General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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New teachers to be briefed on English job opportunities


21/01/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

New teachers struggling to find work in the north are being invited to learn more about job opportunities in England.

Kent County Council is looking to recruit teachers to work in its school system.

New teachers in Northern Ireland are more likely to 'sign on' than be employed by a school when they first qualify, unions claim.

There are now more than 7,000 qualified teachers who are not employed full-time in schools, with falling pupil numbers and school closures blamed for contributing to the crisis.

A reduction in student numbers in Northern Ireland's teacher training colleges has yet to make a significant impact.

Kent is one of the largest counties in England and has about 600 primary and secondary schools that can offer teachers interesting and rewarding career opportunities in a variety of situations.

Schools range in size from small village primaries to large secondaries with more than 1,500 pupils.

Kent has retained a selective secondary system and its traditional grammar schools are over-subscribed for entry.

The high school sector also contains some of the best performing schools in Britain.

Newly qualified teachers receive a well-developed programme of support from advisers and specialist teachers.

About 700 new teachers are employed in the county's schools each year.

Danielle Swift, from Moira, Co Down who trained as a PE teacher in Belfast, is now in the second term of her newly qualified teacher year at a school in Maidstone.

"Leaving friends and family was a hard thing to do but the staff at my school have been so friendly and welcoming I am now starting to talk about Kent as home," Ms Swift said.

"Schools holidays, particularly at half-term, are longer in Kent that in Ireland and these have enabled me to go home for extended visits."

Ms Swift spoke very highly of her school, its staff and the local education authority (LEA).

"The level of support I have received has been great," she said.

"My induction tutor meets with me once a week, my head of department and all the staff here have been highly supportive and the courses run by the LEA have been very helpful."

She added that while she originally intended to stay in Kent for one year she now could not see herself returning.

Fiona Cottam, originally from Co Wicklow is head of Wilmington Grammar for Boys, a school that has attracted teachers from Ireland.

"Everyone who has joined this school from Ireland has been a success in the classroom," she said.

"They are all doing tremendously well."

Representatives from the council's teacher recruitment team will be in the Wellington Park Hotel from 4pm until 8pm on Wednesday.



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