Where do I start?

24th January 2003 at 00:00
I'm an NQT working as a supply teacher because I can't get a full-time job.

After interviews the feedback I generally get is that I am a "strong candidate" and should have no problem securing a post in the near future.

This is after I have been told that the post has been given to an "outstanding candidate" or someone with "more experience". At the last couple of interviews the posts went to candidates who were already teaching in the schools. How can I improve my prospects of finding a permanent teaching post?

You're not doing anything wrong; you just need to persevere. You're right to work as a supply. This will give you rich experiences to draw on in your interview, and is a great way of getting to know about jobs that are coming up. It also gets your name about. Now that you've had a few interviews you can see the type of questions that tend to come up. Note the questions you can remember being asked, then practise the perfect answer. Pepper your answers with real examples from your supply teaching to bring your responses to life. Come across as enthusiastic and keen to learn. That can more than make up for a lack of experience.

My daughter is in the final year of her BA in primary education. Is the pound;4,000 golden hello and the repayment of loans taken out with the Student Loan Company available to students like her or only for PGCE students in shortage subjects? She will have a student loan of approximately pound;15,500 to pay back.

I wrote to Tony Blair asking why the pound;6,000 training salary wasn't available to students. The reply I received stated that "this was not the most effective way to meet the Government's recruitment and retention objective". I think this is unfair.

Your daughter won't be entitled to the golden hello. That is only for people with PGCEs in shortage subjects. The repayment of student loans scheme is open to people from any route, but only for shortage subjects.

Primary teachers can get it only if they teach the shortage subject for more than half the week and to classes other than their own, though I do know someone who will get a pound;17,000 loan repaid. I doubt that your daughter would get it. I agree that it's unfair, and it won't help retain committed people with large debts. Complain to your MP, and encourage others to do so.

Are you a student or NQT? Email your questions to: susan.young@newsint.co.uk. Sara Bubb's A Newly Qualified Teacher's Manual: how to meet the induction standards is published by David Fulton, pound;16

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