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Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson


I have been at the same school since I started teaching in 1989. I have served under several headteachers, but one head and I didn't get on. I was moved from being a classroom teacher to a support teacher. Under the next head, I became the special needs co-ordinator. I have been on courses, and am the longest serving member of staff. I have asked for a Sen point but was told by the chair of governors that I needed a recognised special needs qualification. Also, because of my difference with the former head I haven't yet applied to pass through the threshold. What should I do now?


You only need the Sen qualification for the second special needs point.

For the first, you just need substantial work with such children. If the chair of governors still disagrees, you should consult your authority's special needs adviser, and your professional association. You should apply for transfer to the upper pay spine, although this won't be backdated. Why not consider a post with more responsibility, maybe even a deputy headship?


Over the past few years, I have done a lot of work on dance and movement with children in independent schools. Recently, I have also been working with the maintained sector and running LEA courses. Now I have been asked to work with difficult children, and to run courses for teachers of children with severe emotional, social and discipline problems. As my original qualifications weren't accredited, I am paid as an unqualified teacher. How do I become qualified to teach in the maintained sector?


Apart from the English and mathematics qualifications, you will need a degree or, as you are over 24, a qualification equivalent to two years' higher education. It might be worth seeing if a local university has a scheme to accredit your prior learning. If you can obtain this level of qualification with only a few top-up modules or courses, you would be eligible for the registered teacher programme. This would allow you to complete your training on the job. Ask your LEA's recruitment strategy manager for details. You could decide that what you do isn't teaching but coaching, become self-employed and invoice the school for your time. This might allow you to concentrate on what you enjoy, and avoid the many other tasks a teacher has to undertake.

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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