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Can I get more?

I'm a PGCE student in secondary maths and will be getting QTS this month.

I'm 24 and have a degree in maths and computer science. I also worked before undertaking the PGCE. I'm looking for jobs and although most NQTs start on M1, I was hoping to start on M3 due to getting a 2.1 degree and having past experience in schools and elsewhere, and experience working with children. My friend who did her PGCE three years ago, started on M3 by pointing out her experience and degree. Can I get the same or am I dreaming?

A few years ago it was easy to advise you. All new teachers started at the bottom of the scale, except those with a good honours degree, who received two extra points. When the main scale was cut from nine to six points, the differential starting pay rule was abolished. In theory, everyone starts on M1. As you know from your friend's experience, some are more equal than others. Governing bodies have discretion to start new entrants higher up the scale, not for academic prowess but for relevant past experience. This would include work with children, but needs to be more than the occasional summer camp when at university. This extra pay isn't a right, but will need to be asked for. As maths teachers are in short supply in parts of England, this might be easier for you than for those in a subject where there are no shortages.

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