Time's ticking

2nd May 2008 at 01:00
Sara Bubb on everything overseas trained teachers need to know
Sara Bubb on everything overseas trained teachers need to know

Where did you train to teach? Maybe it wasn't in this country. Teachers trained in other countries can enrich our profession and benefit pupils. New Zealand is the home of Reading Recovery, the early literacy intervention programme, and South African special needs teachers have an impressive array of specialist knowledge.

Since 2001 there's been a rule that overseas trained teachers (OTTs) from outside the European Economic Area can only teach in England for four calendar years without having qualified teacher status (QTS). It's being tightened so that OTTs who've been teaching here for four years but haven't got QTS won't be able to work as teachers in state schools after August 31.

No one knows how many people fall into this category, but there are more than 11,000 OTTs who don't have QTS. Some are bound to be at risk of being unable to work.

If you or anyone you know is in this position, or have been here close to four years, you need to get a move on. Getting QTS is a great way to develop professionally, but many people are surprised and frustrated at the complexity of the process.

The first thing to check is qualifications. The National Academic Recognition Information Centre provides information on the comparability of degree and GCSE English, maths and science qualifications.

Then find a place on the Overseas Trained Teacher Programme. Look at the Training and Development Agency for Schools' list of employment-based initial teacher training providers. Many have a waiting list, but once you're registered someone will audit you and create training plans to address any gaps in knowledge, experience and skills.

www.naric.org.uk; www.tda.gov.ukott

Sara Bubb is an education consultant specialising in induction

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