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Career advice

Q I have just been offered my first teaching appointment. However, nothing was mentioned about the salary I would start on. As a mature student, aged 28, I have had six years of employment training new staff. Can I be awarded any extra points for my age and previous experience? How can I do this without upsetting other staff?

A Many people find themselves in your position. I assume nothing was said about the possibility of a recruitment allowance?

However, all is not lost. Under a regulation in the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions document, teachers may be awarded "one point a year for years of experience other than employment as a teacher which the relevant body considers of value to the performance of the classroom teacher's duties". It may be that there is a local agreement that covers the use of this provision and you should certainly ask.

There is no reason why this should upset other staff as it would be rewarding you for experience that would benefit any school.

Q I am a health visitor and have been a part-time lecturer at an FE College for eight years, teaching on a variety of early years, health and social care courses. I have the City and Guilds 7307 (and an MEd in continuing education) and am underaking a post-compulsory PGCE course. I am interested in transferring to teach in secondary schools. Will my PGCE be directly transferable?

A Over the past few years the training programmes for the schools and further education sectors have become increasingly distinct. In principle, transferring between the two is now as difficult as switching between secondary and primary school teaching. However, it is recognised that many lecturers in the post-compulsory sector have knowledge and skills that would be useful in secondary schools, particularly where their expertise isn't properly covered in the subject-based training targets used by the government.

Your PGCE will not be directly transferable unless it also confers qualified teacher status. I think this is unlikely, but do check.

You might ask the course providers whether they operate any modular PGCEs for training in the secondary sector that might offer you credit for your training and experience. The alternative route is through employment-based training on the graduate training programme. With current teacher shortages in secondary schools, you might consider sending your CV to some local schools to see whether they would be interested in employing you.

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