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NQTs cheated by their schools

Some new teachers put up with their training funds being plundered

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Some newly qualified teachers are cheated out of training because schools use cash dedicated for them elsewhere, experts claim.

Sara Bubb, an induction and NQT specialist at the Institute of Education in London, said fledgling teachers had complained training budgets were not used appropriately. She said they often put up with it because they felt lucky to have found a job.

Strict conditions govern the use of funding given to schools by the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) for NQTs.

"In Wales it is hard to get a job," said Ms Bubb. "Some new teachers put up with a less than perfect situation because it's a buyer's market."

Sue Lyle, principal lecturer at the Swansea School of Education, told TES Cymru that heads appeared to be fighting tight budgets by skimping on training.

"Some (schools) are swallowing the money into their budgets. Increasingly schools are saying we have got to do the training in-house because it's cheaper, but there might not be expertise."

Experts say new teachers must assert their training rights, despite tough competition for jobs.

Dr Phil Dixon, director of ATL Cymru, said some new teacher members had raised concerns.

"Training provision for NQTs is patchy and it can depend on the size of the school. Generally it's of good quality, but some heads are a bit maverick in the way they deal with budgets."

Research by Estyn, undertaken in 2007, revealed some small schools were disadvantaged by the way Early Professional Development (EPD) was distributed; schools must pay for early professional training up front and reclaim the money from the GTCW at the end of the year.

Schools in Wales receive Pounds 3,700 for NQTs on induction and Pounds 1,000 a year for the first two years of early professional development (EPD).

However, many are deploying better support for their NQTs, despite tightening budgets.

Ms Bubb warned new teachers to tread carefully before raising complaints. "Some new teachers think the money should be spent entirely on courses, without realising the money can also be used for cover," said Ms Bubb.

She advises NQTs should approach their induction tutor, followed by the head.

Sue Rivers, induction and EPD co-ordinator at Bedwas High School in Caerphilly, believes that putting NQTs in charge of their own training makes them better teachers. Funding for induction and EPD at Bedwas is strictly separate from the rest of the school's budget.

Another school demonstrating good practice is Ysgol Bryn Elian, in Conway. Mair Herbert, deputy head, said all new teachers at the school are fully involved in decisions about their funding.

Hayden Llewellyn, GTCW deputy chief executive, said the council's role was not to oversee the quality of provision using induction or EPD funding.

But he said: "If it became evident that funding was being misused we would take the matter very seriously and seek to recoup money used for purposes other than induction and EPD."

John Howson on finding a first post in Wales - pages 4-5

Leading article, page 40.

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