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About time to scrap the NQT year?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by jimmegee, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. jimmegee

    jimmegee New commenter

    I'm sitting here putting together my NQT portfolio, marking off my achievements against the Core standards, with a distinct sense of déjà-vu. Didn't I do all this last year during my GTP? I feel ever so slightly like I've been sold a dodgy mortgage at the moment; a few years ago when I was first convinced to get into teaching, I was led to believe that a) I could do it while "making a living" b) there were lots of jobs in my subject area (MFL) and c) I'd be getting a golden hello when I qualified. All three were pretty much lies unless you read the small print and, while I don't regret my change of career, I am wondering when the Government will once and for all scrap the goddam NQT year and just let new teachers be just that, rather than second-class citizens for a second mind-bending portfolio-bashing standards-ticking year.
  2. I actually think the NQT year is very important and scrapping it would not benefit anybody.
    Unfortunately, there are too many different expectations between LAs for NQT 'files'. My experience was completely different as no formal NQT file was necessary which meant no extra paperwork.
  3. The NQT year can be a very positive experience for many with the mandatory reducation in teacbhing and proper support and developmental training. many schools do an excellent job and many LAs also provide effective support.
    There is no statutory requirement to produce a portfolio , though I do advise my trainees to keep an ongoing record of evidence that meets the induction stanrads. I would not expect anything like the portfolio you produce to gain QTS in the first place. If your school/LA has insisted on a portfolio then that is their requirement not one of the induction year. I would assume that any school or LA that does insist on a portfiolio will produce guidance on what to produce and be realistic in the quantity and type of evidence they require. I would also expect such a portfolio to be part of the LA/School system which allows for you to progress to the threshold/AST status in later years - so in some ways a sensible portfolio can be very useful for career development.
    If a portfolio was required surely that was made clear at the start of induction and you should have been reviewing this at the regular review meetings meaning that at this stage it is merely crossing the t and dotting the i.
  4. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    It would require an Act of Parliament and the White paper actually emphasised the continuation of the NQT induction. The portfolio requirements are not statutory. The statutory minimum 2 observations plus formal review followed by an assessment report per term.
    Be grateful of the induction there are many NQTs desperately looking for the opportunity
    Induction is also a useful tool to weed out those weaker teachers who are unable to make an transition into the teacher role.
  5. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The Induction year has been in force since 1999.
    Prior to that, there was the Probationary year which was also a trial period in teaching. I'm not sure what happened if a teacher didn't make the grade on a full timetable in the probationary year.
    If the Induction year were scrapped, it would be replaced with some other scheme to monitor someone embarking on their first qualified post. Either that, or they'd expand the use of TAs and CS leading classes and wouldn't need an Induction year as those staff are unqualified!
    The main issue with the Induction programme is the supply limit placed on NQTs who can't secure an Induction post.
    I do sympathise about the portfolio issue as I only had to submit paperwork for my observed lessons and my mentors ticked all the other boxes based on their knowledge and observations of my practice (I did my Induction on long-term supply placements).
  6. Eastern European graduates are "full" teachers on graduation (provided they graduated from a program that had PGCE included alongside the subject areas) and they are exempt from induction in the UK.
  7. I think the additional support and guidance you get during the NQT year is really important along with feedback from more frequent observations that you have to have as an NQT. The paperwork is utterly pointless through. If you are a good teacher you should pass, if not then you should fail. This can easily be judged by mentors/people observing you. Anyone can collect evidence and fill in standards - it is not a reflection of your ability as a teacher in the slightest.
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Even if you fail Induction, you remain a fully qualifioed teacher. Your QTS is yours for life. You just can't be employed in the State 5-16 sector ever again but canteach in the State under 5s and Post 16 sectors and in any age range of the private sector where QTS is not even compulsory anyway. The new Free schhols could also employ you.
  9. jimmegee

    jimmegee New commenter

    I guess this is just my problem: there's an obvious surfeit of teachers in the UK at the moment (see my "dodgy mortgage" quote). Why should I feel grateful for having to prove myself all over again, a second year in a row, when I gave up a perfectly good, secure job to go into a sector that I was actively led to believe had a shortage of teachers in my subject area?
  10. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Teacher supply has a remarkable history of today's glut becoming tomorrow's shortages particularly if the EBac introduces MFL. Many teachers comment that the years after NQT is what they truly look forward to when they can focus on the job needs
  11. I don't think the NQT year should be scrapped, but I think it's soo strict at the moment. If you're not satisfactory in the first year, you're banned for LIFE? To me that's awful. A lot of the first year in teaching depends on the circumstances. My boyfriend is in a school that seems to have children who were so bad (violent, they wouldn't even throw them into prison for fear of the life of the prison guards. And yet he's expected to somehow get these gang children who find a conviction for violence offences to be a badge of honour... to do what? Sit down, do their ties up, and do well in maths? Hardly likely.

    In another school he'd prosper. And yet NQT rules say that he's banned for life if he's not good enough with them.
  12. I agree that being banned for life is a bit extreme. Someone may not do well as an NQT age, say, 22 (the youngest someone could do their NQT year - 3 years at uni, then straight into PGCE, then straight into NQT year), but 10 years later, age 32 with 10 years more work and life experience, make a fantastic teacher
  13. What annoys me about it is that the NQT time I'm supposed to feel is a fantastic opportunity, but it is just so hard to arrange to do anything useful with it. Despite the support of the appropriate school coordinator and LA person, I have now been trying for 2 half terms to organise to observe guided reading in another school, everyone in my own school telling me that they had no good practise to share. There are very few courses that seem to be suitable based on my action plan objectives. I've now taken to going and working in a totally different KS as a kind of extraTA during my morning off to broaden my experience - at least that way I feel I'm learning something! Surely a much easier approach for everyone would be a coordinated list of professional development visits to schools and talks that you could sign up to as appropriate, but no requirement to take time away from the class unless you were doing one of these things. It's such a hassle working out what a supply teacher can successfully teach my children, planning it for them, communicating it, and then being told that they couldn't control my (normally well-behaved) class!

  14. That sounds like a good idea, as the 2 NQT courses I have been on have been completely useless. Think I might try that too! Sometimes it is just good to see a reminder of other teaching methods and behaviour management techniques in action, rather than go on a course gazing blankly at printed out slideshows.
    I must admit to a slight smile on the occasions when my TA has told me that my class were a mightmare for the supply teacher and that they are "such a handful when you aren't here!" Makes me feel loved! [​IMG]
  15. As an NQT on supply I have been with some super classes who behave well no matter who they are with - including children who are receiving support and I certainly do not blame myself for unruly classes - they were almost certainly exhibiting behaviour issues before I had them and will do so after. If I had my own class and they were not behaving for a supply I would be very disappointed - not pleased - and there would be a sanction. Firm and consistent behaviour policies should be adhered to by all for all.

  16. I agree that NQT time should be used productively, rather than just as extra photocopying/marking/catching up time. If only headteachers looked on it this way too!

    I have asked to observe other teachers in school during my NQT time, and also to observe some teachers in other schools. My mentor sees this as me being a pain, and almost as a failing - it's being perceived that I won't be able to cope and improve unless I can see others doing it.

    In my view this is proactively seeking out CPD opportunities and wanting to improve my practice by learning from more experienced colleagues.

    I wonder why headteachers and mentors don't see it in the same way?
  17. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Mentors do Heads think they do
  18. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The solution is for any NQT who is told by their school that they are likely to fail Induction (usually mentioned in their 2nd or 3rd term) to get in touch with their Union for them to negotiate an early release.
    If you leave before completing the 3rd Induction term, no Fail verdict can be made and the NQT is then able to seek completion of their Induction at a school that better suits them, perhaps with some non-Indcution supply teaching in between to allow them to experience a range of schools in their area.
    Carrying on against all the indicators in your school and getting the Fail verdict is foolhardy. You still retain QTS but can't be employed in the State sector again.
    There is no longer an expectation that you should complete Induction within 5 yeras of starting Induction, so any young teacher who feels that they need greater maturity to deal with today's classrooms could easily take 5 or 10 years out and return to complete Induction when they feel more up to the task (with paid return To Teaching courses laid on by LAs to bring you up to date with new developments in the National Curriculum).

  19. I refused to do anything during my NQT year other than teach!!!!

    I did not make a portfolio at all and took the risk that nobody would ever ask to look at it (if they had I would have cobbled something together to keep them happy). Luckily my department understands that teaching the kids maths is what is important and i passed the year with good observations. 2 years on i am a lead practicioner and am being groomed for hear of year responsibility. The portfolio is a pile of rubbish. Just do the job properly.
  20. Actually, it isn't a 'pile of rubbish'. Some LAs have ridiculous expectations with them BUT they are very very useful in starting off your CPD file for career progression/performance management/etc.

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