Q I am a secondary music specialist considering applying for the position of a primary teacher. Do I need to retrain? If so, can you advise me about appropriate training programmes?
A Generally, primary teachers spend most of their teaching time with a single class. This means they have to be competent to teach all the subjects in the national curriculum, including religious education.
Sadly, there are few if any paid full-time conversion courses to allow you to retrain. However, the Teacher Training Agency website (www.canteach.gov.uk) does have details of what courses are available. There is no guarantee that there is a course near where you live.
Q I am interested in a professional development day I have seen advertised, but my headteacher says I would have to go in my own time. What are the rules on this, please?
A If the course is on a school day, then the head can decide whether or not to release you and whether to pay for the course. There is no way you can force the head to pay for you to attend.
The school should have a policy relating to professional development and yu may want to make the case that this activity is in line with the school's needs. However, if the head disagrees and is backed by the governors, there is little more you can do.
Q I'm in my early 40s with five years of teaching experience after a career break. Is it worth my while seeking a post as a deputy head in a primary school. Will I ever make it to a headship?
A If you have decided that you want to move into management, then this would seem to be an excellent time to start looking around. You should work on your cv this term so that you will be in a good position to apply when the bulk of management posts are advertised in the spring.
You might also try talking with your head and attending professional development activities related to management.
Remember that, in addition to your recent teaching experience, you have lots of other knowledge and expertise to bring to the post of a deputy headship. These days plenty of deputies become heads for the first time in their late 40s; in some small primary schools heads are appointed from the ranks of classroom teachers.