Author Archives: Charles Watson

Support and training in your Induction year – just how good should it be?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

https://neu.org.uk/join-now?utm_source=OrganicSocial&utm_medium=PrimaryPractice+PrimaryPracticeGroup&utm_campaign=PrimaryPractice&fbclid=IwAR08dn0iwL6PLSay3ZvkTtsBAFn3m5nahbBEteYs45sHw5IUEx921L4yB8A

Your NQT year – what can you expect?

A Primary Practice / NEU support article

Your NQT year plunges you, as a newly qualified teacher, into a world within which you may feel totally unprepared. Now this can, of course vary from individual to individual and does depend to some extent on the nature of your training – but the bottom line is that training to teach and the actual fact of being “the class teacher” are worlds apart!

So what can you expect as a baseline when you finally land your 1st teaching post?

Here’s my list of things that you should expect to be in place to enable your smooth transition into the world of teaching.

  • You should be registered with the Local Education Authority as an NQT
  • In line with this you should be given time by your school to attend training and information courses run by the LEA
  • Your LEA will have their own version of the induction Standards and these should be operational in your school
  • As an NQT you need to be given the support of an experienced mentor in school
  • You are entitled to NQT release time (10%) in addition to your PPA time
  • The above should also include professional development and support to build upon your initial teacher training.
  • Lastly but by no means least…you should expect your school leadership team to have “realistic expectations” from you with regards to your progress and development….sadly this is not always the case!

The NEU, Primary Practice and NQT support

Primary Practice are always here to help and it’s as simple as either posting on the group for colleague support or by messaging Primary Practice through the group for matters which you may not wish to share. In many cases problems or queries can be easily sorted, however there may be times when advice is recommended from the NEU and that is just where our collaboration begins.

By becoming a member of the National Education Union you have the support and advice of the largest teaching union in the UK. Whatever problems you may be encountering or questions you may have regarding your training or induction year then help is at hand and advisers are always happy to advise.

Your local branch/district can also provide help and advice. If you do not know the name/ telephone number of your rep or local branch/district secretary, or do not have a rep in your workplace see neu.org.uk/ contact-us

You can also call the Adviceline on 0345 811 8111 or email adviceline@neu.org.uk for advice and support.

To join the NEU simply use the link. https://neu.org.uk/join-now?utm_source=OrganicSocial&utm_medium=PrimaryPractice%20PrimaryPracticeGroup&utm_campaign=PrimaryPractice

A simple classroom management approach for a “young class.”

Classroom management strategies and behaviour management strategies run hand in hand across every aspect of your classroom and teaching. Together they form the foundations of everything you do.

We have looked at the principals behind both classroom management and behaviour management and then extended this to build, apply and implement our own working systems.

All classes are different – 

One size does not fit all – by that I mean that because you have successfully used a particular system with one class then it will follow that the same system will work for another.

However, the basic format and approach CAN be used – in other words YES you can start out by applying the same system you have used before but you should be prepared to modify and change this as the needs of your class require.

So why do I say this?

I was in a school recently and a member of staff came to me with a problem. She wasn’t having behavioural problems as such but had a class that were both chatty and very slow to settle when asked.

By combining her behaviour and classroom management strategies she had introduced a system that noted how long the class took to settle when asked and deducted this time from their playtimes or  lunchtimes. It was a system she had used with a previous class and the stopwatch was displayed on the interactive board.

The problem that she was having was with this year group it didn’t seem to be as effective and the class was having to stay in quite a lot!

Looking at the problem

If you have read my article on Chatty classes then you will see that this method is one (among many ) that I recommend as a good approach and in fact it was one that this colleague had used well in the past. So why wasn’t it working so well this time and how could we modify things to make it effective?

On investigation the teacher began to realise that it seemed to be the same children who were not settling or becoming quiet when asked – this of course means that in starting the stopwatch the rest of the class was, in effect, having to miss time BECAUSE of these individuals.

It also came to light (it was a Y3 class) that the class had a disrupted year last year with 3 teachers across the academic year….meaning 3 different approaches to teaching, expectations and of course discipline!

Basically …they were a YOUNG CLASS!

So what did we change?

There were 2 things that we had to consider…

  1. The stopwatch approach wasn’t working so we needed different
  2. We wanted to avoid the whole class being caught in the attitude of the few who were dragging their feet.

This is what we did

Having recognised that the class had a disrupted Y2 we decided to move back to a practical and visual  approach when the class were asked to settle or become quiet.

We used the simple technique of

  1. Asking for quiet
  2. Teacher putting their hands on their head – the children copy….5 seconds
  3. Teacher (without speaking) put their hands on their shoulders …5 seconds
  4. Teacher (without speaking) puts their hands down and the children either put their hands on their laps or on the desk.
  5. At this point…the whole class should be quiet (and the majority will be)
  6. However – This now allows the teacher to identify those children who are still talking or not settling down…in other words we have shifted the emphasis from a whole class to individuals.
  7. Any child not sitting quietly is now told to “stand up” – these can then be told that they have not listened or done what is expected and their names are then moved onto the behaviour management system or names / ticks etc on the board.

 

As you can now see the teacher has now moved to a visual and interactive stimulus for quieting the class. Even if some children do not hear the teacher ask for quiet they will see what is happening around them and know what it means. The approach also takes the stopwatch timing away from the whole  class and lands on the individuals concerned who as we have said previously “take responsibility for their own actions”

Conclusion.This was our solution to the problem that this colleague was experiencing. The basics of her approach were right but just needed modifying to suit the needs of that particular class. Once this was introduced the problem soon went away and things settled down nicely.

[This illustrates a very basic routine of movements that many of the children will already know. The actions are, of course, simply a 3 part visual system that involves the children and you could alter or change these as you wish. ]

Hope this may be of help – as it surfaced recently I thought I would pass it on.

Charles