I visited a local school this week with a view to applying for a job they had advertised. I've been doing a lot of this lately. If the advert says, 'Visits to the school are welcome' it's as well to comply, otherwise your application isn't even considered, but it all takes time.
This one, like the others, is a pleasant enough school. There were eleven of us on the tour. There had been a dozen more the day before. While we were waiting, the talk was of other jobs applied for.
"Did you hear anything from ******* school?"
"No, but I believe they had 63 applications."
Not unusual these days. In Wales particularly, the numbers of newly graduating teachers is far in excess of the jobs available, and that's before you consider the 'oldies' like me. So much for the government's much trumpeted assurances a couple of years ago about addressing the shortage of teachers. Seems someone did their sums wrong and didn't take the falling birthrate into account.
The tour concluded with the headteacher saying that the shortlisted candidates for this 12 month contract (not a permanent job) would be asked to come in and teach for an hour one day and then be recalled for interview the next. All well and good, except that at this time of year, any applicants are going to be newly qualified teachers who are doing a few weeks supply before the end of term or supply teachers per se, which means possibly turning down two days work for a job that only one of them is going to be offered.
Oh, and that's apart from the fact that the successful applicant will be joining her new colleagues in doing two lots of planning - one in keeping with the present curriculum and one for the way they are actually teaching, which follows the draft Foundation Stage. The reason for this is that the new Foundation Stage will not be fully established until 2008, so in the event of an inspection, the school will be expected to be planning and teaching in line with the present curriculum.