Where do I start?

Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs.

I have an NQT post as a maths teacher in a secondary school from September. My degree will be BA (Hons) QTS in primary education with maths, but I want to teach maths full-time. I've found out that because I am not a PGCE or a secondary school graduate I won't qualify for the golden hello. Surely this is discrimination? I am a mature student - this would help me pay off my student loans.

There are lots of issues here. The golden hello of pound;4,000 is given only to people whom the DfES is specifically trying to recruit and retain, such as graduates of shortage subjects who do a PGCE. With limited resources, it is understandable that it should want to target certain groups rather than give incentives to everyone, although it may feel unfair to you. If it's any compensation, they only get it in the term after they finish induction, and it's taxed. The good news is that there are plans to pay back student loans for those starting work in shortage subjects in September, so keep an eye out.

But I'm worried that you'll be taking on too much by going into secondary when you've trained for primary. This is a big leap, even on the amount of subject knowledge you'll need to teach confidently. It's risky to do it in your induction year as you'll have to meet all the QTS and induction standards. For most people, the former is no problem, but for you it will be, as your training experience will be so different from your work in secondary. Remember, if you fail to meet the standards after three terms you'll be de-registered from the GTC and never allowed to teach in the maintained sector again. So it's vital that you get good quality support and monitoring, especially from your head of department and people who appreciate what you're up against.

I completed my PGCE course in July 2001 but have been supply teaching and haven't started my NQT year yet. I have been offered a 0.6 teaching contract, initially for a term, starting in September. Will I be able to start my NQT year with this sort of contract?

Yes. As long as you are on a regular timetable for a term you should be on induction, even though you're part-time. The LEA will pay your school money for your induction. Part-timers can be neglected and exploited. Make sure you get the 10 per cent reduced timetable, which will be a couple of hours a week or about half a day a fortnight.

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

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