18th May 2001 at 01:00
Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs.

I qualified last July to teach history, but have been doing supply work, including teaching psychology, which I really enjoy. Can I start my induction teaching psychology at a sixth-form college?

You face three issues. First, since your four-term supply quota is running out you should get a settled position as soon as possible - by January at the latest.

Second, you'll be taking a big risk teaching a subject in your induction year in which you have not been trained. Remember that you have to meet the QTS standards as well as the induction standards. It will be hard to gain the same level of subject knowledge in psychology as you have in history, which will affect your confidence in planning, teaching and assessing. It would be easier for you to teah history in your first year, with perhaps the option of some psychology classes.

Third, you can do induction in sixth-form colleges but, unlike secondary schools, they do not have to provide it. If you find one that does, be aware that you should have a timetable of no more than 90 per cent of normal average teaching time and no more than 10 per cent of your teaching should be in classes of pupils predominately aged 19 and over. During your induction, you should also spend at least 10 school days teaching in a secondary school. Ask your education authority whether the local sixth-form colleges offer induction. If they aren't experienced at induction, you might fare better in a secondary school.

E-mail your questions to: Bubb cannot enter into personal correspondence

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