1 per cent new staff may fail first year

LESS than 1 per cent of newly-qualified teachers are expected to fail their induction year, according to the Department for Education and Employment.

The new-style probation year was introduced by the Government last September.

New staff have the right to a reduced timetable, a mentor and an action plan. Their work is observed and assessed and any teacher who fails the induction period is forced to leave the profession and cannot reapply.

About 20,000 new teachers are coming to the end of the year. The department is expecting between 100 and 150 to fail, based on estimates made by a sample of education authority induction co-ordinators. Failed teachers will have the right to appeal.

A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, published in March, found hat 80 per cent of the 456 newly-qualified teachers questioned were happy with the support from schools.

Five of the teachers surveyed said they had received an "unsatisfactory" grading after their first term and were on course for failure. Anecdotal evidence suggested most would have dropped out before the end of the year.

A spokeswoman for the association said it had received about 10 enquiries during the year from worried NQTs.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said the union expected few to fail because the induction year was designed to provide support and weed out unsuitable candidates.

The responsibility for hearing appeals will pass to the General Teaching Council next year.

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