Case in point on disparity of status

19th June 2009 at 01:00

Your article "Give lecturers status to work in schools, MPs told"(June 12) rings very true in my own case.

I have a degree, and in 1990 completed a certificate in education (FE) at the then Thames Polytechnic. Since that time, I have worked in further education for nine years, in an international secondary for six years, and was able for several years to work as a supply teacher in mainstream secondaries. All these posts have been within the subjects I took for my cert ed: drama and special needs education.

However, when I was offered a full-time job in the "transition phase" (14- 19) of a special school in September 2008, I was only able to be paid as a non-qualified teacher as I did not have qualified teacher status (QTS). To gain this, I am now completing the "assessment-based only" (Abo) route to QTS offered by the University of Gloucestershire.

I have enjoyed going through this process, although completing the portfolio of evidence against the standards has been very hard work.

Two things rankle, however. When I completed my cert ed, all students received a letter from Thames Polytechnic stating that QTS would be granted if those holding the cert ed (FE) obtained posts in mainstream schools. I have sent copies of this letter several times to the General Teaching Council, but it is always rejected.

Second, I have had to take a salary cut of nearly Pounds 10,000 while employed as a non-qualified teacher this year, and although I understand that I should eventually catch up, it has made this a difficult year financially, and I am concerned about the long-term effect on my pension.

I would recommend the Abo route to anyone in my position, but warn that it is no stroll in the park. And you'll have to be prepared to take a massive, if temporary, salary cut.

Andrew Colley, Teacher.

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