In 2023 the 2,300 unfilled teaching vacancies in England signify issues with recruitment and retention. Like fish in the sea, plenty of jobs are out there, but where should we cast our net? In the ever-complex ocean of education, the process of not only applying for those jobs – but the initial navigation to the listings – may seem overwhelming.
I found my first teaching job in a way that puts me firmly in a certain age category: having recently moved house I went to the local government offices to register for council tax. In the foyer was a bulletin board with job listings, and the local primary school was advertising for a role. 13 years later, I’m unsure if there is even a foyer, let alone a bulletin board, with much of our lives playing out online. So whether you’re an ECT, seeking to relocate, or looking for your first leadership role, let’s take a look at a few of those virtual bulletin boards…
When schools were all maintained by the local authority, this was essentially the one stop shop for teaching and support staff jobs, the newer model of the bulletin board in the foyer. However, with many schools moving towards an academy trust model, it doesn’t always follow that the school you share a postcode with will list their vacancies on your local council’s job page. However there is a certain amount of crossover, and many schools choose to continue promoting vacancies on the local council’s site. It’s fairly up to date, with most local councils guaranteeing a 48 hour turnaround time within which to make the vacancies public.
However, there isn’t an integrated application function, which means you will need to enter all your basic details from scratch for every new application. Not ideal.
TES (formally the Times Educational Supplement) integrates recruitment and application for some listings, and acts as a third-party for others.
Where the application is directly through TES, this can be efficient in applying for multiple roles, as all your basic details will be saved. However, it’s important not to get too carried away with the platform's ability to remember your TRN for you, and to personalise your application for each individual school.
This is a newer platform which enables schools (almost exclusively academy trusts) to have close control over recruitment. It has an integrated application function (all basic details are saved) for all roles, and schools receive your application directly: cutting out the middle man.
Schools can’t search for your professional profile and contact you regarding roles, but theres is an option to add yourself to a talent pool: useful if your dream school isn’t currently recruiting, but you’d like to plant the seed of your expertise and enthusiasm in advance of upcoming roles.
These are grouped together, as to become aware of any roles listed in this way, you would already need to be engaging with the relevant people via the social media channels, or visiting specific school websites. This can be an advantage both as an applicant and a recruiter: Schools know that their applicants have a long-standing interest in their setting, and applicants are only applying to schools that they feel fit with their vision and expertise.
This is your best bet. Being an all-in-one platform, you can apply for jobs in seconds, as well as get directly requested by nearby schools. Once your profile is set up, finding the right work for you is extremely easy, as you can browse and apply for roles, as well as accept or decline direct requests from schools.
And while it's the easiest and quickest option, here's a biggie: you get paid more than with traditional teaching agencies. By cutting out needless agency fees, schools’ budgets go further while you end up with more pay.
As well as the high-tech upgrade compared to agencies, there's also a massive human element, with impeccable support behind the scenes to help you further your career, and free CPD and training resources to boot.
With jobs in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cornwall, Devon, Leeds, Bristol and Wales, Zen are always expanding, so even if they're not in your area yet, I strongly advise signing up for when they are!