Fejobs.com attended The Annual AOC conference this week. Here we have summarised some top news from the conference, including changes from the Government in apprenticeships, traineeships, qualifications and standards.
For the last four years, Helen Thorogood has been working at Priestley House Junior School in West Yorkshire, where she taught Year 5 and was a KS2 Coordinator. But this month she’ll be flying off to America to take up a post she landed through Eteach at the British School of Washington. Here she tells us why she wants to work overseas, how her preparations are going, and how she’s feeling in the run up to starting her new post.
Firstly, could you tell us what made you decide to look abroad to work?
To seek out the new challenges and experiences of living and working abroad! I want to travel, sight see, and sample new cultures and customs.
What made you choose America?
Having worked in Europe before, I thought I’d travel further afield. I’ve visited USA and was pretty bowled over by New York.
And the school in Washington specifically?
I chose DC based on the criteria in their advert; I felt that my skills, knowledge and experience were just what they were looking for!
Can you tell us a bit about your new job, the school, and the area where you’ll be living?
I’ll be joining the British School of Washington which is on Wisconsin Avenue near George Town in Washington DC. It’s a school which caters for children from the age of 3-18. They follow the National Curriculum and use an International Primary Curriculum. I’ll be teaching Year 5 for two years, and I’ll be living in Maryland.
This will be my first visit to Washington DC and Maryland so I’m afraid I can’t really tell you much about the area yet. I can tell you that the school organised the accommodation, which is an area in Maryland called Silver Springs. The apartments are called Lenox Apartments which is where the school puts new staff and it is where some existing staff live. It has a pool and a gym, and there are shops, bars and restaurants nearby. I might even have a walk in wardrobe – I’ll confirm that in my next update! I will be able to get the metro or a bus to school, and I think there may be a school bus.
What do you think the major plus points will be?
I think the key pluses of working in the US are that it will enable me to broaden my horizons, gain new experiences, travel, see the sights and sample culture in another country.
And the minus points?
I think the minus points will be being away from my family and friends!
When do you start, how is the preparation going – and how are you feeling about ‘upping sticks’?
I fly to Washington DC on Saturday August 14th 2010. Once there, I have a two-week itinerary of events, including sight-seeing (getting to know the area), a session on how to use the metro, shopping, a baseball match, barbeque, time in school for preparation, meeting colleagues, induction for new families and sorting out paper work, opening bank account, etc. School officially starts on Monday August 30th.
Preparations have been going well, although there has been lots of paperwork – for example my visa application, and appointments and courses in London.
I’m well on with my packing – I just hope I can fit everything in my case! The good news though is that I can ship more goods out.
Overall I’m feeling excited about my move – it’s just what I was looking for!
Why did you use Eteach?
I had already registered with Eteach online, and I just sent an initial email enquiring about overseas appointments, which is how I got in touch with the international team at Eteach.
Tell us about the process you went through to find your job?
Well after browsing through the ads on Eteach, I came across one for the British Schools of America. I had to complete quite a lengthy application form. Two weeks after sending it off, I was invited for an interview at a hotel in Heathrow, London.
What was it like, using Eteach International to find your placement?
It’s a good website, which is easy to use. I had the option to contact schools directly, or to go through Eteach, which was extremely useful as the Team know the heads/schools. I’d definitely use Eteach again, as the help and support I received throughout was extremely valuable.
We hope to catch up with Helen over the following months to find out how she gets on in her new post, so stay tuned to your weekly Eteach Newsletter
The Daily Telegraph reported last week that applications for teacher training courses have risen by more than a third, amid fears of job shortages because of the recession. And it seems record numbers are applying to teach maths and science.
The Telegraph reported that applications for teacher training courses are up by more than 10,000, after the new Lib-Con Government said that funding for front-line teachers would be protected.
“It is believed that the majority of the extra applicants are from ‘career changers’ attempting to break into the profession from other jobs”, said the paper.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) says that record numbers of candidates have been applying to teach maths and science; its figures show that applications are up by 40 per cent and 33 per cent respectively, although the Agency also stresses that there’s still an urgent need for high quality science and maths teachers, with around 6,000 required each year.
“Move into teaching was one of the best decisions of my life”
The TDA points out that the quality of the incoming maths and science teaching pool is also high, with 53 per cent of those enquiring about teaching since the start of the current recruitment cycle (September 2009) having a 2.1 or better. More encouraging, it says, is that these top quality graduates are moving on to application stage. The latest available figures from TDA for 2007/08 show that 91 per cent of postgraduates on a teacher training course have a 2.2 or better, and 59 per cent have a 2.1 or better.
“Making the move into teaching was one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve progressed to be Head of Physics in just a few years and hope to rise further as I become more experienced,” said Frances Wing, who is Head of Physics at Nonsuch Girls Grammar School in Sutton. “It’s great to see that there is a rise in people wanting to teach maths and science given how vital these subjects are in giving future generations the skills they need to succeed.”
Science and Maths “key to economic prosperity”
TDA Chief Executive Graham Holley said that the increasing appetite for teaching maths and science is really encouraging.
“However, there is still a huge job to do in getting high numbers of quality teachers into these priority subjects. I’d urge anyone thinking about becoming a teacher to begin the process today. Good quality science and maths teaching will be key to our future economic prosperity,” he said.
See also our earlier post: Teaching: “A first class career with second class perceptions”
Despite a “sharp increase” in the number of people coming in to the teaching profession, teaching is still under-rated by the public, according to the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).
Research conducted by the TDA suggests the public rates teaching as one of the worst professions for career progression, yet eight out of ten teachers apparently see opportunities as “some of the best in the UK”.
“With teaching recruiting record numbers of people in 2009 the profession is attracting increasing numbers of top quality graduates and career changers. As a result it is becoming more and more competitive,” said Graham Holley, Chief Executive of the TDA.
“It is no longer just a safe job that is alright for a fall-back. It is a profession with increasing status that is getting harder to get into, year by year, because more of the most talented people in this country are turning to it as their first choice.
“However, there is a danger that outdated and old-fashioned perceptions of teaching could continue to put off some candidates. Teaching offers more opportunities for career progression than any other career and competitive salaries, particularly for those who progress to senior leadership.”
Making a career move in to teaching
Wendy Greaves, Head of Maths at Kaskenmoor School in Oldham, Manchester was made redundant eight years ago by British Aerospace. She believes that her experience in industry has been a real asset to developing her teaching skills and often uses real life situations to demonstrate mathematical principles in the classroom.
“Making the move into teaching was one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve progressed to be head of department in just three years and hope to rise further as I become more experienced. It’s not just the practical application of my subject that has helped me from my previous role; it’s also more general workplace skills, like communication and management techniques.”
Perceptions on pay
Perceptions on pay are “wholly out of touch with reality,” says the TDA: over 80 per cent of final year students under-estimate the starting salary of a teacher, some believing it to be under half the actual wage. And over a quarter of students thought the starting salary in inner London would be £19,000 or lower when, in reality, newly qualified teachers can expect to earn £26,000.
What’s more, the TDA points out that, according to Higher Education Statistics Authority, the starting salary for teachers in London is over £6,000 per annum higher than the national average, at £19,677. This tops starting salaries in engineering, architecture and careers in science in the capital. The salary for teachers outside London is almost £1,500 higher than the national average.
• What do you think? Are you one of those who see teaching opportunities as some of the best in the UK? Was making the move into teaching one of the best decisions of your life too? What about pay? Do you know many people coming in to teaching from the private sector? Over to you to post your comments….
SIX MONTHS no way….. I could never have taught PE in a London Comprehensive after 6 months training.
This will put undue pressure on prospective teachers and schools who will have to handhold these (I presume) graduates through the process and beyond extending the induction period to two or three years maybe…. !!!!!
Is this the end of formal vocational teacher training ??