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Career advice

Q I am a trained art teacher with a good A-level in English. I have been teaching art for 11 years at one school and would now like to retrain to teach English. Would this be possible, and if so, what would be involved?

A Teaching has no structure to cope with the change you envisage. As you are a qualified teacher, it seems sensible for you to register for a degree in English, either part-time or by distance learning. But there's still the question of how to train to apply your knowledge to the English curriculum? You may be able to register with one of the providers of the new modular initial teacher-training courses or ask the Open University if you can join its course. As a teacher, you are not eligible for the graduate teacher programme. Talk to the person in your school responsible for staff development.

Q I am an IT professional working for a firm in northern England. I want to move into teaching but lack the required qualifications. I have a lot of experience in IT and banking. I hear that people in my position can receive a small stipend during the first year. How can I find out more?

A The Government is keen to encourage new entrants into teaching who have experience in other sectors. The traditional graduate training course and the school-based graduate teacher programme both come with financial support - up to pound;10,000 for the PGCE course in some cases and more for those on the GTP. For more details, see or call the Teacher Information Line (Tel 0845 6000 991).

Q I am in my last year of a geography degree and am considering teaching. What career opportunities can Ilook forward to?

A After a period of classroom teaching, there would be many different avenues open to you. Apart from further work in your subject area, leading possibly to a career as an advanced skills teacher and then an adviser's post, you could also pursue a management post or work in related specialist areas such as special needs or pastoral work. Perhaps most attractive to a geographer is that teaching is an international career with increasing opportunities for teachers to work almost anywhere in the world.

With so many possibilities available to you, your career as a teacher is very much in your own hands. Dare I say it - don't expect anyone to map it out for you - the world is yours.

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