Career advice

21st September 2001 at 01:00
Q I started teaching last September. Can I be recruited on to the Fast Track programme?

A Last year, Fast Track was restricted to those entering training, but this autumn the scheme is expected to be extended so that it can also apply to teachers in the early stages of their careers. There will be a publicity drive later this term. The application process is rigorous and those selected must agree to move schools every two years, but they will get more pay and a programme of professional development.

Q I have just started a maths degree with the intention of going into teaching. However, I have a criminal conviction from when I was 21.I will be 36 when I finish my degree and apply for a place on a PGCE course. Will my conviction bar me from becoming a teacher?

ABecause of the nature of teaching, criminal convictions do not become spent after 10 years. They must always be declared. Some convictions, such as for child-related crimes or violent offences, bring an automatic bar on entry. For other types of offence, the situation is less clear. Factors will include how long ago the individual was convicted, the nature of the offence, whether the case was tried in a magistrates' or a Crown court, and what type of sentence was imposed. You could try contacting the General Teaching Council to see if it has a view on whether your particular conviction would debar you from being registered as a teacher. Perhaps you could also seek advice from the the admissions tutor or course leader at the university at which you are intending to train.

Q I have 22 years' teaching experience in the US school system including five years teaching physical and biological sciences. I would like to teach in the United Kingdom for a few years. What are my chances and how do I go about getting a work permit?

A There are now record numbers of overseas teachers working in England, especially in shortage subjects such as the sciences and in urban areas such as London. Even so, getting a work permit is complicated and you would probably be best advised to contact one of the supply agencies dealing with teacher placements. The main agencies advertise at the end of The TES jobs section each week.

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