Avoid this risk at all costs

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
Advice for teachers in their early career

You do know what happens if you fail induction? Even though the rule has been around since 1999, there are still sharp intakes of breath when I remind people that those who fail induction in England are never allowed to teach in maintained or non-maintained special schools again. You can't retake induction.

This consequence of not doing well in your first year seems more draconian when you see what happens to teachers who have done awful things and been up against disciplinary panels at the General Teaching Council. For example, a teacher* who was arrested for "being in possession of heroin with intent to supply", and failed to tell her school about it, only has a prohibition order for four years.

Now, the chance of you being one of the small number who fail induction is remote, but it's a risk you must avoid. It may not seem like two minutes since the last assessment form was done, but the next one has to be sent off to the local authority before the end of term.

This second assessment is important. It's the last time someone will write about your performance in depth because the third assessment form only needs signatures if you meet the standards. There's no end of induction year report in England and Wales, and another example of where Scotland has a better system: new teachers there have written reports at the end of terms 1 and 3, and a brief one in term 2.

As on the first term's report, your headteacher has to say that your "progress indicates that you will or won't be able to meet the requirements for the satisfactory completion of the induction period". This is still just a warning, in that it's the decision at the end of the year that matters, but while it wasn't the end of the world to not be making satisfactory progress in the first term, if that judgment is made now you have every reason to panic. It doesn't bode well.

In theory, you should be able to pull things together in the remaining third term, and your school should move heaven and earth to help you. In practice, problems are hard to turn around. If you're in this position, seek advice, especially from your union. You might want to leave the school and complete your third term at another time and place. With lessons learned, a fresh start may be what you need.


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