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Q I'm confined to a wheelchair following a sports accident. Can I still become a teacher?

A You may be interested to know that one of this year's winners of the teacher awards teaches from a wheelchair.

Nonetheless, you are still likely to come up against some difficulties within training institutions and later when you come to apply for a teaching post. Indeed, many schools are not wheelchair-friendly places and may be inaccessible.

Your best bet might be to talk to the Teacher Training Agency about any special initiatives they have and which institutions could provide the best training opportunities for you.

Q As a final-year BEd student, I've missed out on training salaries and am worried about missing out on the fast track scheme as well. What hope do I have of making a career in teaching?

A First of all, don't worry. The skills you've developed over three or four years are highly valued by headteachers and others making appointments to primary schools. Only a very small number of fast-track teachers are likely to be created in the primary sector during the next few yearsand there will be plenty of other opportunities for promotion.

The Department for Education and Employment has estimated that four out of five men and three in four women teaching in primary school with between five and nine years' service, were on point nine of the pay spine in March 1999. More than 600 men and 1,200 women were heads or deputies by that point in their careers.

There are other opportunities to develop your career in both advisory and administration roles after a few years in the classroom.

Q As a head, I am having to offer incentives to recruit staff to some posts. We are only a small school and this has affected the differential between these teachers and myself. What should I do?

A You should raise this issue with the governors in advance of your next salary review meeting. It seems reasonable that if other staff are receiving incentives on a permanent basis, this should not be allowed to erode the differential between their salary and yours. However, if the payment is only temporary, for a couple of years, it may be more difficult to argue your case.

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