Schools fail to make sure that support is readily available

THE General Teaching Council's survey suggested that, even for probationers who do enjoy a relatively stable introduction to teaching, the quality of support varies considerably.

Six out of 10 said that their induction was "good" but this could amount to simply being handed policy statements.

Eight out of 10 probationers said there was a designated person in the school to whom they could look for support, but this did not necessarily mean they received any help from the teacher concerned.

Some 28 per cent of primary probationers and 42 per cent of those in secondary schools reported that there was designated support, although a previous study which recordd similar figures found that a much greater proportion of heads (96 per cent in primary and 42 per cent in secondary) in exactly the same schools believed there was such support.

The survey also identified problems with schools providing feedback on how probationers were progressing: 58 per cent had 'sometimes' or 'never' received any. Ms Purdon said it was "worrying" that only 35 per cent said they had been told when or how they were to be assessed.

Some probationers believe assessment is no more than observation, she said. The best arrangement is where there is a whole-school policy on assessment and feedback that does not single out probationers.

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