When you decided to become a teacher it was probably as much about having a worthwhile and rewarding career as it was about the salary. Teaching is far more than just a job, it is a vocation and about making a difference in people’s lives. Whilst financial reward is part of it, seeing your students achieve their goals is also an important aspect for many.

As a teacher looking to make a career move, there are plenty of factors that will influence your choices, not just pay. Our survey found that location is the most important aspect with 72% giving it top billing closely followed by 71% who consider work/life balance to be the deciding factor. Strong leadership also plays a big part in how attractive a position is whilst only 57% would consider salary above everything else.

What to look for when searching for your next job

If you’re thinking about making a move, start looking around early if you can. Many teaching posts are advertised well in advance of when they are needed and particularly for some jobs, like headteacher positions, they are sometimes filled a year ahead. It doesn’t work for everyone but if you can, give yourself plenty of time so you can have the pick of the best roles. Look for roles that will fit your skills and experience but will also provide you with the opportunities to progress your career if you wish to. 

Our survey showed location is one of the top factors for teachers so you may want to go for a school closer to home. How far are you prepared to commute and do you want to work within the community where you live? Can you park for free on-site, or will you have to park somewhere else and walk-in? Are there good transport links if you are without a car?

Work/life balance was considered the second most important factor and you may feel that by keeping commute times shorter you will be able to achieve this better. Work/life balance, however, is something you might not be able to assess fully until you reach the interview stage. A school will want to make sure you are the right candidate for the job but being invited to interview is also a great opportunity to find out if your skills and interests will be a good match for the position. 

You can get a good feel for the school culture and atmosphere as well as learn about promotional prospects, ongoing training, the leadership and support structure and salary. You’ll be able to ask about flexible working, part-time working, class sizes and workload – all those things that can contribute to work/life balance. In addition, don’t forget to ask about softer benefits that may be on offer – things like healthcare schemes and discounts or any other incentives that will make any potential new role even more attractive.

Aside from the interview process, you could check out the school online. Take a look at its website and see what impression it gives off. You might also be able to chat to past and present teachers through your existing contacts or through online forums to see if the school is good for work/life balance.

If you’re ambitious but still not sure about where to go and really don’t want to stay in your current job you could try supply teaching for a short time. It does give you the opportunity to see what different schools are like and whether they will give you a good work/life balance before you take on a permanent role.

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