Experience ignored

6th May 2005 at 01:00
Since moving to the UK in December, Adam Gregory has found that his classroom experience counts for very little.

Like thousands of other foreign teachers in Britain, he is considered unqualified - even though he has a teaching degree and three years'

classroom experience.

After doing a four-year teaching degree, the Australian science teacher easily found work at Gympie state high, a small-town secondary two hours north of Brisbane on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

There, he was considered a competent classroom practitioner.

"It is quite a big school, 1,100 students, but in a small- town setting," he said. "Country kids can be a bit rough, so it could be a challenging environment to work in. They tended to get into a lot of fights."

To gain qualified status in Britain he must take the Overseas Trained Teacher Programme - or continue to be paid roughly pound;5,000 a year less than his UK colleagues.

Mr Gregory, who has been working at a secondary school in Westminster, central London, for four months, said: "The school seems to be happy with me - if they weren't they could ask me to leave at any time.

"It is frustrating. It does not make sense to expect a teacher like me to stand in front of a class just like every other teacher, but pay me less."

The 25-year-old, who takes home just over pound;400 a week, said that he was not aware that he needed QTS when he arrived in the UK.

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