Too old, too qualified to teach?

17th May 1996 at 01:00
As a newly-qualified teacher tied to my home town by family and finances, like the anonymous job hunter who wrote in your issue of May 3, I too cannot find work. I have seven O-levels and four As, specialised industry and business experience and have now trained in a "shortage" secondary subject. My reports, results and references are excellent but it appears that age (I'm 40), experience plus qualifications, price a good teacher out of a job.

I have student loans to repay, plus a loss of salary while training. The carrrot was that with Qualified Teacher Status I would be "snatched up" - as my college said - for my qualifications (BSc Hons) and relevant experience. Not so. The truth is that at the end of the PGCE course the career officer's advice is "to accept a scale 2 to get inIit is all you can expect. You are the same as any other person with a good honours degree."

The plans for a Pounds 1.6 million recruitment drive aimed at mid-career industry and business workers make me furious, especially when it is so obvious that schools cannot afford the wages they should be paid. A scale 2 post with my current minimal living costs (remember, I have been surviving as a student), rent and rates, leaves me, a single parent, worse off than when on income support. And I am one of many. No matter how well educated, it seems there is no escaping the poverty trap once ensnared.

If trading standards were applied to college recruitment interviews of mature students, many colleges would now be facing hefty lawsuits for misrepresentation of the facts.

I shall remain anonymous because I still want to teach.

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