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Pay Qamp

I'm a long-serving teacher. I'm leaving in August to work abroad for a few years before returning to teaching. While I am away, I intend to pay the combined pension contribution so as to increase my pension entitlement. Should I apply to cross the threshold and, if I do, will the combined contributions be based on the salary I would have earned as an over-the-threshold teacher?

The answer to both questions is yes. You won't be seen by an external assessor, but your application will be dealt with on the same basis as all others from your school. Once your present employer has notified the Teachers Pensions Agency that you have met the threshold standards, the combined contributions will be deducted from your notional post-September salary. The TPAleaflet 721PEN gives more information on this.

I'm at the top of the scale with one incentive allowance and I thinkI meet the standards. However, I start a year's secondment as an advisory teacher on May 1. Should I still apply to cross the threshold or will I have to do this on returning to school in a year's time?

You should notify your present head immediately that you will submit an application before the June 5 deadline based on your present work. That means you start the application process. Once that has started, applications from teachers who leave or are seconded are treated in the same way as those from other teachers in the school. Your school's threshold assessment support pack contains the details. It is perfectly possible, by the way, to apply as a seconded or advisory teacher - but in your case the practicalities are against it.

E-mail your questions on pay to: friday@tes.co.ukMichael Duffy regrets that he cannot enter into personalcorrespondence

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