27th June 2003 at 01:00
Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson


I am about to finish my PGCE course in secondary English, but am confused about what qualification I will have before completing my induction year. I have a post abroad next year, in a school that teaches the British national curriculum. If I leave England without completing my NQT year, and do not do so within five years, will this affect my status on my return?


Since the return of the induction year, beginning teachers need to pass two stages of certification before becoming fully qualified. The PGCE is a university qualification certified by the Teacher Training Agency and quality controlled by Ofsted. But a teacher training course doesn't need to be linked to a university qualification. Passing the induction year is the second stage and must be done within five years of the completion of stage one.

Some schools in the independent sector are able to offer the induction year, but I doubt an overseas one would. If you return to England out of time, you'd have to be registered on an employment-based programme to gain QTS. However, it is difficult to guess what teacher preparation courses will look like in six years' time.


I have been off work for three months with stress and depression, but am now well enough to return to school. My chair of governors has said I need to go before an occupational health board before I'm allowed to return.

What does this entail? I have an interview for another post as I have resigned from the end of August. Although the interview panel won't know my medical history, will it have a bearing on whether I can be employed?


Without knowing more details it is difficult to give specific answers.

However, the board may have been arranged before you notified the school of your return. You may be approaching the end of your time on full pay and are about to transfer to half pay. The board will want to discuss your medical history and fitness to teach. Talk to your professional association to find out if you should be represented. Ask your doctors to provide written confirmation that you are fit to return to teaching.

Your future employer will need to assess your fitness. If it is a different local authority, you won't have any prior history when you start work and will only be entitled to statutory sick pay if you have time off in the first few months.

John Howson is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and managing director of Education Data Surveys. Send your career questions to him at

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