Don't panic

14th January 2011 at 00:00
Every year, TES NQT expert James Williams offers advice on the TES forums to new teachers worried about failing their induction period. Here he sets the record straight on what can and can't, and what should and shouldn't, happen

Induction can make or break an NQT, yet many don't read the statutory guidance and some schools get the induction year support and assessment wrong, causing the NQT undue stress and worry. Induction confirms that the standards achieved during training are being maintained and that you, the new teacher, can meet additional "on the job" standards. Together these create the core standards every teacher must meet.

More than 29,000 NQTs embark on induction each year and 98 per cent pass without problems. A fail means that, although you keep QTS, you are removed from the register of teachers allowed to work in state schools. This doesn't prevent you from taking a job in a private school, but a failed induction won't appeal to a future employer. In 200910, 15 NQTs failed induction and a further 103 were granted an extension, but some choose to resign from their post before a fail is recorded. If you run into difficulties during induction, seek advice from your union and don't resign. Although resigning is sometimes the best option (not all schools suit all teachers), very often, with help and support, a shaky start can be overcome.

The minimum time that counts for induction is one school term, full- or part-time. Who the employer is - a school, local authority or supply agency - doesn't matter. If a job comes up that lasts a term in a state school or an academy, by law you must be registered for induction with an appropriate body - usually the local authority (LA). How long it takes to complete induction depends on the job. For example, if you are employed part-time for two-and-a-half days a week, induction takes two years. If you're employed by two or more schools it can all count towards induction, but one headteacher must take responsibility for the process.

Although you can undertake daily supply work, this is limited to 16 months from the first supply day. Even if you only do one day of supply, after 16 calendar months you must obtain an induction post or seek an extension from the LA, which can grant up to a further 12 months of supply teaching. After that, if you haven't started induction, you can't be employed as a teacher in a state school unless the job qualifies for induction.

Some schools mistakenly believe induction can only start at the beginning of a term. It can, and should, start on the day you start working at the school. Induction can be completed in a private school or, if certain arrangements are made, an FE college (see feature on page 34). Private schools run induction with the support of a local authority or through the Independent Schools Council Teacher Induction Panel (see feature on page 12 for more information).

It is important you meet your induction tutor early to formulate a programme that meets your needs. Observations should be planned in advance with an agreement on how they will be conducted, when feedback is given and the nature of any targets set, ie that the targets relate to the standards, are time-related and have clear success criteria attached to them.

It can be tempting to think of the observations as the be-all and end-all of induction. The induction year, and whether you meet the induction standards, should be seen holistically. Evidence for passing shouldn't just come from lesson observations. It should take into account the full range of work, from short- to long-term planning, feedback to pupils and parents, work with others in the school and, most importantly, evidence of day-to-day teaching.

It's a good idea for you to keep a portfolio of evidence: examples of good lessons and plans, copies of good work from pupils, perhaps formative assessment comments made on pupils' work. Evidence of teamwork - minutes of meetings, notes of contributions to team projects and evidence of reporting to parents - are good items to include. Details of courses attended and copies of assessment reports should also be kept. What you won't have time to do is compile a large evidence file. A slim file, with evidence against the various core standards, can be useful in the induction tutor meetings and at the formal assessment points. A good induction programme should also provide access to a wide range of development opportunities (in-house or commercial Inset) and the chance to observe other teachers.

James Williams is a lecturer in science education at the University of Sussex school of education and social work


- Induction lasts three terms (a minimum of 195 days).

- NQTs have a legal entitlement to a 10 per cent timetable reduction (plus 10 per cent PPA time).

- NQTs should have a named contact person within the local authority or ISCtip, to whom they can talk about induction or any problems.

- There are three formal assessment points (usually at the end of each term) where progress towards meeting the standards is discussed.

- Lack of progress must be identified as early as possible and a specific support plan put in place. The NQT must be provided with help and support from the school andor the local authority.

- The terms are neither passed nor failed, merely completed.

- A report - which provides space for the NQT to comment - must be forwarded to the local authority (or ISCtip) at the end of each assessment period.

- At the end of term three the NQT's headteacher makes a pass or fail recommendation.

- If the recommendation is a fail, the NQT has a right of appeal and may be granted an extension.

- NQTs must be supported by an induction mentor.

- The induction programme should support NQTs with activities specifically targeted to meet their development needs.

- NQTs should not be timetabled with classes or individual pupils who are known to be very challenging and who even experienced teachers find difficult to manage.


Ten myths not to be believed

- Each term is assessed as either a pass or fail.

- You can only start induction in September (or at the start of a term).

- Schools are not obliged to provide the 10 per cent reduction in teaching time.

- Induction must be started within five years of qualifying.

- If you fail induction, your QTS is removed.

- Induction can only be completed in a state or state-maintained secondary school.

- Induction can't be completed in a special school.

- Induction can't be completed if you are employed through a supply agency.

- NQTs can only be paid M1 on the pay scale (see page 24 for more on salary).

- If you are 'failing' in term one your only option is to resign and start induction again elsewhere.


- Meet early with your induction tutor and plan out the year to pencil in the various observation and assessment points.

- Establish your training needs based on your career entry and development profile (CEDP).

- Discuss how training needs can best be met, eg commercial courses, local authority or in-house training sessions.

- Compile a brief portfolio of evidence to support your induction.


Statutory Guidance on Induction: http:bit.lyinductstatguide

TDA advice and guidance:

GTCE NQT guidance:

TES NQT forum help:

TES New Teachers website:

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