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Landed with the worst class in the school? Not happy about your teaching practice? Tell Sara Bubb, our agony aunt for NQTs and students.

Does every PGCE English secondary student have to complete a week in a primary school before starting their PGCE course?

I'm not sure that it is a requirement of every course but I do know that many institutions like students to start getting to grips with education by spending time in a primary.

Some build it into the course, requiring particular things to be observed and written about. Others have a less structured approach, relying on students noticing the teaching and learning that occurs. Seeing young children learn to read and write will certainly give you a firm foundation on which to base your teaching of English, and it will set the national curriculum and literacy straegy in context.

Do the conditions that apply to NQTs in schools also apply to sixth-form colleges?

NQTs cannot complete the statutory induction period in a sixth-form college at present, although many colleges offer good induction-like support.

However, the Learning and Skills Bill going through Parliament at the moment proposes to extend induction to sixth-form colleges. If the Bill is passed, this will mean that from this September, NQTs will be entitled to a support programme which includes a 10 per cent timetable reduction. For more information, contact the induction teams at the DfEE and the Teacher Training Agency.

E-mail your questions to: friday@tes.co.uk. Sara Bubb runs induction courses in Lambeth, Lewisham and at the Institute of Education. She cannot enter into personal correspondence


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