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Q I am a teacher of English and French with 15 years experience. I have a Romanian university diploma and a Belgian post-graduate qualification in teaching French as a foreign language. I'd like to teach French in a state school. How do I find out the options open to me?

A The first point to consider is whether you have a status that permits you to work in England and Wales.

If you have, then, if you have worked as a qualified teacher in Romania, you may be eligible to enter teaching through the employment-based teaching route that is open to overseas trained teachers. This is a complicated area that requires detailed knowledge of the scheme that can then be applied to your personal circumstances.

You should ask the careers service at the institution where you are currently studying to put you in contact with either the Teacher Training Agency's regional officer or a local recruitment strategy manager employed by one of the local education authorities nearby.

Alternatively, you could contact one of the larger supply agencies to see if they can place you through the scheme.

Q Some weeks ago you gae advice to a classroom assistant about becoming a teacher. I work as a laboratory technician in a secondary school and would like to switch to teaching. How can I do this?

A Assuming that you have the necessary basic qualifications of a degree as well as the appropriate GCSEs, then you can either ask a school, perhaps even the one where you are working, to take you on under the employment-based training route, or you can start a PGCE course.

It is becoming easier to study for a PGCE part-time while still working. You should contact the Teacher Information Line (01245 454454) to ask for details of your nearest course. Alternatively, look at the Teacher Training Agency's web site (www.canteach.gov.uk) to see if providers of modular training are listed.

If you don't yet have the equivalent of a degree, then you will have to complete at least two years of higher education before you can start any employment-based training under the registered teacher programme. Either the Open University or your local education provider will be able to supply you with details of part-time higher education courses.

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