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Financial headache

Will I receive summer holiday pay if I start a new job in the spring or summer terms? I am trying to find my first teaching job and am worried about finances.

Assuming you are employed on an open contract then you will be paid from the date you start work. So, if you are employed from July 1, you will be paid for the period when the pupils are not in school; some of this will be holiday, but the rest will be preparation time. Unfortunately, some schools still expect newly qualified teachers to undertake lesson preparation over the summer at the newly qualified teacher's own expense. This is short-sighted as, with debt levels averaging around pound;10,000, many newly qualified teachers will opt to work over the summer anyway to reduce their debt burden. This means they may not be as well prepared in September as they could be. It is time for schools to wise up to the realities of modern student life before the generation that also have had to pay top-up fees arrive.

FLEXIBILITY IS THE KEY

Do you think that delaying my NQT year doing something unrelated to teaching for a while will affect my chances of finding work in a school afterwards? I've completed my PGCE but have so far not found a job I want.

There are lots of new teachers in your situation. Having completed training courses last summer they discovered that there weren't enough teaching jobs to go around. However, as we have shown in JobWatch (right), secondary schools did advertise around 3,000 teaching posts last term. More posts are on offer this term. But flexibility is the key. It may be a long wait for the job just down the road, or you may strike it lucky.

When you do find a post to apply for, the school will want to see evidence of initiative on your part. Have you been sitting at home drawing benefit or working in a related area to teaching, even just as a volunteer? A blank in your CV with no explanation other than there were no jobs available is unlikely to impress anyone except the most desperate headteacher.

We're happy to answer your problems about any aspect of your NQT year.

Unfortunately, our experts cannot enter into personal correspondence with readers but will treat all your enquiries in the strictest confidence.

Please email any questions you have to: nqtextra@tes.co.uk

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