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Where do I start?

Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

Is it wrong for an NQT to go on a course called Leading the Mathematics Team? My head has recommended I go on it, but my head of department says I shouldn't.

The title of the course suggests it is aimed at heads of department or at least people who are second in command. It doesn't sound appropriate for a newly qualified teacher such as you. You really need to concentrate on passing induction and being effective in the classroom and not get sidetracked into leadership or management roles.

Maybe the head is playing a little game here, getting at the HoD about his or her leadership qualities. You don't want to be a pawn in someone else's game or risk upsetting your HoD. I 'm sure the course will be useful, but you have your whole career in which to develop professionally. Don't feel you need to cram everything into this year. Similarly, don't be too eager to seek or accept promotion; the stress isn't worth it. Take your time and get there at your own pace, when you feel ready.

I don't understand how the recruitment and retention allowance is paid.

Mine is permanent. Does this mean I receive a payment each year? If so, does it increase?

Yes, you will get your recruitment and retention allowance added to your salary while you work at that school but you'll lose it if you move, unless the new place offers it too. These allowances are used as incentives for schools that have difficulty recruiting and keeping staff. There are five levels of allowance, from pound;1,002 to pound;5,415. You'll probably have one Ramp;R point, which means you have pound;1,002 (or pound;975 pre-April 2003) added to your annual salary.

The Ramp;R amount won't change unless your school gives you more Ramp;R points.

But you will go up a salary point each year. Thus, if you start on M1 you'll get pound;18,105 plus the pound;1,002 Ramp;R, which will give you a salary of pound;19,107. After a year you'll be on M2, so you'll get pound;19,536 plus the pound;1,002 Ramp;R - a salary of pound;20,538.

One Ramp;R allowance will give you an extra pound;83 a month, which after tax and pension will work out at roughly pound;50 extra in your pocket. So, quite nice but not mega-bucks - and you may think the money isn't worth the extra stress. Perhaps the school down the road that doesn't give Ramp;R points would be a happier place to work in, but it doesn't always work out like that. Make sure you choose the right school for you.

Are you a student or NQT? Email your questions to 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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