Randstad’s Quick Guide for Student Teachers

We’re always keen to hear from employers and recruiters who offer jobs to our graduates. In this guest blog Catherine Stockford from Randstad reflects on some of the FAQs from our Teaching and Education Fair.

In February I attended the ‘Teaching and Education Fair’ held in the Eden Building at Liverpool Hope University. My colleagues and I spoke to many students finishing their teaching courses in a few months time, and as in other years, we heard the same frequently asked questions. Here’s a summary of those questions and answers:

Can you register with an agency before you qualify?

Yes of course! You can register with an agency at any time of the year. For those of you on a BA/BSc QTS course who may have the odd day free throughout your 3 or 4 years of study, you could work as a teaching or nursery assistant when you aren’t in lectures. Those on a PGCE course have a little less free time but this is still a possibility. You can also work as an ‘unqualified’ teacher right at the end of your course before you ‘officially’ graduate, so for example if you are free from around May of your final year, you’ve received your teacher number already from the NCTL (National College for Teaching and Leadership), and we can obtain a reference from your final teaching placement, then you could be out earning money and gaining real teaching experience ahead of other students who wait until September of the new academic year! This will definitely help you with permanent job applications, as you can write and talk about your current relevant experience!

If I am only looking for a permanent job, why would I register with an agency? 

Did you know we don’t just look after temporary roles, you can get permanent work through an agency too! Lots of schools approach us to secure the best NQTs early on in the year. We also have many success stories where NQTs we have placed on supply have done such a good job the school has offered them a permanent job! Don’t forget doing supply teaching is no longer seen as second best and is not just what people do when they can’t find a permanent job; many teachers make a professional choice to undertake supply at the beginning of their career in order to work out what types of school they want to settle in for their eventual permanent position. You may experience something you haven’t tried before and love it, for example a different age range to your teaching practices, or even a school that caters specifically for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND); these experiences could shape your whole career differently to what you expected when you completed your course, so see it as a brilliant opportunity to take advantage of!

I heard that I can do my induction on supply, can you give me more details?

Yes you can!  Induction, or your ‘NQT Year’ as it is also called, is usually one academic year in total, split into three terms, and this can be completed in sections, so for example if you secure a long-term supply placement in a school for one term, then that counts towards your final assessment.  Your induction could therefore be completed in three different schools, and it does not need to be immediately consecutive either!  At the end of each term you would receive feedback and targets for your next term of assessment, which you can keep and take to the next school.  Unfortunately you cannot complete induction in England on day to day supply as it is deemed to be too hard to evidence your impact on the progress of the children in such short periods of time.  Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own induction systems and therefore may differ slightly, so worth researching if you live in, or plan to work in, these areas.

Do I only have five years to do my induction?

No!  Many people misunderstand the rule: the time limit on doing your induction was actually lifted many years ago in England, so you have as long as you want to complete it.  So in short, whenever you trained, if you haven’t completed induction yet you can still do so (as long as you find a school willing to take you on if you have a substantial gap away from education).  The only time limit imposed is how long you can undertake ‘casual’ supply teaching for that does not count towards your induction i.e. day to day or short-term supply.  This limit is five years from the date you were awarded your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which will be on your QTS certificate.  So for five years from this date, you can do as much supply teaching as you want, direct with schools or through agencies.  After five years have passed, if you haven’t fully completed your induction, you can not do any more casual supply, such as ad hoc days or a couple of weeks, but you can accept supply work that counts towards your induction, for example a booking of at least a term in length.  Bear in mind also that the guidance is all about ‘maintained schools’, so you could still be employed on supply in places such as Independent schools, Academies, Free Schools, or Alternative Provision for example, after the five years is up, as they set their own rules!  As before, this also only applies to England; Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland again have their own induction systems and may differ slightly.  Basically, don’t panic, QTS (once gained) cannot be taken away from you!

What if I can only work part-time?

This is no problem on supply, you simply let the agency know the days you are available and they will work around you.  If they can’t find you the perfect job that fits in with the days you are available, then you can still undertake day to day or ad hoc supply work on those days, which will still give you invaluable experience.  Supply is great for people who need that degree of flexibility!

Does it cost me any money to register?

There are no costs to register with an agency at all, in fact it’s illegal for us to charge our candidates any money for our service!  However, in order to register for work with children you will need an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS, the old CRB) for the ‘Child Workforce’ that is registered with the DBS Update Service.  If the DBS you gained at the beginning of your university course is no longer valid and not with the update service, and Randstad Education process a new one for you, this will set you back £47.50 for a new one.  The registration subscription to the update service for this document is then £13 each year.  If you plan to work in Wales there are also additional costs associated with registering with the Education Workforce Council (EWC) which is a compulsory requirement there.  We would also recommend membership of an education specialist Trade Union for additional information and support; student teachers and supply teachers often get reduced membership fees so shop around the various organisations!

What if I’ve done a qualification for Further Education and don’t have QTS at all, can I still teach in schools on supply?

QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) is the accreditation awarded to teachers in England once they have completed a period of initial teacher training and passed a variety of skills tests.  Some teacher training courses, particularly those for ‘post-compulsory education’ or Further Education (14-19 or 16+) do not include an award of QTS.  However, you can still work in schools without this, for example as teaching assistants, cover supervisors, or even as an ‘instructor’ or unqualified teacher, especially in shortage subjects.  Being an unqualified teacher in a secondary school however, unfortunately means you often start on a lower pay scale than someone who has QTS.  To be eligible for the main pay scale, you can be conferred with ‘QTLS’ (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills) status after completing the professional formation, usually including a portfolio of evidence, which takes a minimum of four months.  QTLS holders who are also members of the SET (Society for Education and Training, formerly the IfL or Institute for Learning) can then be appointed to positions as qualified teachers in schools without the further need for induction.  It sounds very confusing but your agency consultant should be able to offer you advice on these routes and certainly offer you relevant work!

How do I register?

If you are just looking for advice then give us a call today on 0151 255 1666; even if you don’t want work in the Liverpool area we are a national agency and could put you in touch with a more relevant office.  To book in for registration, simply send us your CV to liverpool@randstadeducation.co.uk and a specialist consultant for your area and specialism will call you to arrange a face to face meeting, where you bring in documents and complete our online forms before being authorised for work once you are compliant against our strict ‘child safety’ criteria.  You are then ready to be offered work, whether that be temporary, long-term contract work, or permanent roles!  For more help and support with CVs, interview tips and industry news, check out Randstad’s career hub: randstad.co.uk/job-seeker/career-hub/education/  Wishing you the best of luck!


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