When Jon Pass started his PGCE in 2008, the country was already in recession. Just a couple of weeks into the course, Jon began to fret about the daunting job hunt that lay ahead.
But one morning he received a phone call from Richard Cairns, headteacher at Brighton College, a co-educational independent school for three to 18-year-olds, inviting him to come for an interview. After the interview, Jon was immediately offered a position as an English teacher.
Jon decided to take the job but initially, he felt wary about teaching a classroom full of what he thought of as “rich kids”. And his decision came under intense scrutiny from his fellow trainees. “I got a lot of hassle from my friends for ‘selling out’ and still do now,” he says. But many trainee teachers find themselves in a similar position - an uncertain job market has driven many new teachers to consider a teaching career in the independent sector.
BENEFITS OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL FOR NEW TEACHERS
“The independent sector can offer an interesting and diverse start to a career,” says Wendy Sutton-Miller, induction co-ordinator at the Independent Schools Council (ISC). “This ranges from the types of schools themselves - day schools or boarding, single sex and co-ed, highly academic schools or those that excel in the arts - a broad range of subjects not constrained by the National Curriculum, and the opportunity to become involved in the wider life of the school through numerous extracurricular activities considered an important part of a child’s education.”
But trainees are still worried about not receiving a government-approved induction that will help ease transition into the maintained sector later on in their career. What many new teachers do not know is that the government has authorised the Independent Schools Council Teaching Induction Panel (ISCTIP) to provide the statutory functions necessary for the induction of NQTs.
When making any application to an independent school, new teachers should ask for confirmation that they will be able to serve their induction and that they will be registered with the ISCTIP on appointment. Graduates should bear in mind however, that independent schools are not legally obliged to offer induction, and once established in the indie sector, it can be hard to move state-side. Traffic between the two sectors tends to be predominantly one-way, state to independent.
For more advice on the independent sector, visit our independent schools forum.
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