New teachers need our support

7th June 2013 at 01:00

Steve Pomery's article "Keep up your support for new teachers" (Professional, 17 May) will, I am sure, have chimed with all new teachers building their confidence and experience in the first few years in post. Those of us who are involved in the approaching churn of changes to initial teacher education (ITE) would argue that this was the area that should have been given some real focus if the UK government wished to improve the quality and retention of new teachers.

Busy teachers and senior leaders, as indicated by Mr Pomery's comments, need time and space to support their new colleagues, through the school's lesson observation policy and the peer support of their departmental workmates.

At a recent meeting of a group of science ITE tutors, several contributors came up independently with the notion of a five-year training programme, which involved suggestions for a variety of types of professional development and support during the four years in post after a one-year teacher training programme. This would ultimately lead to a full master's qualification and then fit the teacher training programmes used in those jurisdictions that are so publicly and persistently held up as models of good practice by the Department for Education. If many schools are not able to offer the sort of support Mr Pomery suggests for their new teachers, then how on earth are they going to deliver a high-quality training programme as envisaged by the School Direct training programme?

Caro Garrett, Chair, Association of Tutors in Science Education, Southampton Education School, University of Southampton.

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