Know the facts

11th January 2008 at 00:00
Sara Bubb on getting off to a flying start with your induction.

How is induction helping you? I say that because I'm continually amazed at the misunderstandings that abound among new teachers, schools and local authorities - even though the rules have been in place for seven years.

The most worrying surround what happens if new teachers in England fail their induction year. People think that those who fail get another chance, are given an extension, or don't get qualified teacher status. And they think it only happens if a new teacher does something really awful. But no. Some teachers fail for relatively small crimes, such as being a bit below par at schools with very high expectations.

So listen up. People who fail induction in England are never, ever allowed to teach again in maintained schools or non-maintained special schools: they cannot retake it. The General Teaching Council hears appeals, but the process is complex and harrowing. Extensions are only allowed in special cases. But qualified teacher status isn't taken away. It's like a GCSE and anyone who has passed their initial teacher training has it forever.

So know your rights. While you're on induction your job shouldn't make "unreasonable demands". You shouldn't have to deal with exceptionally difficult kids, teach subjects or age groups that you haven't been trained for, or take on a management role. Headteachers are contractually obliged to give you a 10 per cent lighter timetable - on top of preparation and assessment (PPA) time. This is for your professional development.

Someone on the staff should act as your induction tutor. You should draw up a programme of support, monitoring and assessment and be observed at least every six to eight weeks. Teachers fought for these entitlements - make the most of them. See www.teachernet.gov.ukprofessionaldevelopmentnqtinductionguidance

Sara Bubb is an education consultant specialising in induction. Her Successful Induction for New Teachers is on sale now.

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