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Time to move?

If necessary, bail out before failing induction, advises Sara Bubb

What's special about February 29? As well as marking a leap year, it's the day after the February 28 deadline for resignations - the last chance to leave before the end of the school year.

For the majority of teachers employed under England's Burgundy Book of pay and conditions, handing in your notice requires the headteacher and chair of governors to receive by February 28 a formal dated letter from your home address.

Most teachers want to be in their school for the glorious summer term. But if you're making little progress towards meeting the core standards it's worth thinking about leaving so you can finish your induction year at another time and place.

What you must not risk is failing induction. People who fail induction in England and Wales are never allowed to teach in maintained schools or non-maintained special schools. You can't retake induction, nor can you redo qualified teacher status (QTS) because it isn't taken away. You can call yourself a teacher and work in an independent school or as a private tutor.

In Scotland, new teachers have to complete probation and meet the standard for full registration. Teachers whose probation is cancelled are prevented from teaching for three years.

If you fail induction in England and Wales, you can appeal against the decision. Of the eight appeals heard by the General Teaching Council last year, six were dismissed and two had their induction period extended.

The good news is that the failure rate is tiny. Last year, 26,957 people passed induction in England and only 38 failed. In Wales, 1,219 passed induction and one person failed. In Scotland, in 2005-06, 2,905 passed probation, 57 had it extended and nine failed

Sara Bubb is an educational consultant specialising in induction.

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