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Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson

Q. I gained a primary PGCE in the early 1990s, but because of personal circumstances at that time I embarked on a career outside teaching. In January this year, having updated myself with developments in the profession and undertaken classroom observations, I enrolled as a supply teacher and have worked regularly since, mostly with key stage 2 classes. I would now like to work full-time. How will an application with my track record be viewed? Would I be best to continue with supply work and enrol on the next available returners' course?

A. It doesn't have to be an eitheror decision. As you have decided that you want to work in one school, and prepared yourself by doing your homework about the changes since you qualified, and have undertaken regular supply work, why not reply to any advertisements you see for appropriate teaching posts? Continue with the supply work and look for the next returners'

course. At this time of year you have a head start - by next summer there may be 1,000 extra primary teachers leaving training and looking for teaching jobs. Ask the heads of schools where you are working if they know of an opening and if they'd give you a reference.

Q. I have seen a post for an advisory teacher advertised. It sounds good, but they don't say what the holidays are. I don't want to ring them and ask in case it looks as if that's all I'm interested in. Do these posts normally have the same holidays as teachers?

A. Posts that are outside schools may be paid under the Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document or under local government conditions of service. Ask if there is any local agreement. Apart from that, another point to watch is the pension arrangements. Some posts under local government conditions may not be linked to the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

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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