of the three and why?