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Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson

Q) I am a 34-year-old currently doing a primary PGCE. I have 11 years' work experience, a fair amount of it related to working with children and schools, as well as local authorities, (some of it as a youth worker). How might this affect my starting salary as a newly qualified teacher?

A) When the main scale was reduced from nine to six points, the extra increments allowed for past experience were reduced from a maximum of three points to just one. But even this point remains discretionary and has to be for employment that is considered "of value to the performance of a classroom teacher's duties". You may need to shop around, and be prepared to haggle at interviews, if need be; don't expect it to be offered automatically.

Q) I am in my third year of teaching ICT and want to work overseas. How do I find out more about schools abroad; I take it that most of them don't have Ofsted? Can I rely on the information published in brochures and on websites?

A) Each country regulates its schools in its own way. If you want to teach in an international school you can check whether it is accredited or not.

This will tell you something about the way the school operates. Otherwise, you could ask the teachers' professional body in the countries where you want to teach; but be prepared for a lack of information in some countries.

You could resort to the internet and post a question on a bulletin board or enter a chatroom discussion, but you will find it difficult to check the validity of the information you receive. Finally, you could always work abroad through one of the exchange schemes that will find a placement for you. Check out the British Council website at educationteachersindex.htm for details. Other programmes advertise in the jobs pages of The TES. Spending time abroad in this way can be a valuable experience.

See cover story, TES Jobs 1.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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