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Career advice

Q I am half way through a PGCE (primary) course and am interested in teaching in Ireland, either the Republic or, more probably, Northern Ireland. The TES doesn't advertise teaching posts in Northern Ireland and I can't seem to find vacancy information easily. How do I find out about possible teaching jobs there and how does the national curriculum differs between England and Northern Ireland?

A I assume that you have a good reason for training in England but wanting to teach in Ireland, since the training places allocated by the Department for Education and Employment are designed to ensure that sufficient teachers are trained to meet the needs of schools in England. However, some movement for family and other reasons does occur.

As regards teacher vacancies in Northern Ireland, a quick search of the Internet revealed that the Belfast Telegraph carries teaching job notices on a Monday. Its website is You might also ask your university careers information service for advice or check the central website

For differences in the respective curricula, you might check the website of the education department in Northern Ireland at

Q I will complete my degree in educational studies (primary) this summer. I havetried to sign up with the General Teaching Council and have been asked for my DFEE reference number. I have never heard of such a thing. How do I go about getting one and could I teach in Scotland if I wanted to at some time in the future?

A Your questions raise a number of issues. Firstly, you should check whether your degree course leads to a qualification in initial teacher training (ITT), that is, does it confer qualified teacher status as well as a degree?

I suspect that it doesn't and that any school placements you have undertaken were not on the same basis as those required for trainee teachers. As a DFEE number is issued only to successful students on ITT courses, you would not be eligible to register as a teacher either in England or Scotland.

If you want to be a teacher, your options would be to find a modular PGCE course that would credit you for part of your undergraduate degree or look for a school willing to take you on under the employment-based training route. That is easier said than done, especially for would-be primary teachers.

Although these routes are available in England, you should check with the GTC for Scotland as to whether they are on offer there too.

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