16th May 2008 at 01:00
Q: I completed my secondary PGCE in the summer of 2006 and have not set foot in a classroom since
Q: I completed my secondary PGCE in the summer of 2006 and have not set foot in a classroom since. I work in the civil service, but am considering re-entering the teaching profession. Would my lack of teaching experience make me an unattractive prospect? How could I go about trying to find a job, short of resigning (which would be risky as I have already been building a pension and have job security) and taking up supply work?

A: You don't provide me with many clues to go on. Why didn't you go straight into teaching? What subject did you train in?

However, there are some clues in your email. You mention pension and job security and either teaching or your present job should offer those features. Nevertheless, you know the saying, "A bird in the hand ..." so why not explore whether you could put your teacher training to good use in a training role within the civil service before looking to switch careers again?

I don't think your year in employment would necessarily count against you when you look for teaching posts, especially if you make a virtue out of the experience in your personal statement. Was this your first experience outside of the education system, and what have you gained from it that you can bring into your teaching career?

I wouldn't quit and go on supply because I don't think you would be happy in such an insecure environment and that would be reflected in your teaching.

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University.

Coming soon: The TES Magazine careers clinic - the answer to all your job worries. Every week Sara Bubb and John Howson, our resident experts, will answer your queries. Email

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