Nerve-racking first term;Letter

9th April 1999 at 01:00
AS A newly-qualified teacher who took a post in a special measures school, I would like to offer an opinion on the draft guidelines for NQT induction outlined in The TES (March 29).

Within my first nerve-racking term, I had not only been repeatedly monitored by my headteacher but by an LEA inspector and two Office for Standards in Education inspectors. I also had to take responsibility for the detailed planning of a supply teacher during the OFSTED visit.

I reflect on those first 12 weeks with amazement and disbelief. I faced intense scrutiny of my teaching before I had even found where all the resources were stored.

I am in close contact with many friends from my student days who gasp with horror and sympathy when they hear my stories. They have not experienced monitoring of any kind, by their headteacher or anyone else.

A few express concern that they are isolated and could be doing anything in their classrooms and nobody would even know, let alone care. Too much freedom can be a dangerous thing, especially after the hand-holding some trainee teachers experience.

As trainees, we have to accept that our teaching will be open to constructive criticism. Why should this stop in the first year of our career? I would argue that schools in special measures - mine no longer is - can offer comprehensive support and up-to-date advice for any teacher seeking to improve upon their professional performance. Therefore, I believe it should be left to the governors and heads to decide whether it is appropriate to employ an NQT.

Sarah Coggan

Huntington CP School

Stafford Road, Cannock

Staffordshire

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