Where do I start?

Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs.

I've just completed a distance learning PGCE through an English university. I did my teaching practices in schools in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and work in a school in Saudi Arabia that follows the national curriculum. Is it possible to do an induction year outside the UK? What is the status of my PGCE and what must I do on return to the UK? I've been told I need to sit maths, English and ICT skills tests - can I take these while living outside the UK?

You can't do induction in Saudi Arabia. The only places outside the UK that use the same regulations are Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and a few armed forces schools. Even if your school teaches the national curriculum, it doesn't have an appropriate body to quality-assure and monitor its induction. LEAs and the independent schools council teacher induction panel take this role.

Although you have a PGCE from an English university, you do not have qualified teacher status here. You can teach in the UK without it, though you'd be paid at unqualified teacher rates. To get it you will have to pass the skills tests in numeracy, literacy and ICT. To do this you will need to get a seven-digit registration number from your university and book a test on www.canteach.gov.uk. They're taken online, but only at test centres in the UK. They're not too difficult if you have prepared for them and practised the tests on the website.

Once you've passed, inform your university and it will recommend you to the General Teaching Council for QTS. You can then start induction in the UK. This gives you a 10 per cent reduced timetable and an individualised programme of support.

I worked in further education between 1984 and 1986 and was given a DfEE number. Years later I trained as a French teacher. I've completed one term of my induction year but now been told that as I already had a DfEE number, I didn't need to do an induction year. Is this correct? I would welcome your advice - the NUT is unwilling to advise me as I no longer subscribe to it.

England's induction regulations apply only to people who got QTS after May 6, 1999. If you got it before then, the rules don't apply to you, though schools will look after you well as the NQT that you are. Unions will advise only their members. I strongly recommend you join one - for the legal protection, if nothing else.

Are you a student or NQT? Email your questions to susan.young@newsint.co.uk. Sara Bubb's A Newly Qualified Teachers' Manual: how to meet the induction standards is published by David Fulton, pound;15

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