Help!

Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson.

Q I am employed as an unqualified teacher of textiles, having worked in the clothing industry for several years, responsible for training and NVQ assessment. I worked in further education for two years and was a supply teacher for 10 months before taking up my present post. My qualifications were gained in industry and include the further education teaching certificate. However, I don't have a degree, although I have been told I have credits towards one. I recently read in The TES about someone with a Cert Ed who wanted to teach in secondary schools. He was advised to find a school that would employ him on the Registered Teacher Programme. Can I take the same route?

A I assume you are teaching textiles as an instructor in a secondary school. The Registered Teacher Programme was designed for anyone over 24 with two years of higher education, but not necessarily a degree. Like other employment-based routes, it is designed to be tailored to the needs of the individual. At the end of the programme you should receive qualified teacher status and a degree. If your credits don't add up to the equivalent of two years of higher education you will need extra credits before being admitted to the programme. Your head might agree to provide the training to allow you to reach QTS. During training you may be paid at the unqualified or the qualified rate.

QI am a part-time secondary teacher, and it looks as if I am going to be required to teach every day of the week next year. I feel this is unreasonable. The school has always tried - successfully - to timetable part-time staff in "blocks", and part-timers have been reasonably flexible where this has proved difficult. However, now we are being blamed for there being too many "split classes", an Ofsted criticism of the school. Is it unreasonable of me to expect at least one free day per week?

AMuch will depend upon your contract of employment and how long you've been working at the school. It is unsatisfactory to expect people to work part of every day unless that is the pattern they have opted for, such as teaching every morning. The school cannot force you to teach every day, but your last resort could be resignation.

John Howson is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and managing director of Education Data Surveys. He returns with more career advice on September 6. If you have a question for him, email: susan.young@newsint.co.uk

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