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Q Why do secondary trained teachers get a Department for Education number and not those qualifying in further education? It seems unfair that secondary trained teachers can teach in FE colleges, but not vice versa.

A The Further Education Teaching Certificate was never intended to represent a full course of teacher training and the holders of it are not recognised as qualified teachers.

The FE certificate provides those who are specialists with particular skills, usually technical or clerical, with basic classroom techniques appropriate to their particular needs for teaching in FE colleges.

Courses are typically short and do not cover the full range of training and teaching practice which characterise training for Qualified Teacher Status through BEd or postgraduate certificate courses. It is Qualified Teacher Status which is recognised by the assignment of a DFE number.

Q It is the practice at this school to require the heads of sixth form and Year 11 to come into school during the school holidays in order to deal with business connected with the publication of exam results. Is this a voluntary activity on their part or an obligation?

A If it is specified in the job description of these posts that dealing with this business is a part of their job, it might be reasonable to suggest that this commitment falls within the scope of paragraph 36(1)(f) of The School Teachers' Pay and Conditions of Service Document.

This states that there are some tasks which fall outside the 1,265 hours of directed time, but which are a necessary part of the job.

As these teachers are probably paid several increments in recognition of their important responsibilities, they might feel that it would be difficult to do their jobs to their own satisfaction, if they did not regard this work as integral to their posts.

The alternative would be to allocate a set time for this work and include it within the directed time of these teachers.

I suspect that, for most conscientious teachers at this level, the issue has the same relevance as the debate about angels dancing on pinheads.

Questions should be sent to Helpline, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY.

Fax: 071-782 3200

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