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Help!

Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

I've read that trainee teachers can take the skills test as may times as they want, but what about people like me who finish induction in July? Can I take the numeracy test as many times as I want? Is there a time limit?

Yes, trainees and those NQTs who qualified between May 2000 and May 2001 can do the tests as many times as they need to pass. But until these test have been passed, trainees can't qualify as teachers and NQTs can't complete induction.

With luck you'll pass the numeracy test before the end of term so your headteacher can recommend that you have met all the standards for induction. Prepare to make lots of attempts in the next few weeks. Since you can do it as many times as it takes, you can see abortive attempts as practice - and may pass sooner than you expected.

If you don't pass the skills test by the end of term, you can apply to your LEA for an extension to your induction period of one term, as this has now been included in the category of "exceptional circumstances".

If you haven't passed by the end of the extension term you can't teach in a maintained school. The Department for Education will be consulting on whether to amend legislation to allow people in this position to suspend their induction until after they've passed the test.

Email your questions to friday@tes.co.ukSara Bubb's book, A Newly-Qualified Teachers' Manual: how to meet the induction standards, is published by David Fulton, pound;15. She regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence. More of your questions answered at www.tes.co.uk

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