No joy in returning to teaching

9th November 2007 at 00:00
In response to the article on returners to teaching, in last week's Magazine (above) I write as a qualified foreign languages teacher who trained in England and now lives in Scotland. Having taken six years out to bring up my children, I am trying to make myself more marketable before getting back into education in a couple of years.

But I have been dismayed by the lack of courses and information for returning teachers in Scotland. My local education authority down south ran courses and was keen to welcome people back into the profession. I regularly see adverts for other organisations running courses in England, but the situation is very different up here. Oh that I could find a free course with a pound;1,500 bursary as per your article.

East Dunbartonshire, where I live, does not have any returner courses. Strathclyde University runs six-month courses at a cost of around pound;1,000. There are evening courses in Edinburgh: I haven't looked into the cost but it means a three-hour commute.

In trying to find information, I've been passed from department to department, institution to institution or simply come up against a brick wall.

The residency requirements of the General Teaching Council for Scotland are much stricter here for modern languages teachers and, since my six months were spent in the country of my second language which I haven't taught, I can't be registered.

I have been studying an additional language to improve my job prospects, but this will not be recognised by GTCS unless I live abroad for another six months.

Before my husband accepted the job which brought us to Scotland, I rang GTCS to find out how easy registration would be but, as I wasn't applying at the time, they could not give me any information as it is looked at on a case-by-case basis.

I know I have a lot to learn about the system here, and I have the time to get myself into the best position for applying for jobs - but can't. My experience shows that things are very different north of the border - and not necessarily for the better.

Sarah Bell, Burnbrae Avenue, Bearsden.

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