But newcomers definitely want in

STATE OF THE PROFESSION 2006-07: * Family comes first for female staff who are postponing their promotion bids l Teachers are retiring early * No one wants to be a headteacher * But new teachers are more confident than ever

Amid the doom and gloom that surrounds most of this week's education survey findings, one section of the workforce appears refreshly upbeat: newly qualified teachers.

A poll of more than 14,000 NQTs suggests they feel happier with their training and more confident about their ability to handle poor behaviour than ever before.

The proportion saying they have had good or very good instruction in maintaining discipline in the classroom has risen from 59 to 68 per cent between 2003 and this year.

In the same period, the numbers saying that they feel prepared to use different teaching methods has increased from 76 to 81 per cent.

The proportion saying they feel well-prepared to teach pupils with special needs or from ethnic minorities has also risen, although less than half could agree.

Michael Day, TDA executive director for initial teacher training, said the findings would be used to help training institutions improve their courses.

"These results amount to a steady improvement across the vast majority of issues examined," he said. "They show future teachers can be confident that their initial teacher training will give them the skills and knowledge they need to be effective from their first day in their own classroom."

Among the new teachers taking their first official lessons with confidence this week was Therese Crook, a maths teacher at Costessey high in Norwich.

Mrs Crook, aged 48, previously worked as an army officer, an emergency planner and then a care worker trainer before doing a postgraduate teaching course at the University of East Anglia.

"I think everyone gets those moments when you wonder whether going into teaching is the right thing, but now I'm in a school it feels right and everyone is supportive," she said.

"It's when you're in a classroom that you realise how much you have learned - at university and on the teaching placement. I already feel I'm building up a rapport with pupils and hope to stick it out in the profession."

A small scale survey by the Teacher Support Network, a telephone helpline, suggest 86 per cent of new teachers feel prepared for their first year, 83 per cent said they were looking forward to working with pupils.


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