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NQT wins reprieve on induction year

A newly-qualified teacher who failed his induction year after receiving inadequate and unsuitable support from his school has had his appeal against the decision upheld.

England's General Teaching Council gave Christopher Richardson, formerly an ICT teacher at Ferndown upper school, in Dorset, another year to complete his induction.

Dorset county council originally gave Mr Richardson, who is now working as a civil servant on computer networks, a two-term extension on top of his induction year after finding the circumstances of his training were not ideal.

He told a GTC appeals committee this week that in his initial year, 2002-03, the school failed in its duty of care to him by not providing appropriate guidance.

Mr Richardson said he was not given a job description and that Jeremy Baines, head of the ICT department and his induction tutor, gave him no formal reviews or assessments in his first term.

He said the only formal review he received came from Ofsted and that it was favourable, and he was not told that he was failing until May, in the third term of his induction. His problems managing pupils, he said, were the result of poor support and curriculum planning which affected his ability to control his classes.

Mr Richardson said that even in the fourth term he was still not getting the specialist help he needed, and that despite the provision of a teaching assistant and additional support, including guidance from an advanced skills teacher and other staff, problems persisted with his teaching skills.

He said that by the fifth term relations had deteriorated to the point at which Mr Baines would avoid him.

During one classroom observation, he said, Mr Baines spent the time preparing a PowerPoint presentation for a meeting.

Other members of staff at the 1,300-pupil school realised that he was failing and began to offer a range of informal support.

Mr Richardson told the appeals committee he believed he was meeting the induction standards but the school had written him off.

The committee concluded that Mr Richardson had failed to meet the required standard, but awarded him a three-term extension. It said the school had not provided him with a programme of review and support that was appropriate to his needs.

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