It's a family matter

Your job and career questions answered

I work in industry for a modest salary of about pound;22k, but Iwant to become a teacher. I must decide on my route - PGCE or graduate teacher programme. I have a family to support and a house and car to run. Various sources are suggesting grants, bursaries, loans and golden hellos. But will any organisation pay me pound;15k (after tax) to help me to support my family?

If you become a student, your PGCE will cover parts of two tax years. If you stay in your current job until the end of August, you will receive 5Z12 of your annual salary, but the whole of your personal tax allowance. The 7Z12 of your bursary should be tax-free. In the following tax year you would receive 5Z12 of the bursary and 7Z12 of your salary as a teacher, assuming you find a job. On the downside, you would have lost 12 months'

worth of pension contributions, and there is no certainty of a teaching job. If you can find a school to train you through the employment-based route, the salary is negotiable and you should ask about entry to the teachers' pension scheme. But you will pay tax and national insurance and, once again, you have no guarantee of a teaching post at the end of the training period.

As for your total earnings during training, it will depend on where you train and how much more than the minimum the school is prepared to pay you.

In September 2005, the minimum for qualified teachers outside London will be pound;14,000. In inner London it will be pound;17,655. You could also consider the fast-track programme, which brings additional financial benefits.

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