Hot on the heels of my previous email, there are a wide array of virtual events that are dedicated to teacher training and an overview of the sector provided by Get Into Teaching (Events). Attending these events would be beneficial in terms of the information provided regarding deciding on training, applying and interviewing for a programme, but also, something to add to your personal statement to demonstrate your dedication to securing a training place.
Below is a rundown of events that you can attend:
14 October at 16.30-19.30 Virtual Train to Teach Birmingham
Our virtual Train to Teach events will provide you with a wealth of information on how to get into teaching and how to apply for training in your region.
12 October at 11.30-13.00 Supporting your Teacher Training Application
Join this online Q&A event for advice on your teacher training application. Our panel of experts will answer your questions and offer tips and advice on making sure your application stands out.
15 October at 11.30-13.00 Advice for University Students
Join our online Q&A event specifically tailored for university students and find out why teaching is a great career choice. Our panel of experts will provide helpful information on the different training options available, tax-free bursaries and the application process.
19 October at 18.00-19.30 Change Career to Teaching
Considering changing career to teaching? Not sure about the next step? Join this online Q&A event where our panel of experts will discuss the different options available to help you retrain and experiences of the obstacles faced when changing career.
21 October at 11.30-13.00 Teacher Training Options
Looking for a career with a real purpose? Join this online Q&A event to find out more about teaching as a career and the different options you can take to qualify as a teacher in England. Our panel of experts will help you decide which option is best for you and provide lots of advice to kick-start your new career.
26 October at 18.00-19.30 Secondary Teacher Training Options
Join this online Q&A event for advice on all things secondary school teaching. Our panel of experts will help you decide which option is best for you and provide lots of advice to kickstart your new career.
28 October at 11.30-13.00 Primary Teacher Training Options
Join this online Q&A event for advice on all things primary school teaching. Our panel of experts will help you decide which option is best for you and provide lots of advice to kickstart your new career.
Save the date: UCAS Teacher Training Applications Open on 13th October
Its that time of year again when applications for teacher training begin. If you’re a Level H student or a graduate with an interest in training to become a teacher, please read on.
Below is a run down of everything you need to get you ready for the 13th and a few words about the importance of applying early.
What type of teacher do you want to be?
Teacher training is available to suit all age groups (below university level) with a range of possible specialisms and providers:
Early Years – EYTS or School Direct
Primary – PGCE (occasionally PGDE) or School Direct
Secondary – PGCE (occasionally PGDE) or School Direct
Sixth Form and Further Education – PGDE (FE/Post 14)
Get ahead of the curve: when its gone, its gone!
Teacher training courses are on a first-come, first-serve basis, meaning that once a provider has interviewed potential trainees, and offers for places are accepted, the provider will not accept any more applications.
Training providers are obligated to keep training advertisements open for at least 14 days. Best practice for anyone intending on applying for teacher training should have their supporting statement ready for opening day or at least a draft, and ideally submit as ASAP or before the end of October to avoid disappointment. By November some providers will be full or close to full and by December options will be limited.
*Have all education certificates (e.g. GCSE and A-Level) or details of your certificates as you’ll need to know pass dates and examination boards.
*Although your choices are not placed in rank order it is advisable to include your primary choice first.
*The turnaround from application to invite to interview can be up to approximately three weeks but is much quicker in many instances.
The personal statement
a) What to include
Structure, structure, structure…rather than telling the reader that you are a good communicator, show them with structure and concise illustrations.
Have a clear beginning outlining the premise of your application, a middle that describes your suitability in more detail with illustrative examples, and an ending.
Here are some elements to consider including within the personal statement:
b) Important guidelines to follow
*It would be useful to draft your statement in a word processor first (e.g. MS Word) and copy and paste over to UCAS application to ensure grammar and punctuation are correct.
Once all sections are completed you will be allowed to submit your application form. Submission of the application costs a single £1 fee.
As always, the Careers and Employability is here to help, even in these difficult times. You can access us, via email, telephone or video call by emailing email@example.com as well as My Careers Centre.
What should I expect when signing up to a teaching supply agency?
The registration process might vary but will typically involve
At the moment most agencies are able to complete the full registration process virtually and will complete their initial registration interview online via video software like Zoom or Teams.
What does the initial registration interview involve?
Again this may vary depending on the agency but usually involves
Most agencies will provide full details of what to expect during this discussion and what documents you need to have to hand so be sure to carefully read everything they send you ahead of your interview/registration chat so you can be fully prepared.
Will it cost me to sign up to an agency?
No, in fact it’s illegal for an agency to charge candidates any money to register or for their recruitment services.
They may however ask you to cover some costs, if they do pass costs on to you this should be clearly explained.
Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS)
If the DBS you gained at the beginning of your university course is no longer valid and you are not registered with the update service agencies will need to process a new one for you and they will usually ask you to cover this cost. Currently it costs £40 to process this and agencies may also add an administration fee. Some agencies will refund you this cost once you’re regularly working for them.
The registration subscription to the update service is £13 each year so it is worth registering with the update service. Registering with the update service means that if you’re registering with more than one agency you won’t need to pay for separate DBS checks and you’ll always have an up to date Enhanced DBS.
Agencies may ask you to complete compulsory or mandatory training (e.g. safeguarding), as this is mandatory and you are not able to work for them without it this should be provided free of charge. Non-compulsory or optional training they offer may incur a charge.
Some agencies provide accredited training free of charge e.g. Team Teach, Paediatric First Aid so working for an agency can offer you some great benefits.
Some agencies may utilise the services of an ‘umbrella company’ for payroll. It should be made clear to you in writing who your employer is (the agency or the umbrella company) and if any deductions, including ‘charges’, are going to be made to your pay these should be made clear in advance of you carrying out work. Some agencies will give you the option/choice of whether you want to work through an umbrella company in return for employee perks/benefits e.g. reward scheme, discounts etc so take the time to work out which option suits you best if they do offer the choice.
If you plan to work in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you would also need to register with the appropriate teaching register and there are additional costs involved with that;
Northern Ireland – General Teaching Council (GTCNI)
Know your rights – it’s worth being aware of your legal rights; if you’re not sure ask your agency about PAYE, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity rights, Agency Worker Regulations etc – you should be provided with a ‘key information document’ that makes your rights clear.
Can I/should I sign up to more than one agency?
Yes, agencies will work for different schools and cover different areas so it is advisable to register with more than one agency but we’d recommend being sensible about how many you register with.
Don’t be afraid to do your research… if you have a specific location or specific schools you’d like to work in phone the school reception, explain you’re an NQT looking for work and ask which agency they use then register with that specific agency.
Registering with 2 agencies is realistic/advisable (up to 3/4 if there’s a specific reason e.g. location or specific specialism). Registering with too many can have knock on effects…you might find you’re contacted by each agency on the same morning with multiple offers of work which can be tricky to manage and each will ask your placement provider for a reference (so if you’re registered with 12 agencies the Head Teacher will get 12 different reference requests for you…not our recommended approach for making a lasting impression with a Head Teacher!)
If you are registered with more than one agency don’t forget to keep everyone informed of your availability e.g if you do get offered a long-term contract with one agency it’s good practice to let the other agency know you’re no longer available for work.
What tips can you give to help me thrive on supply?
If it’s your first day at that particular school try to be as prepared as possible. Think about how you’re going to get there and give yourself plenty of travel time. Where possible try to arrive early as this will give you time to get settled before pupils start arriving at school.
Don’t forget the essentials
If you’re not fully briefed on that school’s procedure and protocols prior to arrival, or upon arrival, be sure to ask; what are their fire procedures? Who is the safeguarding lead? What’s the school’s behaviour policy – how should you deal with disruptive behaviour? What’s the Covid policy – what should you do if you or a pupil in your class displays symptoms?
Where possible your agency or a school will prep you on all of this but if it’s a very last minute request for cover it could be a quick conversation as you head to the classroom for the day.
Look confident (even if you don’t feel it) as pupils will pick up on your body language and you can set the tone for the day ahead. Schools want you to have a good day and to be a success on supply. Introduce yourself clearly to the class and set out your expectations of them (should they raise their hand to ask a question? What will you be covering today?).
Be on the ball, we probably all remember having supply teachers when we were at school…don’t let anyone think you’re a push over!
What should I wear on supply?
We’d recommend professional or business casual attire – a shirt or smart top and smart trousers/skirt and practical shoes (you might be on your feet for long periods). If you’re unsure err on the side of caution and go smarter.
We would advise against wearing trainers or jeans unless expressly accepted at the school or appropriate for your role e.g. for a PE teacher trainers or sports kit would be required and SEN schools may have a more relaxed dress code – if there are specific requirements your agency should advise you at the time of booking you in to work.
If you’re in doubt on anything don’t be afraid to chat to your recruitment agent. I doubt there’s a question you can ask that hasn’t been asked before and there’s no detail too minor. They want you to succeed on supply, in fact their job depends on it, so work with them and ask if you need their support. It should feel like a partnership… you working for them and them working with you, if it doesn’t feel that way maybe it’s time to try a different agency!
Take a look at this interesting blog by Charlotte Aldoori from PwC on the ICAEW blog site:
This guest blog comes from PR Fire a Press Release Distribution and Content Marketing Agency. Written by Director & Founder, Sam Allcock, he shares the knowledge he’s gained from 15 years in the industry.
Landing your first job can feel scary – especially if you’re doing a complete career change, or starting with no experience.
But it is possible; you can land a job in PR without tons of experience.
In fact, you’ve likely already got skills that can serve you in your first PR job. And, it’s easy to get some basic experience to prepare you for that first role.
In this guide, we’ll talk about:
Ready? Let’s get to it.
Before we dive in, let’s start by taking a look at a day in the life of a PR professional.
It’s a PR person’s job to take care of a brand’s image. It’s their responsibility to get coverage in media such as newspapers or online publications, and think of new and exciting ideas to help them raise awareness for the brand.
(PR agencies are the same, except you might be doing that for a range of different businesses.)
Somebody working in PR typically works on jobs like:
Everybody on your PR team cobbles together to get those tasks done. But, the exact tasks each individual person does depends on their role.
Typically, there are four types of jobs when it comes to PR:
There’s no doubt that working in PR means you’ll need to have a specific set of skills.
However, there is some good news: you probably already have those skills. You can pick them up through other non-PR-related jobs or side projects.
For example: an essential skill you’ll need for a successful PR career is communication. In your daily job, you’ll be talking on the phone with journalists, working with your team, and sometimes communicating with clients.
Poor communication can sabotage all of those tasks, and put your PR campaign on the back burner. Yet you might’ve already picked up and developed that skill from a previous job.
Somebody working in PR needs to be able to communicate not just face-to-face, but in written form, too.
You’ll be writing lots of content in your PR job, including emails, press releases, and coverage reports. Poor writing skills might mean you suffer with landing coverage, in the first place. After all, how can you land coverage for a press release that’s badly written?
The final important skill for a successful PR career is creativity. A huge part of your job is finding ways to secure coverage; you don’t always land that by taking the most obvious strategy.
For example: what happens when your great idea doesn’t perform as well as you’d expected? Or your press release gets overpowered by a breaking news story? Or your client pushes back on an idea you’re confident about?
Creativity will see you through all of those incidents.
Some universities offer degrees in public relations. They teach you the basics (like writing a press release and getting coverage), but also promise to dive deeper into psychology and brainstorm PR campaigns that are more likely to work, scientifically.
However, research shows that just 17% of PR practitioners have degrees in either PR or communications.
That’s because of the important skills we just talked about.
You can work on your writing, communication, and creativity skills with other jobs. They’re three versatile skills that you can develop from any job—hence why over half (57%) of people currently working in PR have degrees in a completely different subject.
The bottom line is that official PR qualifications don’t matter.
What’s more important is whether you’ve got the skills needed to be a successful PR executive—and the experience to back it up.
Ready to get your first PR job?
Even if you’ve got no experience (and aren’t really sure where to start), here are five simple steps to help you land your first job in public relations.
Earlier, we mentioned that most PR professionals don’t actually have a qualification in public relations. So, how did they land their job?
The answer: through experience.
Experience is everything when it comes to PR. The people hiring for their PR team want to know that the person has some idea of what they’re doing—it’ll give them some confidence knowing they’re hiring someone with the basics.
But here’s where the good news really comes in: you can land your first PR job without any professional experience. You can take your experience into your own hands, and start to build your knowledge without an official PR job.
For example, you can:
Once you’ve got some PR experience, you should start to focus on building relationships.
This includes relationships with journalists—the people who’ll give your business coverage on their newspaper or website.
The easiest way to do this is to start following journalists on social media. Look at the publications you’d love to get coverage on (such as The Mirror or The Lad Bible), then search LinkedIn to find journalists who work there. Start engaging with their posts.
That way, you start to build recognition with them—which could help secure coverage when you start pitching press releases to them.
But you should also start to build relationships with other people, too.
The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” really comes into full force when you’re working in public relations.
Why? Because you can get coverage (and help with PR ideas) from your network.
Let’s say you’re writing a press release for a client, for example. You can use your network to get quotes from other people—potentially boosting the chances of getting coverage because your content seems less biased.
(The same applies in reverse: you can contribute quotes to other people’s press releases and get coverage or links off the back of it.)
Strong relationships are the best-kept secret in PR. Remember that before you start applying for your first PR job; it’s a huge advantage to have a black book of contacts when trying to beat other people for the same job.
You’ve got experience to back-up your skills. Next, you’ll need to search for a place to work (if you don’t already have one in mind, that is.)
You can find PR jobs by searching media job boards. Often run by the publications PR professionals read, it’s a great way to sift through job postings and see which companies are hiring.
Here are some popular PR job board options to help you get started:
Once you find one you like, shoot your CV and cover letter, making sure each plays to the skills and experience a hiring manager would want to see.
Managed to land an interview for a PR job you recently applied for? Awesome!
Next, you’ll need to do some research on the company itself. This will help you during the interview process—and make sure you’re not caught off guard by any questions. (It’ll help you show off, too, because you’ll be able to talk about them.)
The simplest way to do this is by figuring out where they get coverage, and which type of content they use to do so.
Head over to Google and search their brand name in quotation marks.
Then, select the “News” tab. This shows all the pieces of coverage they’ve secured which contains their brand name:
Applying to work at a PR agency? You should also look at their clients, and scan the agency’s website for tips that might help you during the interview.
This includes answers to questions like:
Knowing this before your interview means helps you prove you actually know what you’re talking about—even if you don’t have any PR experience.
Plus, you can prepare a list of questions to ask at the end of the job interview based on things you couldn’t find during your research.
Got an invite to interview? Great job—but you’re not finished yet.
You might have 8 other people interviewing for the same PR executive role. You’ll need to spend some time practising the common questions your interviewer might ask, including:
As you can see, landing your first job in PR doesn’t have to be daunting.
You can pull skills from other areas, and create your own experience, to help you get your first professional role. Just make sure to rely on your connections, research the company you’re applying to work for, and prepare for your interview.
There’s no reason why you can’t land your dream public relations job.
Written by Sam Allcock
Director & Founder of @prfire Press Release Distribution and Content Marketing Agency. As seen in @hubspot @marketingprofs @prweek and @smbizceo
If your time spent in Covid-19 lockdown has been a time of reflection and left you thinking about a return to study our Graduate Advocate, Fiona Hough, a former mature student has some great advice…
Returning to Education
Thinking about returning to education as a mature learner can be a very scary prospect, with many prospective students put off. The ideas of organising student finance, not studying in an academic setting for a while and concern at “being the oldest” in class can be off putting for some.
So why do it?
Mature learners have several reasons for returning to education. These reasons can include wanting to change careers to something completely different (such as taking a postgraduate course in teaching, or taking an undergraduate course to become a social worker), wanting better prospects in a current career and a degree would therefore be beneficial, and sometimes, just wanting to learn a subject that’s always been of interest!
As well as those reasons for returning to do either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, on average people with degrees earn more over their lifetimes than those without, so this is another benefit to returning to study.
It’s not just study
University also offers societies to join and many will have a Mature Students society to join where you can meet and chat. But there’s so many more to join than just that one. From Harry Potter Societies and David Attenborough Appreciation societies to traditional style societies such as sports, debate and film to more intriguing ones such as the 30 Minute Society (where you are simply sent a post code and have 30 minutes to get there and the activity there is free). There are societies that cover almost every interest, and if there isn’t one for your interest you can always create it!
Money money money….
Finance is always a concern for students of all ages, but for mature students, it’s generally the biggest concern and a huge barrier to returning to education, so this blog will concentrate on this barrier.
For first time undergraduates, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to pay tuition fees up front. The majority of first time undergraduates will be eligible for the Tuition Fee loan from the Government and you don’t start repaying the loan until you’re employed and earning over £26,575.
You may also be eligible for a Maintenance Loan which is based if your personal circumstances, and depending on those personal living circumstances, may reduce the need to work whilst studying. However for some people stopping working is either not possible or they don’t want to stop working whilst studying.
If you fall into this category, there’s plenty of other options. If you’re already working, you can ask to reduce your hours and study part-time to fit around that, maintaining an income whilst studying. You can also look at jobs that fit around your course hours. Supermarkets and bars are great for looking at part time hours. Jobs on the university campus are really great for this. There will be a range of roles and hours on the university campus, from student ambassadors to library assistants to catering assistants to sports centre staff. There’s pretty much a part time job for everyone. The best part about working for the university you attend is the understanding when you have an assignment or dissertation to complete and the dreaded deadlines are creeping up. Being employed by the university itself generally gives more leeway if you need to reduce your hours to spend more time completing assignments.
Other places to look for financial help….
As well as working and Student Finance England, there can be other places to look for financial help. The internet is great for searching for charities that offer assistance for students from all circumstances. Charities such as The Princes Trust also offer a list of resources to use to apply for assistance when studying in Higher Education.
My last advice is this, if you want to do it, go for it. Returning to education after a period of time away can be daunting and scary to start with, but once you’re at graduation holding your degree certificate, it’s all worth it!