Q I read a reference to a new scheme for those who want to switch careers and become a teacher. Has this started and can I still find a place for this September?
A You may be referring to the scheme mentioned by Ed Balls, the new Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. He mentioned a scheme similar to Teach First which he called Teach Next. I haven't seen any specific details of the scheme and I don't know whether it will be organised through the Training and Development Agency or through the Secretary of State's own department. At present, about a third of new teachers are over 30 when they start teaching. Many of these will be moving into teaching after other careers, although some will be mature students who trained to be primary school teachers through the undergraduate route. So assuming you are already a graduate, have no criminal record or health issues, and have the requisite passes in mathematics, English and science, you have two main options for this September: you can either look for a place on a training course either in a Scitt (School Centred Initial Teacher Training Course) or on a PGCE, the postgraduate course. Visit www.gttr.ac.uk for a list of courses with vacancies. If you wanted a PGCE course starting later, there is also the Open University (www3.open.ac.uk coursesbinp12.dll?Q01C21). The other option is the Graduate Training Programme where you train in a school and receive a salary during the training period. As most schools are now fully staffed for September, there are likely to be few opportunities for starting on this route. But it is worth considering, because some trainees start in January. Visit the Training and Development Agency for Schools website at www.tda.gov.uk to find out more. Whichever route you select, do bear in mind there will be no guarantee of a teaching post at the end of your trainin *