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Where do I start?

Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

I did a PGCE in maths and have taught for one term in a state school. I resigned for personal reasons and am now working as a supply teacher. When do I receive my golden hello? Is it the end of my first teaching year or the end of my induction?

Neither, to be exact. You can only claim it in the term after you've successfully completed induction. As I'm sure you know, induction can be completed in periods of a term, so your first term should count. Do you have a copy of your assessment form and did it say that you were making satisfactory progress? Keep it safe. You now need to complete two more terms, which you can do on supply if the contract is for at least a term.

Otherwise you can only do short-term supply for four calendar terms starting from the first day's work before completing induction.

I'm an undergraduate with a place on a secondary design and technology PGCE course next year. Recently I downloaded (and passed) the practice key skills tests and would like to officially pass these as soon as possible so there is one less thing to worry about. How soon can I do this?

Wow, you are keen! But you'll have to wait until you've started on the PGCE course. You'll be given a seven-digit registration number and then you can crack on. When you register, you're asked for a whole heap of personal information: your place and date of birth, the name of your training provider and course, your gender and ethnic group, areas of specialism, when you expect to be recommended for the award of QTS, whether English is your first language and whether you require any special arrangements for the tests. If you have a disability such as dyslexia or a visual or hearing impairment, or if English isn't your first language, you can apply for 25 per cent additional time in which to complete the test. This is worth going for, but can only be done at the time of registering. Once you've registered, you will receive a user name and password via email to the address provided during registration within two working days. These are used to book the tests for literacy, numeracy and ICT.

The fact that you've passed the practice tests on the Teacher Training Agency's website bodes well and you will go into the test centre feeling confident and knowing what to expect. It's good to get them out of the way - doing a PGCE is hard work.

Are you a student or NQT? 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

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