If anyone asked you why you became a teacher there’s a good chance you’d say it wasn’t just for the money. Teaching isn’t just a job, it is a vocation and is considered a satisfying and fulfilling career to have, shaping young minds and helping pupils achieve their dreams. Money, whilst an important factor, is not the only thing and other considerations such as location, a strong and supportive employer, flexibility and work/life balance are also very relevant.

Things to think about before you accept a job offer.

Location is one of the top factors teachers consider when looking to move jobs. 72% of those asked by Randstad Education put this above salary so looking at how close a school is to where you live and your commute time is important. Another 71% consider work/life balance to be the most important aspect. Check out how big a workload you are likely to have and what the hours are when you apply – are you likely to be working extra hours on a regular basis or is the school good at managing its teachers so they are not overburdened?

Look at what package a school can provide for you over and above salary and pension schemes.

  • Financial reward;
  • Training opportunities;
  • Flexible working;
  • Health care;
  • Discount schemes.

You might also want to look at whether a school has free parking, what the transport links in the area are like and what the policies are on holiday entitlement and maternity and paternity leave.

Assess the working environment, how does it feel when you go for an interview? Are the staff friendly and welcoming, does the school have a good atmosphere? The promotional structure is important too – you want to know you can move up the career ladder and be considered for more seniors posts if that is what you are aiming for. You also want to know you are supported in your role and so it pays to look at how positive and inspirational the management team is before you accept a new role.

One of the best ways you can judge how attractive a school is is to talk to existing and former employees. Positive tweets, blogs and videos are far more likely to persuade you of a school’s integrity than traditional job adverts or promotional brochures, and may offer you a real-life perspective on what it is like to work for a particular school.

League tables and Ofsted reports, although not the whole picture, are another way to see how a school is performing. Look at the school’s website to get a good overview of what it is like but google the school as well and see what comes up in the news. There are also plenty of teaching forums online you can go onto and pose questions – the chances are there will be current or former teachers who can give you an opinion.

Why is it important?

The war for talent is gathering pace in schools with all sectors reporting difficulties recruiting teachers. It is particularly acute in certain subjects such as maths and physics where the proportion of those teaching without a relevant post A Level qualification has risen from 21% to 28% between 2010 and 2014, which means if you have the right qualifications you are likely to find yourself in demand.

It isn’t always immediately obvious what the softer benefits are applying for jobs but it is important to take a look at what a school can provide you with. There are some amazing schools out there with fantastic reputations which speak for themselves, but just because some schools perhaps don’t stand out as much doesn’t mean they can’t offer you a very rewarding and prosperous career.

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