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Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

Do NQTs have to take up an induction post after four terms of supply teaching? In other words, must the fifth term include an induction programme to prevent them having to return to college?

No. NQTs must be registered as doing their induction period as soon as they are working in a school on a regular timetable for a term or more.

There is a set limit to the amount of short-term supply teaching they can do without having completed an induction period: no more than one year and a term can be worked on engagements of less than one term. This period begins when the NQT takes up his or her first placement as a short-term supply teacher, and is measured in calendar terms from that point, rather than an aggregation of placements.

If a supply teacher is empoyed for a term or more, he or she must be serving or have completed an induction period. If the engagement starts as a short-term placement, and only later is agreed to last for a period of a term or more, only the period after that agreement will form part of an induction period.

The head is responsible for ensuring that there is a monitoring, support and assessment programme from that point. NQTs will never have to "return to college" in the sense that you mean. Once gained, you have QTS until the day you die. However, if you don't complete the induction period successfully you cannot teach in the maintained sector or non-maintained special schools.

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