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Supply doesn't count

Your job and career questions answered

I qualified in May 1998. I taught for 15 months within my own local education authority and then left to bring up my first child. Since then I have done supply work with national agencies. I recently contacted the LEA where I used to work and asked to go on the pool list. I was told by the personnel department that the authority would only be prepared to pay me on point M3 of the pay scale as my supply work does not count towards my previous experience. Is this the same in all authorities? I feel as though I have wasted the past five years, even though I've been employed for much of that time.

The pay scales have changed since you last taught full-time. There are now only six points on the main scale. If you taught for 15 months, you would have progressed to point M2, so it seems that the authority may in fact be acting generously in your case, as it might only have to offer you a salary at point M2 anyway. However, the position may be complicated by whether or not you returned to work for the LEA after a period of maternity leave. In that case, your service with the authority could count for the whole of the period of your pregnancy.

There are no hard and fast rules about extra pay, although it says in the regulations that it is for "years of experience other than employment as a teacher". Working as a registered childminder or even a classroom assistant would seem to count, but not work as a supply teacher - unless that can be considered as "different" from the role of a classroom teacher. Ask your union whether there are any local agreements on this point.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email karen.thornton@tes.co.uk

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