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Agency under fire over poor training

Newly qualified teachers need better training to deal with disruptive pupils and pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds, a new survey shows.

Eight per cent felt that instruction on behaviour management at their teacher training institution had been poor. Twenty-eight per cent said it had been adequate, the study from the Teacher Training Agency revealed.

While recently qualified teachers felt better prepared to cope, only 57 per cent of teachers over the age of 35 felt that their training in this area had been good or very good, 70 per cent of those under 25 arrived at the same conclusion.

Female teachers also felt more confident dealing with poorly behaved pupils than their male counterparts.

The agency, now called the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) since September 1, said the study revealed there was "much room for improvement" in the way teachers were being trained.

NQTs also complained that their training courses did not adequately prepare them to deal with the needs of pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Twenty-two per cent believed they were poorly trained, with only 9 per cent saying their training in this area had been very good.

In particular, they did not feel confident about working with children whose first language was not English. Twenty-seven per cent felt that they had been poorly prepared to teach these pupils.

The agency concluded: "This remains one of the most important areas where performance falls behind expectations." More than 10,500 newly qualified teachers were questioned by the agency, almost a third of the newly qualified teachers who qualified in 2004.

The survey asked them to provide their views on the quality of their training, and how well it prepared them for their first training post.

Overall, 84 per cent said that it had been either good or very good, and 76 per cent were satisfied with the support and guidance they received.

New teachers also felt confident about the requirements of the job.

Almost eight out of 10 - 77 per cent - said they understood the national curriculum, and 71 per cent felt that they had the relevant knowledge and skills to teach their specialist subject.

But few felt as well-equipped to cope with the workplace environment. Only 45 per cent were confident about working with support staff in the classroom.

A further 29 per cent felt that they were poorly prepared to take on a leadership role in the school.

But Sara Bubb of London University's Institute of Education, said young teachers should not to feel overwhelmed by the demands of the job. "When new teachers set up their own classrooms, it's a massive task," she said.

"It's something they can never really be prepared for. Schools have to be ready to step in and support them.

"Lots of the problems new teachers have early on can be very easily sorted.

You learn through experience."

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