Where do I start?

27th June 2003 at 01:00
Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

I did a PGCE in 199899, and started teaching in September 1999. I completed my first term, then had to take the spring term off through illness, but I did the summer term. I have induction assessment forms for two out of my three terms. Since then I have been at home, being a full-time mum. If I wanted to return to teaching would I have to redo my PGCE or the NQT year, or could I go straight into supply?

You just have to complete one more term on induction - you don't need to redo anything. You could do this part-time, but it would have to be the equivalent of a term so it might take two terms. If more than five years elapses between your induction terms, the LEA can arrange an extension at the outset so you don't feel under pressure to meet the standards in just one term when you're rusty and in a new school. Once you get your PGCE qualification, you have it for life.

As for supply, you can do short-term work for four terms, but the clock starts ticking from your first day's work. Some people do supply in the June and July after their PGCE, but the four-term rule counts only when you have qualified teacher status. Check the official date on your certificate from the Department for Education and Skills. If you did a day in, say, September 2001, your four terms would have elapsed in January 2003. If you haven't done any supply, your four terms will start on the first day of work.

Do Inset days and other training courses count towards NQT non-contact time?

No, and yes. As an NQT in England, you're expected only to work 90 per cent of what other teachers in your school do. Inset days and other courses that all teachers have to attend (such as compulsory Sats preparation) should not be counted within your 10 per cent timetable reduction. Courses you go on because you're an NQT obviously should come out of your reduced timetable. This would include induction programmes and other courses you go on to help you be a better teacher and meet the standards for the completion of induction.

I don't think you should call your reduced timetable non-contact time, but rather induction time because it is meant to be for your professional development. You should be spending it getting to be as good a teacher as you can be. Time is a precious resource so use it wisely.

Email your questions to susan.young@ newsint.co.uk. Sara Bubb's The Insider's Guide for New Teachers is published by TESKogan Page in July (pound;12.99). TES readers can order a copy at the special price of pound;9.99 by calling 0870 4448633 or going to www.tes.co.ukbookshop

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