15th September 2000 at 01:00
Q I have been teaching for around five years and am thinking about further study. Will an MA help my career?

A An MA is one part of the jigsaw. Think about longer-term goals. Do you want promotion or a new direction? Part-time study can be very demanding, even though universities and colleges are used to teachers fitting their studies in around their work.

If you are looking for a leadership post you might want a course that offers both leadership and other specific skills. However, most teachers seem to choose either a leadership course, including education management MBAs, or one that will enhance their classroom skills. Check the Internet to review your options.

Q I have seen some adverts for "assistant heads". What are these posts and how easy are they to find?

A The new grade of assistant head was created this year following the Government's re-think of the organisation of schools first outlined in the 1998 Green Paper teachers: meeting the challenge of change.

What has happened is that schools are now allowed to create a Leadership Group that includes heds, and existing deputies but can also encompass other senior teachers with leadership roles. Assistant heads have the same professional duties as deputy heads, except the duty to deputise in the head's absence. They will not be subject to the working time provisions that apply to classroom teachers generally.

There is no requirement to advertise these posts nationally, so it is too early to say whether or not schools will try to appoint from within. However, adverts have begun appearing in The TES.

Q I trained in FE as a business studies teacher. Now I have moved and have seen a post teaching in a school. Can I apply?

A Teachers in schools need to hold Qualified Teacher Status. Often, FE teacher training programmes don't confer QTS. However, you should check with your validating institution.

You can switch to working in schools through the employment-based route and you should discuss this possibility with the school. Your experience might count towards your training plan, and the school could still pay you the qualified rate during the training period.

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