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Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson

Q I am a second year student on a three-year BA secondary school teaching (business studies) degree. The first two years are run on a modular basis. The third year is a full-time teaching preparation course. As I will still be an undergraduate, I am not entitled to the pound;6,000 training bursary that PGCE students can receive. As this part of the course is full-time, I need childcare. This will cost around pound;250 a month. I will also have increased travelling costs of around pound;150 a month. I can't afford this on my student loan.

Are there any other funding opportunities available for students in my position? (I am not a single parent although my husband is on a low wage but over the limits for any benefits). I've made tentative enquiries about the Registered Teacher Programme, but I am unable to find much information locally. I have contacted the relevant information lines without success. I am worried as I see financial problems next year.

A As your degree is only three years, you can enter the classroom a year earlier than other students, earning more than pound;17,500 as a classroom teacher. You could ask your university's school of education if there is a hardship fund for help with childcare costs.

The Registered Teacher Programme is open to those with two years of higher education. The advantage is that you would be employed as a trainee and should be able to access new tax benefits available to low-paid employees if your household income falls within the limits. Contact the recruitment strategy managers in the local authorities where you want to work for advice.

Alternatively, after Christmas, try applying for business studies teaching posts that are advertised in The TES and suggest to the schools that they investigate the scheme. As demand for PGCE places in business studies is buoyant at present, there may be competition for teaching posts next year, particularly in parts of the UK close to the larger training centres. Anything you can do to help yourself find a teaching post may be useful.

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

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