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Advice for teachers in their early career

Those of you who started teaching in September will need your second induction assessment form filled in before the end of term. This is important as it's the last time that someone will write about your performance in depth. It's a shame that you don't get an end of induction report in England and Wales - but you do in Scotland.

Your headteacher has to state whether your progress indicates that you will or won't be able to meet the requirements for satisfactory completion. It wasn't the end of the world if you were not making satisfactory progress in the first term, but if that judgment is made now, you have every reason to panic because it doesn't bode well for the crucial end of the third term decision about whether you stay in the profession.

Most of the forms that I've seen are well written and give a clear picture of how the new teacher is doing against the standards. Occasionally, what's written bears little resemblance to reality. I've seen some howlers: ones that are written on the old forms (see below), and on the new forms referring to old standards (the new standards took effect in September last year), or reports that waffle on about how nice the teacher is.

Embarrassingly, I've read reports with many typographical and spelling mistakes and misplaced apostrophes, such as "behond", "extremily","differenciation", "appropriatily", and "effectivily". A few sentences are so ungrammatical that they could be misinterpreted.

It's enough to make me want to return them covered in red pen and with a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves! (a book by Lynne Truss about poor punctuation). Use the spell checker. One school with a bumper crop of NQTs has mass produced assessments. In most the author remembered to change the pronouns, though Jane wasn't pleased when she read that "his" control was good!

Make sure your report is accurate and clear and check that your local education authority receives it - one head waited until February to post a form he wrote before Christmas!

The correct form for NQT induction is at www.teachernet.gov.ukdocbankindex.cfm?id=5169

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