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I am a mature entrant to teaching, currently at the top of the pay spine with two points for a good honours degree and three for recruitment and retention. It was explained to me when I was appointed that these were in recognition of relevant non-teaching experience. By September 1999 I had completed six years' teaching. Am I eligible to cross the threshold?

I am afraid you're not. Technically, your governors should have recognised your previous relevant experience by the award of discretionary experience points, and though they could remedy this from September, they can't do so retrospectively. That means that in September 1999 you held only six experience points, and not the seven that holders of good honours degrees needed to be eligible to apply this year.

I am a senior teacher with whole-school responsibilities. I have been advised by my head that I need not cross the threshol and will be moved to the leadership pay spine at a point equivalent to my present salary, plus pound;2,000. But I may need to move to another part of the country in 2001. What happens if I don't then get a leadership post? Would I be still be entitled to be paid above the threshold?

We don't yet know the answer. Originally, people who moved to the leadership spine this year would have been deemed to have met the requirements, but both the School Teachers Review Body report and the DfEE's threshold guidance left the issue unresolved. The DfEE is consulting on a proposal that there should be a qualifying period of two years as an assistant head (as postholders on the leadership spine will now be known) before threshold equivalence is confirmed.

Michael Duffy E-mail your questions on pay to: Duffy regrets that he cannot enter into personalcorrespondence

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