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Stepping into the last-chance saloon

Students in pupil-referral units are more than twice as likely to be taught by an unqualified teacher. Yet, as Will Moss has found, moving from a mainstream setting to play a part in reviving the lives of excluded children can be a deeply rewarding – and professionally creative – challenge

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My job sometimes takes some explaining at parties. “You choose to work with teenagers?” people ask “Wait, those teenagers?!” Such incredulous responses are typical. I look over my glass at the sceptical thirtysomethings – who might be working in publishing or graphic design or for a charity – with far fewer grey hairs than me. But for the grace of God, I could be one of them…

I once imagined that I would leave the classroom after my first two years. Teacher training and placement programme Teach First’s marketing comes in for some flack. But for me, fresh out of university, the scheme’s try ...

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