Applying for a teaching job

The definitive guide to writing a great application for a job as a teacher or headteacher

This book provides clear guidance to writing a successful application for a job as a teacher or leader in a school or college. 

Applying for a teaching job - by Theo GriffIt is written by me, Theo Griff.  For nearly twelve years I was the forum host for Jobseekers on a popular online advice forum for teachers, answering thousands of queries for posters and helping them get jobs – and promotions – teaching in schools and colleges in the UK and in British schools abroad.

I have several decades of experience as a middle and senior leader in a range of education establishments: state schools, independent schools, tertiary college, sixth-form college and university, and have worked as a consultant on staff appointments to schools and teacher and leadership recruitment agencies, both in the UK and abroad. This gives me very relevant experience for advising you on job applications.

Applying for a teaching job - the definitive guide to writing a great applciation for a job as a teacher or headteacherDuring this period of education leadership, I read thousands of applications for both classroom teaching and leadership posts, and was forced to reject most of them based on the application weaknesses that you can learn how to avoid. I am now sharing with you, in this book, the secrets to success when applying for a teaching job at every level, in a school or college.

Whether you are a supply teacher hoping to move to a more permanent post, a NQT about to apply for the job to start your career, an experienced teacher looking to move into middle leadership, or aiming for the top as a member of a senior leadership team, this book will support you throughout the application process.

Full of brand-new up-to-date tips and suggestions, this essential guide is comprehensive and thorough; it gives specific advice that makes you take a fresh look at how to write an application.

Applying for a teaching job* is the practical guide that will show you step-by-step how to draft an application that effectively presents who you are, what you stand for, what you have to offer a school, and why they should appoint you. You will see the exact techniques used by successful candidates to persuade the shortlisting committee to invite them for interview. You will get the key to making sure your application stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

It’s a Kindle book; if you don’t have a Kindle (why ever not!), you can download the Kindle App from Amazon to a phone, tablet or computer, and begin reading the book immediately. Fast and very cheap!

In Applying for a teaching job*, you will learn, among others:

•Where not to look for applications advice
•The professional approach to an application
•How to tell your headteacher that you are looking elsewhere
•The level of post that you should aim for
•How to apply to a faith school or an independent school
•When to apply for a job
•How to research a school before applying and whether to visit
•The 4 main errors to avoid in an application
•What to do as an internal candidate, or if returning from teaching abroad
•The 3 main parts of an effective application
•What reason to give for leaving
•The structure and content of the statement or letter
•The executive summary, how to draft it and why you should include one
•How to apply for a senior leadership post and write an effective SLT application 
•How to return to a permanent post from supply, or after time out of the classroom
•How to apply for a teaching job with an ill-health record, settlement agreement, agreed reference or criminal record 

There are also examples of what to write – and what not to write – if you wish your application to lead on to an interview.

Check out the reviews* – and write one yourself after reading the book!

*This article contains affiliate links.

Where next? There's a great quick read here on supply teaching as a route to returning to the classroom.
Check out our resources area here too.

Making an Impression


The 10 Commandments of Supply Teaching – in no particular order. by Sharon Wood

Making the right impression as a supply teacher

Work smart and you’ll be a great supply teacher!

  1. Be friendly to everyone right from the start – cleaners and secretaries are often closest to the Head Teacher!
  2. Leave the classroom tidy – but don’t mess too much with the teacher’s desk.
  3. Be confident – if a school thinks they can leave you to get on with it, without having to fuss around with you, they’re more likely to ask you to come back.
  4. Tell them you had a great day – flattery gets you everywhere remember! This works with the children too.
  5. Be prepared – for anything to happen!
  6. Learn namesstaff and children, as quickly as possible, and remember them.
  7. Be smart – in your appearance and in your working. Leave plenty of information on how they day went for the class teacher. Remark on the children’s achievements, and any disappointments. Avoid making unnecessary derogatory remarks about the children! Think – would it be professional for you to tell the child’s parents? If not, don’t tell the child’s teacher either!
  8. Be efficient – If you need to sign time sheets etc., do this before the end of the day. Many secretaries and bursars do not work until the end of the school day, use your morning break to clear up any business which is not related to your teaching timetable.
  9. Mark the workI’ve always been a diligent marker, sometimes seeing everyone leave bar the caretaker before I have left a school. Mark at every opportunity you have: break, lunchtime (I mark whilst eating, but if in a new school, I do make sure I leave time to pop into the staffroom at some point for five minutes) and during lessons. This does not mean sit and mark the numeracy while the children sit and do their literacy! I make it a policy not to use the teacher’s chair/desk during the day. I walk round with my red/green pen in hand while the children are working (KS2 – obviously this doesn’t apply so much in Hands-On KS1) and the children really do respond to this. While the children are on task, they very much appreciate a word or two every so often regarding their work. Take a few tours of the classroom while they are settled and mark their work as you go. It’s easy to think it’s unfair when it’s well after half four when you leave, and you were only officially paid until 3:45pm, but it doesn’t often go unnoticed, and it’s one way to help ensure the school contact you again offering work. And remember, those teachers who walked out half an hour after the children left, have probably taken home 64 books to mark, a policy to review, staff meeting notes to tweak, an assembly to write, and a parents’ evening to prepare for!
  10. Follow the lesson plans – It is no small feat managing to fit the current curriculum into a school year, along with Christmas panto’s, field trips and sports matches, so don’t make it any harder! Teachers will not specially request a supply teacher in whom they have no confidence that a) lesson plans are followed, and b) work is marked effectively.