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Career advice

Q I am a student teacher teaching English language full-time at a sixth form college in the East Midlands. I am in the second year of a part-time PGCE and am due to qualify this summer. Therefore, I will be taking classes as an NQT from September, even though I will have had two years teaching experience by then.

I read that according to new government rules, NQTs like me should receive a minimum starting salary of pound;17,001. Does this also apply to those in FE or are the rules different? Also, now that English is deemed a shortage subject, will I be eligible for the new incentive payment?

A Basically, graduates may train on courses covering either the schools sector or the post-compulsory sector of education. The title of your course may provide a clue but if not, ask the course administrator which type of course you are on.

This is an important point since training for the post-compulsory sector does not automatically confer the qualified teacher status that is required if you wish to start teaching in schools as an NQT.

The position is further complicated because sixth form colleges were removed from the schools sector in the early 1990s.

If all your supervised teaching experience has been in sixth fom colleges you are probably not on a school-based PGCE.

As sixth form colleges are outside the schools sector they don't conform to the same pay regulations as schools and you can't be guaranteed the same starting salary as an NQT in a school.

Sadly, you will not receive the extra finance available since English became classified as a shortage subject because this will not be paid retrospectively. It will go only to those who start a course this autumn.

Sorry to bring such bad news.

Q I have just moved from Scotland to England and I would like to know if the salary levels are the same. I have taught in secondary schools for eight years and reached the top of the main common salary scale. I am considering retraining as a primary school teacher and want to know what salary I would start on in England.

A The salary scales in Scotland and England are different and as a result of the recent Scottish pay review they will be even more different in the future.

You will earn almost pound;25,000 before any additions for responsibility or other factors. This would be the same in either a primary or a secondary school. Competition for primary posts is usually greater than for jobs in secondary schools.

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