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Supply stars

Sara Bubb talks you through the rules and essential points.

Doing or thinking about supply work? The rules around what you can do as a new teacher are complicated. If you're going to be on supply in the same school for a term (even if you're part-time) you must be on induction and the school has to support, monitor and assess you as it would any other newly qualified teacher. Induction doesn't have to start at the beginning of the term but as soon as you have a term's contract. For instance, Hak started his induction on November 1 and completed induction at the end of October in the following school year.

Have you heard about the four-term rule? Newly qualified teachers in England can only do four terms of short-term supply teaching before passing induction. In Wales, the time limit is different because the job situation is even more dire so they're allowed to do five years on short-term supply. Short-term supply is anything that is less than a term and that can't count towards induction.

The clock starts ticking from the first day's work as a qualified teacher - it's not four terms' work. This is turning out to be very hard on people who live in areas where there are very few jobs because when the four terms expire, you must get a post where you can do induction or apply to the local "appropriate body" for up to a year's extension - or not teach.

When your time runs out, you have to find a job and if you can't get one, you're stuffed. You can't work as an unqualified teacher because you are qualified. Teaching assistant jobs not only have lower pay, conditions and status but are hard to come by once a headteacher thinks you'll be off at the first sniff of a teaching post.

But in some areas, such as the South West, teaching jobs are like gold dust, with each advert attracting 100 applicants. With more than 33,000 more teachers pouring out of training colleges in the summer, the job market is going to get even worse

Sara Bubb is an education consultant specialising in induction. Her Successful Induction for New Teachers is published by Sage.

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