A The rules about switching between primary and secondary teaching are vague. If you have been working with a key stage 2 class you could try applying for an advertised teaching post. You will need to feel competent to teach 11 to 18-year-olds and have sufficient subject knowledge to teach the curriculum.
If your LEA has a recruitment manager they might be able to advise you as to your next step. Despite the lack of secondary teachers in certain subjects, there appear to be few conversion courses for people like yourself.
Q Do I need special qualifications to teach in a Roman Catholic school? I'm a lapsed Catholic and have been told that I need a Catholic teaching certificate.
A Church schools prefer to employ those who are members of their faith. However, where there are staffing difficulties in particular subject areas, they will often appoint teachers who are "tolerant" of their particular faith. Nevertheless, if you are setting out on a career in Roman Catholic schools, you would be well advised to obtain the necessary Catholic Teachers' Cerificate - without it promotion to senior level appointments would be very difficult.
For details contact the Catholic Education Service. It has a web page advising governors about appointing staff at www.cesew.demon.co.ukbpsmemo.html.
Q I've been a classroom assistant for three years. How do I train to become a teacher?
A The DFEE requires all teachers in maintained schools to have certain compulsory qualifications. Assuming you want to teach in the primary sector you will need English, maths and, if born after September 1979, science at GCSE grade C or equivalent. You will need a degree also, either as a part of your training or before you start a PGCE.
Some universities offer conversion courses for classroom assistants to help them train as teachers. Contact the Teacher Information Line on 01245 454454 for course information. If you have at least two years of higher education up to DipHE level, are over 24 and can find a willing school, you could also train through the employment-based routes of the Registered Teacher Programme.
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