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Probationers feel left out of school life

Probationer teachers who are shunted from school to school often feel outcasts and undervalued, researchers from Moray House Institute have found.

A study for the General Teaching Council shows that 15 per cent of primary and 12 per cent of secondary teachers gaining full registration in 1995-96 had been in six or more schools. Many experienced a wide variety of appointments but two-thirds had permanent contracts by the end of their probationary period. There was an element of "creeping permanence" in their employment.

Teachers said supply work helped to build their bank of experience but they did not feel part of the school.

Researchers found that supply staff regretted not having a classroom of their own, were unable to plan for the long term and see pupils progress, and felt a lack of involvement beyond the classroom. There was little or no induction in schools and they tended to play safe in their teaching. Formal or informal support and feedback were lacking.

The research team of Janet Draper, Helen Fraser, Anna Raab and Warwick Taylor say that there are difficulties in assessing the competence of probationers since they are often not long in one school. They conclude that supply teaching provides little or no continuity of teaching experience, no long-term planning and no chance to integrate with staff.

One teacher said: "I am frankly not interested in the long-term progress of the pupils."

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