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Careers advice

Q I am hoping to train as a primary school teacher this year in London. However, within the next couple of years I would like to move to Wales and wondered whether my career will be affected if I don't speak Welsh?

A Although there is a growing interest in the Welsh language and some schools teach entirely or partially through it, many others don't use it extensively. The Welsh language is at its strongest in north-west Wales and parts of south Wales. In the future, as the Welsh Assembly makes more policy decisions regarding education, knowledge of Welsh may become more important.

If you want to be certain of being able to communicate with all the parents of the children in your school, taking time to learn Welsh would be worthwhile. A knowledge of Welsh would probably also help in securing a teaching post in the very competitive job market in primary schools in Wales.

Q I am a student on a post-compulsory PGCE course and am becoming increasingly concerned about the availability of jobs in this field. Is there a short cut from my course to obtaining qualified teacher status and being able to teach in primary schools?

A The short answer is no. The two training courses are very different in their nature. Teachers in primary schools are expected to teach across the curiculum, whereas you will probably be looking to teach in a much more limited range of subject disciplines.

However, if you have any experience of working with young children and can mount a credible case, other than a lack of jobs in the post-compulsory sector, a primary school that was having difficulties recruiting staff might be persuaded to offer you a training place through the Graduate Training Programme, provided you meet the entry requirements. That said, finding such a place usually depends upon local knowledge as they are not advertised.

Switching to teach in the secondary sector by this route might be an easier proposition.

Q I completed my PGCE in English last year. I was praised for my A-level teaching by my training school but my first post in an 11-18 school does not allow me any A-level teaching. I may have to wait four years. I would like to teach in FE at some point. Will my lack of A-level experience jeopardise my chances?

A I am sorry the school is treating you this way. You might consider moving once you have completed your induction as the school doesn't seem interested in your career development.

Do remember that not everyone in FE is studying for A-levels. You can develop a worthwhile career teaching other sorts of courses.

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