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Career advice

Q I am a mature student who is just finishing a BEd degree at a university in Scotland. I will be qualified to teach design and technology. In Scotland, even before the implementation of the McCrone report, I have been told that I would start on a salary of pound;20,500 due to my age. Would the same be true if I wanted to work in England?

A There is little in common between the pay scales for teachers in England and Scotland, even before the introduction of the changes associated with the McCrone report.

In England, assuming you graduate with a second class honours degree, you would start on point two of the salary scale, or pound;17,000 outside London.

If the school has the money, it can also pay up to an additional point on the scale for every year of experience you have had before entering teaching up to a maximum of about pound;24,000. Such experience needs to be considered "of value to the performance of your duties as a classroom teacher". The judgment on what is included is open to negotiation.

Q I have a maths degree and want to train as a primary school teacher. Am I too late to apply for this year?

A While most primary PGCE courses are full, a check on the Graduate Teache Training Registry website ( will indicate any that still have places, but there is no guarantee of a place near where you live.

Q I'm applying to go through threshold assessment but my school will be closing this summer. What happens if the process isn't complete by then?

A Happily the Government has recognised the chance of this happening and has amended the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions document accordingly. Your application is transferred either to your new school or to the local education authority if you become an unattached teacher.

Q I have been working as a supply teacher in secondary schools for the past four years. My subject is history but recently I have taught more English. I enjoy teaching English and would like a full-time post teaching either English or special educational needs. What do you advise?

A You could try to take some modules in English part-time at a local university or by distance learning to improve you subject knowledge. Alternatively, you could take a postgraduate course in special needs. However, you might be better finding a school that is prepared to offer you a post that includes history and some English.

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