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Taking on more than they should

More than two-fifths of newly qualified teachers are being asked to cover classes in a colleague's absence, something they are not supposed to do, claims a MORI study.

And one in 10 has not had their time-tables reduced by 10 per cent, which is mandatory under the School Teachers Pay and Conditions document.

However, the recent study of 542 NQTs found that a majority were happy with the levels of support given by other staff, particularly their induction tutors.

The most frequently used adjective by newly qualified teachers about the atmosphere at their school was "friendly", by 92 per cent. Eight out of 10 described it as caring and 57 per cent as honest. More than one in 10 said it was "competitive", while 6 per cent described it as "intimidating", 4 per cent as "distrusting" and one 1 per cent as "hostile".

Nine out of 10 said they felt very, or fairly well supported in their role.

Only 6 per cent believed they were not.

Almost all - 99 per cent - have an induction tutor at their own school who supervises their induction programme, while 37 per cent meet their tutor at least once a week, and 26 per cent meet once every two weeks.

While 88 per cent believe the frequency of these meetings is just right, one in 10 would like to meet more regularly.

Patrick Nash, chief executive of the Teacher Support Network, which commissioned the study, and provides an information and support hotline for teachers, said: "We are not at all surprised at the findings. Many schools are under pressure and resort to using NQTs for tasks that should be carried out by more experience teachers.

"We have found from our callers that one of the biggest issues facing NQTs is workload. They may find it difficult to say no when asked to do additional work, or may not want to appear unenthusiastic.

"However, the most effective induction mentors will monitor a newly qualified teacher's workload to make sure they are not doing too much.

"It is in no one's interest to over-burden young teachers before they are experienced enough to cope. We know that many leave the profession within the first three years so it is vital to make sure they are properly supported in those crucial early years of their careers."

The study also took evidence from 709 induction tutors. More than seven out of 10 said their role with newly qualified teachers had significantly increased their workload, and 41 per cent said they did not have enough release time to fulfil all their responsibilities.

Four out of five NQTs wanted compulsory training for managing professional relationships.

Teachers needing help from the TSN about workload or any other issues, call 08000 562561, or www.teachersupport.info

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