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Q I have a PGCE in further education and three other university qualifications. For the past 10 months I have been teaching pupils via a home tuition scheme. I am interested in obtaining qualified teacher status as this would widen my employment opportunities. How do I go about this?

A Assuming you don't want another spell at university, the obvious route would be through the employment-based teacher training scheme. You don't say what your subject area is. This may have a bearing on the likelihood of finding a school willing to take you. Where you live may also be relevant, as schools in some parts of the UK have access to more places and are more conversant with the intricacies of the scheme. However, bear in mind that there are a limited number of funded places available each year. Once these have been exhausted a school may be less willing to shoulder the extra financial responsibilities unless your skills are in short supply.

Q I read reports in the newspapers that there is a shortage of religious education teachers, but I have been told that if I enter training to teach the subject, I will receive only the basic training grant of pound;6,000, and no other help. With my debts, there is no way I would be able to live on this; is there any other way I can become a teacher?

A For some reason the Government has decided religious education is not a shortage subject - even though last year, once again, too few trainees were recruited to fill the places available on all the courses. The fact that RE isn't classified as a shortage subject means that, as you say, only the pound;6,000 training grant is available. If that is insufficient, I suggest you investigate the possibility of training through the employment-based scheme, which will pay you more, regardless of the subject you are training to teach. Contact your local recruitment strategy manager or the Teacher Training Agency for information on the scheme.

John Howson is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and managing director of Education Data Surveys. Send your career questions to him at

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