Combining teacher training and starting a family - advice needed!(10 Posts)
I am a trainee teacher, doing Teach First. I am doing this as a career change so I am early thirties already. DH and I desperately want to start a family and we've been thinking about the timing. I have just finished my first term. I will get QTS at the end of this school year and will stay at my current placement school to do my NQT year (so a total of two years employment is guaranteed).
Initially we thought we'd aim to have a baby just after I've done my NQT year. However, I am now wondering whether that is wise. I think my chances of being offered a position at my current placement school after my NQT year are probably greatly reduced if I finish my NQT year heavily pregnant (my placement school is under no obligation to offer me employment after my two years are up so this would not be discrimination), although I do know they have previously tried very hard to keep other TF trainees on after their two years and they seem to be quite decent about maternity etc from what I can see.
This leaves two options: postpone having a baby until I have a permanent position (not sure how soon I would get one of these though) or try to have a baby sooner, i.e. in my NQT year. Has anyone got any experience of this? I know several doctors who are still completing their specialisation training who have had babies, so it doesn't seem completely mad to still be training and having a baby. I know the NQT year is widely considered to be the toughest, but with TF you do roughly an NQT workload from the start (so you're teaching without qualifications/ experience) and a PGCE in the first year, so I think next year will be a doddle in comparison (have heard similar from other TF participants).
I am just curious about the impact you think this will have on my career progression - can you just take a term (or two) out in your NQT and finish it the following school year? Would it be extremely unwise to take maternity in my NQT in terms of future career progression (as in: would it look bad on my CV)?. And more generally, what is the PC way of enquiring about this (as well as about the likelihood of being asked to stay on after my two years are up)? Look forward to hearing your insights - I somehow feel I should know more about this but I don't
The key fact here is what age/ subject you are training in. If you are physics/maths you will get snapped up regardless as the shortages are horrendous. Primary means you will find it more difficult.
It's risky as you need to complete three terms FT within (I think) two years to pass NQT year. A maternity leave will delay that and you could end up without QTS. I would aim to get pregnant summer term of NQT and you'll already have your job offer by then anyway. Most schools sort them out in Easter- you could be TTC in May and you won't even be telling school until September (assuming you fall pregnant first attempt).
Depends on your relationship with your department as to whether you can ask. Is there someone who knows the lie of the land re: any upcoming retirements etc that you could ask? How does the school treat its staff in general?
Are you primary or secondary? Recruitment shortages in many sec. subjects should make it fairly easy for you to find a new position after having the baby if secondary.
In terms of splittingNQT year I think it's do-able but would you go back full time? Because part time will obvs take longer. I think you have a set number of years to complete NQT 'Year' but can't remember how many.
And you may not get PG immediately so it might not be as clear cut as you foresee?
Sorry,I realise the last bit sounds pessimistic but I'm just trying to emphasise that this is one of those things that can only be planned so far.
So you basically described my whole life! I was in the 2013 cohort, teaching maths and was keen to start a family during my PGCE year. I got pregnant in my NQT year and told the school in the January, baby was born in July. I probably could have finished the year actually, but was told that if you don't fulfil the whole term then none of it counts - so anything after Easter would be void and I'd have to do the whole term again. So I went of maternity in May (I found being pregnant and teaching at a TeachFirst school really challenging though!!).
My school were really keen to keep me on even when I told them I was pregnant. I actually ended up leaving as they would only offer me full time and I wanted part time. I've not gone back to teaching yet as I'm having me second quite soon after me first, but when this baby is born I intend to go back and I really don't think having some time out will have done any harm at all.
Feel free to message me about it if you want to talk! TeachFirst is a small and crazy world and I think 'outsiders' don't know how it all feels!! Good luck!
Also they've done away with the rule about the set number of years to complete your NQT, you can take as long as you want! There are some rules around supply work though if you don't have it...
Essentially I wouldn't worry about it too much. There is nothing you can't come back to.
Erm....you've only done three months though, right? I'm afraid you will have a much higher timetable next year but, yeah, you still won't be at maximum allocation. Teach First isn't reknowned for actually getting teachers to stick in the profession. If you make it to the end of a third year in the state sector, you'll have gone further than most of the people who've trained with you. So my, very anecdotal, experience, would be that at that point you'll have a very good chance of career progression. Fast. The point of the programme is filling gaps in schools where they've had problems getting people to stay. Thus, if you stay, you should rise fast.
(Ignores the fact that young children and teaching don't work brilliantly. You can't spend your evenings working if your baby is teething)
I would aim to finish training and get not year underway and then maybe start trying. In order to get full maternity package you will need a certain number of weeks working for whatever academy you are in so be careful that you don't end up with just the basic state package. If you can I would wait until you have a permanent contract somewhere.
I did a PGCE, not TF so slightly different but I found the NQT hard but the year after actually harder as there was much less non/contact time and then responsibilities were chucked at you.
If I were to give advice to a friend/family member, I would suggest they get pregnant now-leave teaching and run for the hills, but that probably isn't helpful. I wouldn't worry too much about being offered a job-there's a massive teaching crisis and many schools are desperate. Where are you? North/south? Primary/secondary?
Hi! Thanks for all your replies! Seems there is no obvious choice in planning this
@Doodle2907 - I knew I couldn't be the first TFer in this position. I'll definitely PM you but it might be a while
next half term before I find the head space.
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