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Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson

Q Some time ago you wrote about a further education lecturer who was teaching in schools and wanted to pass through the threshold on to the upper pay spine. We have had such a teacher refused permission, despite working in our school for a number of years. Why might this be?

A Much may depend upon what exactly you mean by teaching, and whether the lecturer has obtained qualified teacher status. Without the all-important QTS, staff are not qualified teachers but unqualified "instructors". If this is the case, and the staff member in question can meet the requirements of the school-based training programme, it would seem sensible to enrol the person so that he or she can obtain qualified teacher status. This would allow assessment at the appropriate point for progression through to the upper pay spine.

Q Can the time I have spent on supply count towards my progression up the main pay scale?

A This seems to be something of a problematic issue. If you have been employed on long-term supply cover and paid by a school then, on the face of it, there seems to be no reason why your service shouldn't count towards your progression. But if you are paid by an agency for daily supply work, you may not be undertaking "qualifying employment" and you won't have a relevant body to calculate your service.

The only possible way out of this tangle would seem to be that, when you eventually manage to find a teaching post, you ask the school that appoints you to consider whether your time as a supply teacher could be counted under discretion for "years of experience other than employment as a classroom teacher".

Under the new regulations only one point is available for such service. There would seem to be no guarantee that you would be successful but now that the pay scale is so much shorter, this may no longer be the problem it once was.

John Howson is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and managing director of Education Data Surveys. Do you have a career question for him? Email:

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