This applies right across your teaching training course and into your induction year – so it should be good….shouldn’t it?
There are many and varied ways to train to be a teacher – yet all should, in theory, prepare you to the same level of competence to enable you to begin your teaching career with confidence.
However a recent report has highlighted that those colleagues who follow the PGCE route into teaching seem to be at a disadvantage due to the amount and pace of work required to push everything into 1 year. This workload will be familiar to any colleagues reading who have followed this route – but worryingly it’s not the workload that is causing concern but the resultant knock on effect in a negative way, on the practical support and training that these students are receiving. In short many PGCE students do not feel that they are practically ready to start their teaching careers with confidence.
Now it’s not the remit of this article to look into the perceived failures of PGCE training. However if we broadly look at the picture we should expect to see that whatever training you receive it should equip you to both understand the practical requirements of teaching and also to have experience and support in applying these in the classroom. After all, its 1 thing to talk about this but quite another to actually do it!
As I have pointed out previously the NQT induction year is there for a purpose. There is a recognition that the transition from teacher training to actually being a teacher in school does need to be supported and managed. But the induction year is not meant to be a “training year” as such – no that is the purpose and role of the University, college and the variety of teacher training establishments. Rather the purpose of the induction year is to assist, support and advise colleagues as they practically pull together all the strands into their professional classroom practice.
Teacher training establishments therefore should be providing the foundations and initial practical building blocks upon which the “induction year” can build and cement. (don’t you just love construction analogies!)
The Induction year – The Induction tracker is a working document against which a newly qualified teacher and also their school can judge both achievements and progress as the year progresses. Once completed the records will give a detailed report of the teachers achievements across the induction year and also document any training and support as well as mentor input that was given. As a document that is “running in the background” to a colleagues day to day teaching, it reflects progress in real time and can identify and report on any areas where input or support are needed and subsequently the resultant outcomes of that support. The detail and dated aspects of the tracker are especially useful on review by both the teacher and also the school.
Support and training:- The nature of support and training falls into 2 categories.
- Support and training that occurs as either part of the teacher training course or during the induction year process. This will either be part of the course undertaken in the training establishment (or could involve some forms of training courses at placement schools) Or Induction year training courses which may either be school based or be part of ongoing induction support run for all NQTs by the Local Authority. It is recommended that ALL courses and dates are logged by colleagues as part of their developing CV.
- The second level of support that I am going to refer to occurs when an NQT is experiencing difficulties during their induction year and we will go into more detail on this below.
Induction Year support
It is imperative to an NQT that the school uses the Induction year standards document – this provides the basic attainment and assessment thresholds that need to be met during this time and is completed progressively by both the NQT and Mentor. It is also the basis from which any support programme is devised should an NQT be experiencing problems in any area. Schools and mentors MUST raise any problem as soon as possible to enable support to be introduced immediately and the following procedures should be followed. It is NOT acceptable for a problem to be left and then reported upon at the end of a term if that potential failure point has not been previously identified and supported. Procedures to be followed are shown below.
Induction year support :-
As you can see from the above, there is a very definite support process for colleagues who may be experiencing difficulties during the Induction year. However do remember that you are not expected to be “the finished article” at this time and the Induction year is designed specifically to enable your transition from training to classroom to be supported and guided – that’s why the structures are in place. Everything is based on the Induction standards documentation…that’s why it is so vital!
Support from the NEU
If you are involved in any part of this process then of course you have the support of your Union to advise and guide. I would recommend that you contact your union straight away and to keep them fully informed of the situation and how it is being managed. The National Education Union is the largest teaching union in the UK and has a wealth of experience in NQT support and is up to date with all the processes and procedures of the Induction year and can advise you accordingly. If you are not currently a member of the NEU but would like to join then the link is below.
The NEU is recommended by Primary Practice.