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NQTs thrown a lifeline

Newly-qualified teachers in Wales could be given up to six years to complete induction.

The move was welcomed by classroom unions worried about NQTs who have been unable to find teaching posts that count towards induction. But recruitment expert Professor John Howson said the plans make a complete mockery of the reasons for having an induction year.

At present, NQTs can undertake short-term supply work for up to four terms while looking for an induction post. After that, they can apply to carry on doing supply for another 12 months.

But Wales has too many new primary teachers and, with falling pupil rolls, not enough new posts. TES Cymru has reported extensively on the plight of NQTs who have struggled to find even short-term supply work.

Changes to the induction regulations, proposed by the Assembly government, would allow NQTs to work for up to five years as short-term supply teachers. They could then apply for a 12-month extension. In extreme circumstances further extensions could be granted by the Assembly.

The government's consultation paper says it expects most NQTs to have completed induction within five years. And it reiterates its commitment to induction as a way of proving that NQTs have "the necessary skills and competence to teach" and of providing a foundation for development.

Professor Howson, of Education Data Services, said the only justification for the time extension was "to get the Assembly off the hook because they have trained too many people".

But Heledd Hayes, the National Union of Teachers Cymru's education officer, said: "This year we have a large number of NQT members who can't get permanent posts. In a few years' time we will need them, when retirements of experienced teachers catch up." consultations close on April 15

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