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Starting out

Sara Bubb explains what you could and should expect as you start out in the classroom

You're going to have a great first year, but it'll be tough so use induction to help you make stacks of progress on the road to becoming a great teacher. Be warned, though: lots of new teachers don't get their full entitlement and feel awkward about asking for it. It's your professional duty, however, to develop into the best teacher you can be you'll be doing all your present and future pupils a favour if you do what you can to get your induction entitlement, in the most professional way of course.

For those who don't do well in their first year, the consequences are draconian: people who fail induction in England and Wales are never allowed to teach in maintained schools or non-maintained special schools again. Teachers whose probation is cancelled in Scotland are prevented from teaching for three years. Extensions are allowed only in special cases, such as being absent for more than 30 days, and these can only be awarded by the appropriate body the local authority or the Independent Schools Council Teacher Induction Panel.

The good news is that the failure rate is tiny. In the three years from 2003 to 2006, only 87 teachers have failed induction in England while 74,000 have passed. Mind you, others jump before they're pushed.

While you're on induction in England and Wales your job shouldn't make "unreasonable demands". You shouldn't have to deal with exceptionally difficult kids, teach subjects or age groups that you haven't been trained for, or take on a management role.

Headteachers are contractually obliged to give teachers on induction a 10 per cent lighter timetable than other class teachers in the school on top of PPA time. The reduced timetable shouldn't be used for catching up with planning or marking, but for your professional development. Someone on the staff should act as your induction tutor. This is an important role but people's understanding of what they have to do var ***

Sara Bubb's Successful Induction for New Teachers will be published by Paul Chapman in September

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