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Your job and career questions answered

Old but not useless

Is there an upper age limit for teachers? I was told by a recruitment agency that it is 65. I have applied for a few jobs and have not been told of any restriction. Am I wasting my time or can I still teach in the UK? I am 70 going on 50.

There is no upper age - you just need to find someone to employ you. Until a few years ago, most teachers expected to have left the profession by their 60th birthday. However, a few have worked on well past normal retirement age. After all, up to the mid-1980s, 65 was regarded as the normal retirement age. The fact that you don't appear to have a job may cause problems. A school may be willing to allow someone who is already working to continue but be less willing to take on someone of your age with all the problems you would face in starting a new job. If you can't find a post in a school, have you considered tutoring or working as a volunteer with adult literacy projects?

Where the art is

I live in north Yorkshire, near the County Durham border and about an hour's drive from Cumbria. I have completed a returning to secondary teaching course but have seen very few jobs for art teachers advertised in this area. Will there be a problem finding a job here? There seem to be plenty of art teaching jobs in the South, but my family is here.

Ask yourself how many secondary schools there are within an hour's journey of where you live. My guess is about 100. If each has an average of three art teachers, that's 300. How many of those might leave each year? That gives you an idea of how many jobs you might expect to see advertised in a school year. Turnover in rural schools is often lower than in urban ones as teachers become members of the community. Send a copy of your CV to schools in your area. And perhaps the tutor on your return-to- teaching course could advise you.

In search of status

I am looking for a school to employ me as an unqualified teacher so I can undertake the registered teacher programme and get qualified teacher status. But I'm finding it tough. Can you help?

You don't say which subject you have studied for two years in higher education. Schools are now being offered more PGCE students who are the products of the Teacher Training Agency's recruitment drive and may be unwilling to take on someone they have to train if they can recruit a ready-trained student. Check that your CV highlights everything that would be of interest to a school. Or contact the Open University or a local higher education institution to find out if you can convert your qualification into a degree. This would offer you a much wider range of training routes into teaching - full and part-time.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email

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