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Where do I stand on tax?

However well prepared you are, there are bound to be problems in the first year of your teaching career. Whatever it is that's keeping you awake at night or sobbing on the school secretary's shoulder, our experts can lend a hand

Q: All I earned last year was pound;6,000 from the PGCE bursary. Does this mean I'll be tax-free for a longer period than usual?

A: According to the Teacher Training Agency, eligible students in postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) are entitled to a tax-free bursary while they train. For most, this is the equivalent of pound;150 a week (or pound;6,000 over the course), but for those taking secondary maths or science courses from August 2005, the bursary will be pound;7,000, or about pound;175 a week.

This money is tax-free and you don't have to pay national insurance either.

The tax year runs from April to March, so your bursary was paid in two separate tax years. This will probably matter only if you started your PGCE after you'd worked for a while, rather than joining a course straight from university. If you started work in in September this year, you will receive approximately seven-twelfths of your annual salary in the current tax year.

But you are still entitled to the full personal allowance. That means you will be taxed at a reduced rate until the end of the current tax year in April 2005. After that, you will be taxed at the normal rate.

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