We wish to endorse the points made by Mike Fielding in "Make the most of your mentor" (TES, October 28).
He is right to emphasise the importance of school-based induction and the crucial role that the mentor plays in providing support and facilitating the professional development of newly qualified teachers. We would suggest, however, that in many local education authorities the induction programmes are more than "get-togethers where you can meet NQTs from other schools and share experiences".
For example, in Enfield both primary and secondary NQTs have paid release to allow them to attend half-day central induction sessions of their choice from a programme of subject-specific and general topics. This LEA programme complements the school-based support. The sessions provide a structure to help NQTs to reflect on their practice and establish links between their previous experiences as a student teacher and being a professional with full responsibilities. Working with people from a range of institutions and with members of the advice and development team enables NQTs to extend and develop their understanding and skills.
In addition, the visits from LEA personnel are highly rated by NQTs (as shown in Earley and Kinder's research) as a valuable additional source of feedback.
Locally, we also support teachers in their second year as they have traditionally been neglected and lacked opportunities for development.
We feel we have a responsibility as an LEA to help induct new teachers into the profession rather than just into the culture of one school.
Enfield Professional Development Centre
Kimberley Gardens, Enfield