Keeping up standards
This half-term is so short if you blink you'll miss it. Four weeks to fit in another observation of your teaching, have an assessment meeting, a report on you written and sent to the local education authority appropriate body.
Your induction tutor had better be organised.
Newly qualified teachers who see the assessment process positively like the way it gives a clear picture of how they're doing; it is morale boosting to have strengths and progress officially recorded; and assessment against nationwide standards seems fair and objective. For others, it's like the sword of Damocles hanging over them.
Whichever category you slot into, make sure this second assessment is done properly. This one is really important as it is the last time that someone will write about your performance in depth. The third assessment form only requires signatures if you meet the standards. I think that it is a shame that you don't get an end of year report in England and Wales, as you do in Scotland.
The form must be filled in before the end of term and sent to your local education authority. Check that it has been received - one headteacher only got round to posting the form he wrote at Christmas in February! Four NQTs at a primary school that prides itself on valuing staff and being efficient still hasn't written last term's forms because of some confusion about whether the head or the induction tutor should write it.
Most of the forms that I've seen recently are well written and give a good indication of how the new teacher is doing against the standards. But I've seen some howlers: ones are written on the old forms (the up-to-date form is available at http:www.teachernet.gov.ukdocbankindex.cfm?id=5169), refer to the old standards (the new ones took effect from September 2003), or just the six induction standards - or simply waffle on about how nice the teacher is. Help your induction tutor by writing notes about how you are meeting the standards either by annotating last term's report or jotting down evidence against the following headings:
* Professional values and practice;
* Knowledge and understanding;
* Teaching - this section is broken down into three parts, which are underpinned by the values and knowledge covered in the first two sections: planning, monitoring and assessment, teaching and class management.
Your headteacher must decide whether your progress indicates that you will or won't be able to meet the requirements for the satisfactory completion of the induction period. It really wasn't the end of the world not to be making satisfactory progress in the first term, but if that judgment is made now you have every reason to panic because it doesn't bode well for the crucial end of the third term decision about whether you keep your registration with the General Teaching Council and stay in the profession.
Make sure that you write a comment: that you agree with the assessment, or not. Remember that your headteacher and the LEA are responsible for induction so raise any issues. Be clear about what support you want and show your induction tutor that you are grateful for any advice, any praise - a thank you will go a long way!
Contracts Is your contract permanent? More than a third of newly qualified teachers are given temporary contracts, often for no good reason. This results in insecurity, inequality and low status. If you are on a one-year temporary contract, ask whether there is any chance of it being made permanent, and when this will happen?
Schools will know their budgets by April, but vacancies will only become clear after the resignation point at the end of May, so you should know by early June at the latest.
If you aren't told that your job will be made permanent or your temporary contract renewed, then I should start looking for other jobs. You need to do this quickly and publicly: quickly, so that you get one before they get snapped up by people finishing their training in the summer; and publicly so that your school knows you are serious about leaving - and realise is how indispensable you are!
* 'I asked whether my contract would be renewed but the head wasn't sure so I started job hunting and had an interview. Then the head asked me to stay, made it a permanent post and offered me promotion to foundation stage co-ordinator. Result!'
Reception class teacher
* 'One school with a bumper crop of NQTs appears to have mass-produced assessments. In most they remembered to change the pronouns, though Jane wasn't so pleased when she read that "his" control was good!'
LEA induction administrator