10th January 2003 at 00:00
Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson

Q I am an experienced teacher with more than 20 years' teaching behind me. At present, I am a head of department in a secondary school and teach in the special needs department. I started off my career, however, as an English teacher. I have also had experience as an FE tutor in English and local history. I am now looking for a career change and am attracted to the idea of teaching basic skills. Is there any way I could retrain for this?

A From September 2002, the following requirements apply to new teachers of adult literacy and numeracy:

* Teachers of adult literacy will be required to work towards both the new level 4 certificate for adult literacy subject specialists and a full teaching qualification that meets the Further Education National Training Organisation teaching and learning standards, such as a certificate in education or a PGCE.

* Teachers of adult numeracy will be required to work towards the new level 4 certificate for adult numeracy subject specialists and a full teaching qualification that meets the Fento teaching and learning standards such as a certificate in education or a PGCE.

* Teachers already qualified with a certificate of education or PGCE wishing to be specialist teachers of adult literacy or numeracy will need to complete the certificate for adult literacynumeracy subject specialists at level 4.

* All post-16 teachers of other subjects or vocational areas will be required to follow teacher training programmes that include coverage of the subject specifications for literacy and numeracy at level 3.

You should contact the Basic Skills Agency on 020 7405 4017, or its Helpline on 020 7421 2362. You could also try your local further education college for more information about possible courses that would suit your needs and would fit in with your current work patterns.

John Howson is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and managing director of Education Data Surveys. Do you have a career question for him? Contact him at

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