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Dear James, failing NQT

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by nebsivy, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Dear James and all,
    I am an NQT and I just completed my second term of induction. Unfortunately i did not pass this second term as I only just started in this school in september. My first term was completed at a different school and the report was quiet good.
    I had two observations with the first one being a satisfactory obs. The second one was unsatisfactory and then ofsted came and gave me another unsatisfactory. I struggle with behaviour management with my year 10 class.
    The induction tutor has told me that an action plan will be made for next term but I can't help but feel totally rubbish as a teacher. Also, she adviced me to contact my union but my union rep is my head of department and that puts me in a difficult possition as I feel i will be putting him in a difficult position as well. What should I do?
    Also the school gave me an option to either resign or stay on. I decided to stay on. Is that some message they were sending across to me or what?

    I feel it is unfair to say I am failing for the observations which did not go well as my mentor has not observedd me at all.
    I will appreciate your comments on this.
  2. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    The first term in a secondary school is difficult anyway and the autumn term is long and exhausting. The spring term is shorter and you know where you are with your classes, so perhaps it'll be better? Behaviour is a difficult one because once you've lost control, it's a fight but it can be done. You need to work out how you're going to do it, though, becuSe if you carry on as you are, things will get worse. If it's just one class, it's easier than if it's every group. As for the union, you can contact the regional office and speak to someone there. I suspect that you've been advised about this because if things don't improve, you may decide to leave before the end of your third term and your union will help you to negotiate this. It may also help to have someone outside school to look at the action plan and your targets so that you can get some advice on how to ensure you pass induction. Before term starts, think about what you would like the school and your department to do to help you so that you have input into the action plan. Good luck!
  3. Sorry to hear that ayou are having such a hard time. Different schools can have very different outlooks. What goes down in one school can be frowned upon in another. That is just life.
    It sounds as though your confidence is being very undermined at present. This can have a real knock on effect on your teaching style and ability.
    What help are you getting with the challenging YR10 group? Are they this challenging with other teachers? If so, why have you been given them to teach? Behaviour management is one of the hardest aspects of teaching - you need support. Should this class be behaving well with others it might be worth chatting withh the teachers who have cracked it to find out how. Also do an observe or learning walk on the class to see how they behave with others. Also do a thread on the behaviour side of TES. Some very good ideas and guidance there.
    Two things to do. Firstly contact your union via the local rep. I would really not advise doing it through schooll in your current circumstances. You will feel you are getting more independent advice by going out of school. Contact them today.
    What is concerning is that your mentor is not observing you. Might be worth getting guidance on that.
    I'd also suggest that you have a chat with your LEA NQT contact and have a chat through what is expected as NQT in your area. They can also quietly do things behinid the scenes should they feel it warrants it.
    You have decided to stick it out at school. That might be worth reconsidering - purely on the grounds that your confidence is disappearing at your current school. Sometimes a different school can work better. The Union can help you with getting out. Whilst this year is a tough old year for jobs due to the economic environment it is reaching the peak recruitment time. It might be worth considering jumping ship. Is there any chance for you to go back to your original school?
    Very best of luck. NQT is just a tough old year.
  4. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You can still leave before the end of Induction term 3 if the observations indicate that you are unlikely to be able to meet the standards by the end of the Induction period. You would get (outside) Union support to negotiate an early release at some point in the term. If you are not employed there at the intended end of Induction, Term 3 is incomplete and you are free to start term 3 again at another school.
    The school needs to implement a support programme for you to enable you to meet the tagets. It's not enough for them to simply describe what your weaknesses are. They need to be introducing measures to help you to address the weaknesses. The support could be extra assistance in the classroom, courses, targets with success criteria, removing troublemakers from particularly challenging classes or giving you less challenging classes if your worst groups are ones that are notorious across the school. NQTs are not supposed to be allocated hvery difficult groups yet we often find that the HOD takes the top sets and NQTs get the lower sets which are often the ones with the disruptive behaviours.
    I was in a school once where the HOD of English confided that she struggled massively with a group that I also taught (as an NQT) for MFL. On 2 days per week I had them before morning break and she had them afterwards. She'd see me in the staffroom and ask what sort of mood they were in. She said that she shut the door and muddled through her lessons with them and just hoped that no SMT came down the corridor when they were at their most noisy and chaotic. It struck me that her difficulties with them would not disallow her from teaching in the future but an NQT found wanting when being assessed with that class would be at risk of failing Induction and having their career ruined.
    My advice for the difficult class is to have a starter ready on the board or on a worksheet and to have all other work prepared in such a way that you can spend most of the lesson managing behaviour. Put their exercise books on their designated table before they arrive.
    They will be unlikely to respond well to teacher-talk so minimise what you need to say to them. Also, spend a lot of the time standing at the back of the room as they cannot easily monitor where you are looking to be able to lob rubbers, paper and pencils when you are not looking in their direction. I knew one teacher who had his desk at the back of the room and the front row of pupils desks very close to the whiteboard, with just enough room for him to pass infront of them occassionally.
    Good luck.
  5. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    get advice from your mentor and HOD on class management issues and record how you have implemented the advice. If the pupils don't respond, you have the evidence that they have done your bit - you haven't just carried on with tactics that weren't working. keep a record of implementing the discipline code too. When they are still being difficult after consistent implementation of school advice, ask what else can be done to bring them on-side. If they can't think of any other tactics, they can hardly sanction you (on Induction) for being unable to solve a deep-rooted issue.
    Phoning parents/guardians can also be effective. Pupils hate it when teachers make a direct contact with home and behaviour can settle down when parents have threatened to stop mobile phone credit etc! Conversely, NOT phoning home when they've been ultra-provocative can give them the green light to be even worse in the future because they now there will be no serious come-uppance (school detentions are awter of a duck's back to most challenging pupils|).
  6. darkness

    darkness New commenter

    It is my understanding that whilst you can be observed during your NQT induction by OFSTED, the school cannot use the findings to impact upon your induction itself.

    "Also the school gave me an option to either resign or stay on. I decided to stay on. Is that some message they were sending across to me or what?"

    Hardly encouraging. They should have really been talking about a program to help you. You essentially just had 1 unsatisfactory observation. I think the induction tutor was a bit hasty when advising you to contact your Union, which will send alarm bells ringing. A couple of lessons observed unsatisfactory perhaps, but really, an action plan first, and then if you are still not really meeting the standards, then Union perhaps.

    Unwarranted pressure is how it sounds to me.
  7. @nebsivy

    Hey, I am an NQT too deemed at risk of failing in a primary school. I had an awful observation last week as part of monitoring the school's improvement (it's in special measure) and I have been given until next week to pull up my socks or fail this term (never mind the fact that we're only half way through the term). I have spoken to the union and they told me to stay put until April although the school beat me to contacting the LA's NQT supervisor. Basically, there isn't much I can do but from reading this forum I understand that I can't fail a term (I passed last term) and that the school will have to wait until the end of a term to make a judgement on a whole term. The LA supervisor is no good, he seems to be on the side of the school as the LA is heavily invested in improving the school and moving it out of special measures. Even experienced teachers graded good by Ofsted are a mere satisfactory in these circumstances.

    My mentor has told me plenty of time to reassess whether I want to continue teaching. I have a very large and difficult class (no Teaching assistant) and are being failed on my rapport with the children precisely because they're so badly behaved. I am deeply unhappy there and have decided to resign after this term even if the next observation goes well.

    Don't worry nebsivy, there are many NQTs in similar circumstances. I am just kicking myself now for turning down a very good non-teaching opportunity I had before I accepted this job. Oh well
  8. Oh and I have the hundred and one 'drop-ins' too and it almost feels as though I'm being spied on. ggrrr
  9. Hi
    Apologies for not replying sooner -= I have been in digital hell for the past week with no internet access at home.
    What always amazes me is that all induction decisions seem to hinge on just observations. The rest of your work and evidence always seems to be ignored. We all have bad days, make mistakes and sometimes we are seen making the mistakes. We also all have good days and do great things - which may not be seen.
    I bet that if the school thought you were a poor teacher from annecdotal evidence, but that every time you were observed you were good, thenm they would not be happy and still have an issue.
    You do not pass or fail each term - only term three.
    If there are problems identified then the school has a duty to support you, provide extra training where necessary, give you specific targets with success criteria and they should look holistically at your performance and not just base their conclusions on snap observations.
    If you think there is a conflict of interest with the union rep being your head of depratment then contact the union regional office and ask to speak to someone there about your position.
    Schools seem now to offer the 'resign' route as a means of avoiding the extra work of helping staff - easier to say goodbye and hire someone else than help someone develop their skills.
    The LA should also be involved in supporting you and offering help anbd advice and even extra training. If all these things are not in place then I fail to see how a sound decision on your induction can be made.
  10. Thanks James and all who have replied.

    My school to is in special measures and it does not help that we are 2 nqts in the department. The other nqt is coping well and was observed twice ith the same class last term.

    I think the school expect me to be the same as the other nqt and change my personality from the comments they have been making. I feel aweful having to go in tomorrow and the whole of next week.
    I feel consoled to find out I am not the inly ine in this situation and feel so much better after reading all your consoling words.
    Let's see how next week is.


  11. Hi all more dilemma, I went in on Monday wanting to indicate that I will not be continuing but the school decided they are willing to prolong my induction to the summer term if I did not meet the standards by Easter. The only thing is that I feel so negative about the school that I feel so drained.

    Had another obs today and it did not go well at all. They said it was an inadequate with aspects of satisfactory. The thing that worries me is that it was all the feedback was about what went wrong and there seemed to be nothing good about the lesson.

    Also I am expected to say by tomorrow if I will stay and the induction extended or I will leave and start somewhere else.

    I am so confused about this and don't know what to do as my confidence is below freezing now.
    please give me your views asap.


  12. The decision to extend induction does is not the school's. The LA is the only body that can decide to extend induction and trhen only if the NQT fails, appeals and is granted and extra term. So trhe school seems to be making decisions that it cannot legally make - they would have to show that they identified issues early and put in proper support to help you meet the standards and only afer this could they recommend a fail - even then it is the LA who decide on a pass or fail not the LA - the LA act on the recommendation of the headteacher but can (and have been known) to overturn a heads decision. I agree that in 90+% of cases they agree wit5hb the head, but if the \NQT cxan show that the judgements were flawed then the the COUL overturn a fail decision. The school cannot unilaterally decide if an extension is given they have no power to do so.
    Do talk to your union and also to the NQT adviser - the NQT adviser should be fully involved in your case if the school feels that you are not going to meet the standards and they shouldhave been in contact and also helped to provide extra help and support.
    Don't be bullied by threats and time-limits - say that you wish to consult your union rep, as well as speak to the LA about any extension as the LA is the bodyt that decides not the school - what if the LA decide not to grant an extension?
  13. The school was quicker than me at contacting the LEA NQT person. She came in to observe me on the last day of term and was brutal in her feedback as she said I was going to fail and should not be surprised at hearing that as she knows that I have been told this several times.
    I then decided to leave but the school promised an extension as it is my second term. They did not make me aware of how this could be done. Today, the NQT person came in and observed me. She constantly talked of students achieving C grades and above when they are G and E targets. She then told me that they will ahve to issue me a fail before they can think of an extension.
    I do feel like the school have put me in the deep end by not making me aware of all that was at stake before telling me of this extension business. I was naive enough to belive.
    Well the most annoying thing is that they siad that my first assessment from a different school looked too good to be true as I am struggling at this present school.
    So not happy and want to leave so bad.
    just wanted to rant.
  14. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    THIS x
  15. This all seems rather odd to me. If you are just in your second term why is anybody talking about an extension? If the school feels that you are not making sufficient progre3ss during term 2 then this is not the time to talk about failing and extension - this is the time to talk about support, training and making sure that you pass at the end of term three. The school, (and it seems the LA) are simply being fatalist and have seemingly decided before time the outcome.
    There should be in place a plan for extra support training and help for you to overcome the issues. As suggested I would contact the union immediatley and ask for their help and support.
    The Sage
  16. Hi There,
    In a similar position to you. I have already handed in my notice and will leave my school at the end of this term s they are telling me (and the LEA) quite categorically I will not pass. I donl;t feel they are capable of supporting some strong challenges in my timetable ( I teach two subjects equally so have no room of my own and teach in 11 different rooms across the timetable with some low ability vocational year 10 groups that are described by experienced teachers as unteachable). Since I quit i've had a spring in my step as I feel I am back in control now and am looking forward to an interview later this week.
    Of course, the real telling part of the story. In one of my dpeartments, the department where all my failings come from, there is another full time NQT. He quit for the same reasons the same time as me!
  17. I use honesty. I am not quiting because I am incompetent. I am quitting because I have no confidence in the SLT of my school to support the challenges I face. I've already explained the situation to the school I am going to tomorrow and urged them to contact my reference and given them other references to assure them this is not a true and accurate reflection of my professionalism or my abilty as a class teacher. My Mentor from my PGCE has stated that I was an outstanding student who with the right support and guidance would be an excellent teacher. I am happy to admit failings on my part over the 4 terms I was there, show me an NQT who doesn't get things wrong. I have reflectd on them and am happy that I have used them to learn from. But I am not failing, far from it, but I am not prepared to get involved in an appeal process against an induction tutor who has already decided I have failed. I am instead choosing to take control of my situation and find an appointment where I can contribute positivley and recieve adequate feedback and guidance.
    Fingers crossed for tomorrow
  18. Thanks for that, it has just given me some confidence to face the explaining thing. Hope it went well today.
  19. Want honest advice? Get the hell out of the mindset that the school's failings are yours. And then get the hell out of that school, or any one like it. There are many schools, both maintained and independent (eeek...did I say that word?), where students are simply not permitted to behave in the ways you have described. You can not control classes by the ridiculous notion of 'presence' unless your SMT have the balls to back you up. You are a graduate and a professional...not a punch-bag for failed teachers whose only recompense is to hide behind nameplates on doors and spout meaningless edu-twaddle about 'learning journeys' and 'making the weather in your own classroom' B%llock# to them!
  20. Thanks v much, finally got out of there today. I am feeling much relaxed eventhough my future is hanging in the air. At least I have a chance to finish my NQT year somewhere else.
    Thanks for all the responses.

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