Where do I start?

16th May 2003 at 01:00
Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

I will finish a PGCE in maths in July and have accepted a job. How do I claim the additional pound;4,000 training grant?

The pound;4,000 isn't a training grant but a golden hello. The name suggests you'll get it when you start teaching, but it can be claimed only if you're working in an English or Welsh state school teaching maths in the term after you've passed induction. That'll be in about 18 months' time, so it 's not so much a hello as a thank you for staying.

You apply on the form issued when you originally claimed your training bursary from your initial teacher training provider, so keep it somewhere safe. If you lose it, ask your provider for another. The form has to be signed by the head or deputy head confirming that you are teaching maths and have successfully completed the induction period. Then send the form to the LEA, which will pay it with your salary.

The pound;4,000 is subject to tax and national insurance but isn't pensionable, so you'll get only about two-thirds of it in cash terms.

I am in my final placement on my primary PGCE course. I have a job for September, but Ofsted is inspecting my school before Christmas. Will I be assessed the same as other staff or will my NQT position be taken into consideration?

The quality of your teaching and the progress in learning it inspires will be judged in exactly the same way as for an experienced teacher - children have only one chance. It seems tough, but the good news is that most NQTs get good grades from Ofsted.

You've nothing to lose. If you're identified as good by the inspectors, it will give your career and status a boost, but if things don't go well everyone will be understanding and say it's because you're new. You will be used to being observed (more so than the more experienced staff), and you can't be blamed for any of the weaknesses that may be found in the school.

Your teaching methods are bang up to date. So believe in yourself - others clearly do. The school liked you enough to offer you a job knowing it has an impending inspection. That's a huge vote of confidence, so go for it.

Make sure you get the support you need and are entitled to before and after the inspection. I've known NQTs to be neglected because everyone is so busy before an inspection and burned out afterwards.

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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