Finding a permanent post

In part one of a two-part feature, Elizabeth Platfoot describes her search for the perfect job.

Primary Teacher, Balgreen Primary School, Edinburgh

To get a job, or not get a job, that is the question.

One day I suddenly realised that the end of my probationary year was looming closer at an ever alarming rate.

I was rapidly thrown into a state of shock as I realised that this cushioned post was not forever and I would have to find myself something permanent.

So here was the question I was only willing to have one answer to yes, yes, and yes again! I set about making finding a job my only mission in life (at least up to the Easter holidays!).

Starting the search

I began by asking anyone and everyone for advice. Post-probationers can be incredibly helpful as they've been through it all before. Don't be afraid to be relatively annoying, people understand how important this is to you.

I religiously read the TES jobs section each week, compiling important information about myself and my work in the school this year.

CVs with covering letters

Independent sector schools often ask for CVs and covering letters so I started my applications by creating standard versions of both that could be tailored to suit each individual job.

They are particularly interested in what you can offer them in terms of extra-curricular activities so these are the aspects to highlight in your applications.

This is the stage where you can pat yourself on the back for getting so involved in school activities:

  • the Christmas show
  • after school club
  • school working parties
  • enterprising activities

They were all worth it!

Application forms

I downloaded application forms from every local authority website that I wanted to apply to and began completing standard versions of each one.

The additional information section can be tough to complete as you're continually asking yourself if something is worth putting in.

The paramount aspect that each local authority is looking for is an excellent practitioner with extensive experience of working with young people. So, write about:

  • your lesson planning
  • classroom management and organisation
  • extra-curricular involvement
  • relevant university achievements,┬áincluding running the Brownies or your local karate club.

Once I'd completed the standard versions of each application, I began creating tailored versions of each one. This is the time when you research the school website, HMIE reports and focus your application by ensuring you tackle every aspect of the job specifications and personal specifications.

Play up all your strengths, modesty is not allowed here!

Receiving responses

Be prepared, you will receive lots of rejection letters. This can be disheartening but keep up your morale by sticking to the old saying "What's for you won't go past you." This really is true, your dream job will be out there, it'll just take perseverance to find it.

Part two: In part two, Interviews for permanent posts, Elizabeth discusses the importance of a professional appearance and the dreaded interview itself!