Schools failing new teachers

29th October 1999 at 01:00
Early reports suggest many new teachers this year are not getting the induction support and free time they are entitled to.

A survey of 43 newly qualified teachers on an induction training course at the University of London Institute of Education found that 86 per cent loved the job, which was just as well: more than half did not have a reduced teaching timetable and many were missing out on the mentoring and support schools are required to provide.

Although their schools had sent them on an induction course, by half term one in three had yet to be observed teaching or to watch another teacher in action. One in five had not had a single half-hour meeting with their induction tutor. Half had not yet had any opportunity to discuss their career entry profile.

The institute course tutor, Sarah Bubb, said the amount of support new teachers get is a lottery. "What amazed me was how few had seen the Department for Education and Employment and Teacher Training Agency documentation. They don't really understand what they are entitled to."

At Brunel University, west London, a course for induction tutors in September revealed that many were inadequately prepared. Some had even been wrongly allocated induction responsibility for new teachers in subjects in which they had no expertise.

"Those assessing and looking after NQTs must have the appropriate subject knowledge to be able to judge their performance," says James Williams, lecturer in science education at Brunel. "Headteachers are either not informed about their responsibilities or have a cavalier atitude to NQTs."

If you are not getting the induction you are entitled to, The TES would like to hear from you. Write in confidence to Bob Doe, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or email

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