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Over 50 and under a cloud

The experience of the newly-qualified 40-year-old teacher who cannot find a job - even though he's trained in a shortage subject (TES, May 17) - prompts me to tell my own story as a late entrant.

In 1982 I was made redundant as a scientist in industry. The recession killed any chance of a professional post and I had to "get on the factory floor" where I was treated with distaste by super-visors who thought I was after their jobs.

In 1990 I was accepted on a two-year BEd course at a leading West Country university. They promised that my industrial experience (20-plus years) would lead to immediate employment on qualifying in a shortage subject.

I was snapped up, but to fill a temporary post for a teacher on maternity leave. The headmaster put me on a grade 7 which I thought was great for a new graduate. But when the contract expired I had trouble getting another post as I was too expensive.

For two years I have been on the supply register, applying for jobs locally as my wife's job prevents us moving.

Supply work is not plentiful - two or three days a week if I'm lucky - but I am getting an insight into the local schools. I also hear that it is mainly financial considerations which determine who gets the jobs.

I am actively seeking work elsewhere, although at 50, I feel that ageism will prevent me from entering the industrial jobs market.

Like the previous writer I also wish to be anonymous. Many headteachers take against anyone who rocks the boat and I really do want to carry on working in schools.

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