New teachers struggling to find secure jobs

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A new survey by the Training and Development Agency for Schools has revealed that many newly-trained teachers are struggling to find secure jobs in England's schools.

The newly qualified teacher (NQT) survey found that just under 45% of new primary teachers in England found permanent posts, compared with 25% of secondary teachers who qualified in 2008.

The survey showed that 95% of new teachers were in some form of teaching job. but there were big regional variations, with only 33% of newly-trained primary teachers finding permanent work in the North East compared to 73% in London. Only 18% of primary and 24% of secondary teachers moved to find work.

The figures also showed 30% of newly-trained primary teachers had fixed-term contracts, while a further 10% had taken up teaching supply contracts. This compared to 15% and 6% respectively in secondary schools.

There were also more fixed-term contracts in the north east of England, with 45% of newly trained teachers on these here compared to 14% in London. Some 22% of newly trained teachers in the North West had fixed term contracts compared with 105 in the East. And nearly half of all newly-trained secondary teachers said they were working a school facing challenging circumstances compared to 43% of primary teachers.

A TDA spokesman said: "The survey of new teachers shows that on average they make only three to five applications before securing a job. There are bound to be regional variations in the job market.

"We always urge people to be flexible when considering which area of the country offers the best opportunities. It is good news for everyone, including parents and young people, that teaching is now competitive.

"It is the profession of choice for graduates. Nobody expects just to walk into a job, least of all one as rewarding as teaching. "

The main findings of the NQT survey on employment circumstances show that:

  • There was little difference in the proportion of primary trained respondents employed in teaching compared with secondary trained respondents (95 per cent compared with 96 per cent), and no change to last year’s figures.
  • The pattern of employment of primary trained NQTs was different from secondary trained NQTs. For example:
    • Fifty-five per cent of primary trained NQTs had permanent teaching contracts compared with 75 per cent of secondary
      trained NQTs. A higher percentage of primary trained NQTs had permanent teaching contracts compared with last year (51 per cent). The results for secondary trained NQTs remained unchanged at 75 per cent. 
    • Thirty per cent of primary trained NQTs had fixed term teaching contracts compared with 15 per cent of secondary trained
      NQTs. This was similar to last year (31 per cent and 16 per cent).
    • Ten per cent of primary trained NQTs had teaching supply contracts compared with six per cent of secondary trained
      NQTs. For primary NQTs this was a significant decrease from last year when the figure was 13 per cent. 
  • The primary trained NQTs made on average 5.2 applications compared with 7.5 last year, and the secondary trained NQTs made 3.2 compared with 3.8 last year. 
  • The primary trained NQTs had on average 2.3 interviews compared with 2.2 last year, and the secondary trained NQTs had 2.1 interviews compared with 2.2 last year. 
  • Fifty-two per cent of primary trained NQTs rated their training as very good or good in helping them to apply confidently for teaching positions compared with 67 per cent of secondary trained NQTs. 
  • Forty-four per cent of primary trained NQTs indicated that they had another career prior to beginning their teacher training compared with 52 per cent of secondary trained NQTs. 
  • The pattern of employment of primary trained NQTs showed large regional variations. For example: 
    • Seventy-three per cent of NQTs trained in London had permanent teaching posts compared with 33 per cent trained in
      the North East. This was a similar result to last year (71 per cent compared with 32 per cent). 
    • Forty-five per cent of NQTs trained in the North East had fixed term teaching contracts compared with 14 per cent trained in London. 
    • Twenty per cent of NQTs trained in the South West had teaching supply contracts compared with four per cent in the Eastern region. 
  • The pattern of employment of secondary trained NQTs showed some regional variations, although not as large as primary. For example: 
    • Sixty-five per cent of NQTs trained in the North West had permanent contracts compared with 85 per cent in the Eastern region. 
    • Twenty-two per cent of NQTs trained in the North West had fixed term contracts compared with 10 per cent trained in the Eastern region. 
    • Nine per cent of NQTs trained in the North West region had teaching supply contracts compared with three per cent trained in the East Midlands. 
  • Twenty-five per cent of primary trained NQTs indicated that they were employed in a school in which they trained compared with 32 per cent of secondary trained NQTs. 
  • Eighteen per cent of primary trained NQTs indicated that they relocated to take up their current teaching position compared with 24 per cent of secondary trained NQTs. 
  • Forty-three per cent of primary trained NQTs considered they were working in a school facing challenging circumstances compared with 48 per cent of secondary trained NQTs.
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