Career advice

28th September 2001 at 01:00
Q I've heard people talking about a new secondment system that the Government has introduced. What is it all about and who is eligible?

A There's a three-year scheme of sabbaticals covering teaching staff working in schools where 50 per cent or more pupils are eligible for free school meals. To be eligible, staff must have a total of five years' service in such schools. Teachers must have been employed in such a school on September 1, 2001. These sabbaticals can last up to six weeks and they can cover a range of possible opportunities related to an individual teacher's professional development needs. Schools participating will receive pound;6,000 per sabbatical to cover all costs - primarily to pay for supply teaching cover.

Q I trained as a teacher but no longer work in the profession. Is it true that I can receive pound;4,000 if I return to teaching this year?

A Under the Government's welcome back bonus scheme, returners who take up a full or part-time teaching post in a maintained school (but not a nursery school) or a non-maintained special school on a contract of at least one term's duration should be eligible for a bonus under the scheme. To participate, you must have obtained qualified teacher status (QTS) before April 30, 2000. You must have taught before that date and not been employed as a teacher or lecturer on more than 15 days in the period from April 30 2000 to March 31 2001 anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Returning heads or those employed mainly to teach maths, science, languages, most technology subjects and English (including drama) will qualify for the pound;4,000 bonus. All other returners will receive pound;2,000. A quarter of this money is payable as soon as the teacher takes up an eligible teaching post; the remainder comes after continuous employment during the next 12 months. If you want to register for the scheme, you should phone the helpline on 01928 792022 or contact the Teacher Training Agency. The bonuses are subject to tax and national insurance.

Q I've taught in FE since graduating with a degree in English. Does this mean Ican teach in a secondary school?

A At present, you will probably need to register for a short period on the employment-based training route, unless you already have qualified teacher status. However, the recent White Paper proposes to make transfer into the school sector easier in the future.

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