Fight to get work

3rd December 2004 at 00:00
With two young children and a shift-working husband, moving too far away from her Caerphilly home to get a teaching post is not an option for Tina Robinson.

Like hundreds of newly-qualified teachers in Wales, she is struggling to find work that will count towards the vital induction year.

"I found it hard even to find a job to apply for," says Mrs Robinson, a Year 3 teacher on induction at Birchgrove primary school in Cardiff. "Even now, I'm only on a three-month contract for maternity cover."

But she has reservations about guaranteeing NQTs an induction placement, as happens in Scotland. "I think it would be a good idea but it would have to differentiate between mature students like me, who have families, and young students with no ties who could relocate if need be," she says.

Figures from the General Teaching Council for Wales show that, up to October, nearly 70 per cent of primary teachers and more than 35 per cent of secondary teachers who qualified in Wales in 2003 had still not been able to complete their induction.

The figures come as no surprise to this year's final-year trainees and NQTs, but there are mixed feelings about calls for a guaranteed induction-year placement.

Tim Davies, a primary trainee at the University of Wales, Newport, says:

"I'm worried about getting a job. I see this qualified teacher status issue as another hurdle to overcome, with no guarantee of a job afterwards.

"Why not simply add a year to teacher-training courses just for induction? And why not have specific induction years for specialisms, like special educational needs?"

Fellow primary trainee, Zaharah Ally, says: "I know jobs here are hard to come by - our lecturers told us that. I find the whole business of induction a bit of a let-down after the commitment I've invested in my course.

"But I would move wherever necessary to gain QTS."

Such concerns are justified, if the experiences of this summer's NQTs are a guide. Adrian Thomas, a Carmarthen-based primary NQT who trained at University of Wales, Institute of Cardiff, has found it even harder, and has had no work apart from the occasional day of supply teaching.

He says: "I've approached maybe 30 schools in the Llanelli area alone and I have had not one reply. People who say male primary teachers can have their pick of the jobs are talking rubbish."

But he adds: "I think the guaranteed year is a brilliant idea but don't do us any favours, we don't expect an easy ride."

Jason Larkman, a secondary PE teacher on induction at Dyffryn school in Port Talbot, says: "It was hard to get this job. And I'm lucky - a college friend of mine has to commute to Gloucester."

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