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Newly-qualified teachers are better than ever

IT APPEARS the training and selection process for new teachers is improving in both primary and secondary schools.

A smaller percentage of newlyqualified teachers were seen teaching unsatisfactory or poor lessons this year compared with last year.

Indeed, in primaries, there was little difference between the percentage of unsatisfactory lessons taught by new teachers and more experienced teachers.

The higher percentage of unsatisfactory or poor lessons seen in secondary schools needs further investigation. It might be related to difficulties in recruiting the right staff for some subjects.

These figures raise the question of how many new teachers might fail their induction year.

It can be assumed that some new teachers inspected early in the school year, and judged poor at that point in time, might have improved enough to pass.

But, were thse judged "poor" when inspected in the summer term effectively regarded as failures? If so, what is the number of new teachers likely to fail the induction year this summer?

Even assuming that only 5 per cent of them fail, that will still represent around 1,000 teachers. Each will be entitled to an appeal before the new school year starts in September. Alternatively, if they decide to quit the profession there will be a need to replace them.

With those in training sitting the first of the new initial teacher training tests, filling vacancies could be an interesting experience for some schools this year.

Being in partnership with a good training provider may be worth the time and cost involved if it allows a school the first pick of good trainees.

John Howson is a visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University. E-mail:

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