Just stick to the rules

30th January 2004 at 00:00
Although only one in 500 people fail induction, others jump or are pushed before the end of their first year. Andrew Walters' experience illustrates how important it is for everyone to stick to the induction rules.

The school clearly did not comply with the induction guidance. Giving Mr Walters an unfair share of low sets and asking him to teach maths when he is a science teacher are "unreasonable demands" that government guidance protects new teachers from. He should have been given clear targeted support to help him manage pupils in the first term and then more when necessary.

Is it wise for a school to employ 15-20 newly-qualified teachers? I've heard of fresh blood, but this sounds like a transfusion.

Although I feel for him, Mr Walters is not blameless. NQTs should know the induction rules and make sure they get what they are entitled to, although it is a damning indictment of our profession that NQTs cannot trust people to treat them fairly.

It seems as though the local authority did not ensure that the school carried out induction properly. It is meant to monitor the quality of induction provision, assessment reports and NQTs' teaching performance. But LEAs have limited powers and resources to do this and not all even try.

Only the bravest adviser would challenge a head's decision over "just" a new teacher.

Induction was introduced in 1999 to help teachers, so why on earth is there legislation that says that NQTs who do not meet the standards within three terms are forevermore barred from teaching in the maintained sector? It is a draconian, threatening and completely unnecessary punishment. Ironically, no such thing can happen to unqualified teachers.

Those who do not have a perfect first year, or who choose the wrong school, may as well not have trained.

*www.teachernet.gov.ukprofessionaldevelopmentopportunitiesnqtinductiong uidance. Sara Bubb trains induction tutors at the Institute of Education, London, and in LEAs and schools in England and Wales

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