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NQT Induction invalid - HELP!!

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by tattyteddy1, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. I've read some of the threads relating to NQT induction nightmares and would really appreciate some advice as I'm in a similar, but more extreme situation. Myself and another NQT were employed on a 0.6 contract meaning that our NQT induction year would last 5 terms. We weren't allocated a mentor at the start but eventually after much 'pleading' with the HT we were eventually passed onto a part-time deputy who already had senco, scitt and governor responsibilities so we were an extra 'burden' to fit into her 3 day week.
    The deputy received no formal training or advice as to how to deal with us and was told by the HT 'just to do it'. We both felt like we were impacting on the deputy's valuable time and hefty schedule and although she tried her best, it was obvious that it was an unrealistic expectation to put on her. She often had to work late or 'stay up all night' just to keep up with her other duties. The HT offered no support and patronised us constantly with 'I have every faith in you all' which really annoyed all three of us as she knew we were all struggling to 'fit' everything into a 3 day week. The deputy unsurprisingly, took early retirement at the end of our 3rd term leaving us with 2 terms outstanding at the end of July.

    In September we asked the HT who our new mentor would be, to which we were told 'Oh I forgot about that! I'll sort something out'. We waited and waited then at October half-term reminded her that we were still waiting! HT continued to fob us both off until the last week of term (just before Christmas) when she announced at a wrap around meeting 'Our NQTs are now both fully qualified!' but don't tell them yet as I haven't spoken to them! We were completely bemused and stunned at hearing this from support staff and we were speechless at her announcement. We asked the HT, how she came to this decision and were told 'I'm the HT here and I can make that judgement. I'm signing you both off early as I have no doubt you have both met all of the standards. Obviously, she had 'forgotten' that for 3 whole months we had no support, no observations, no tutorials, no meetings, no training, no non-contact time! She was very convincing and it was implied that as NQTs who were we to question her decision.
    3 months later we were still waiting for confirmation of completion of the induction period, thinking it was an oversight or paperwork 'thing'. That was until earlier this week when we received a phone call from a very concerned NQT coordinator at our LA who advised that we ARE still NQTs and have been working without any support, guidance, training, observations etc and that this is not in accordance with regulations. To cut a long story short, we have wasted the last 2 terms (7 months) and may have to repeat them. Even worse, because our mentor received no formal training either, we could end up repeating the last 5 terms (around 17 months).
    We are both horrified that this could happen and have worked extensively at home and school (which can be verified by all staff). The NQT contact at the LA said this is way beyond her remit and cannot advise us what to do except to contact the union and the head NQT coordinator. We have been told that this is completely out of order and that the HT could face legal action. The HT is off sick so is blissfully unaware of the chaos which she has caused. We know from experience that she is very good at manipulating situations to her advantage and blaming staff for her bad practice, but as NQTs who will believe us? Staff that stand up to her are humiliated and bullied until they leave.
    We are both completely devastated and have spent the past two days driving home in tears. Surely someone can do something? All of the teaching sites say 'It is the HTs responsibility' but no one from the union or LA has got back to us and we don't know whether to say anything to the HT or wait until the LA or union gets in touch.

    What should we do and what other implications could we face?
  2. Firstly, sorry to hear that you have been left high and dry.
    What you need to do is this:-
    • Contact the HEAD NQT coordinator as advised and put some pressure on that person to help you.
    • Go up higher in your Union. It is utterly unacceptable that no-one has got back to you.
    • Finally, look for another post. You life is going to be 'interesting' with the current Head should you stay. Now is the main recruitment period.
    Very best of luck. This is a totally mad situation and, frankly, the sooner you are out the better.

  3. I can sympathise with you as I face the prospect of repeating an induction year because the school I did it in botched the process after I had been led to believe I had successfully completed it. IMO, induction should be subsumed into QTS to formalise it so that it is treated more seriously. QTS on it's own is not much use anyway unless you want to tutor or work only in independant schools. If this means extending the PGCE or making it more school-based then so be it.
  4. I have found from my NQT year that unless you have a major problem on your observations and lesson drop ins observed by senior staff, then you pretty much get left to your own devices!
    I think what the head teacher has done is shocking but she probably does think that your work is good so as you havent raised your heads over the parapet as having any issues she is happy with the progress and professionalism.
    I have been observed and all is fine, got a good in ofsted so got the general impression from staff that means unless i do something majorly huge its all down hill from here on in. Yes it is all tick boxing and i havent found the meetings to be of any particular use (maybe mine have just been ***** lol) and i have found i can mark off just about all the C standards using general teaching, PGCE training, senco notes and observation/assessments.
    I would like to think that if i mentor an NQT i will put a tad more effort in, but as we have 3 NQT's in the department i guess there just isnt enough time to be hand holding at PGCE level. A fully opperational department in school leaves very little time for mentoring as a high level and i think maybe the Uni's should be involved in teh NQT process as well, god knows they get enough money for the year!
    One of the NQT's is failing so that tells me that although we may think we are being left, an issues ARE noted and dealt with. I think that as the PGCE is so mentor focused you have got used to that and to be left to teach as a stand alone teacher is a culture shock.
    The union rep in school should be dealing with any issues with not passing NQT due to malpractice of your mentor, and should be offering support. I think the advice should be to ride it out and see what happens, ask for extra observations and get yourself signed any way you can. You dont want to be repeating the process again. I have found that i have had to take the lead in my NQT year getting things signed off, assessed and observed and not relied on the mentor to do this for me.
    <h1>Hope things work out for you!</h1>
  5. Thgis is a terrible situation for you both. Ultimately the Headteacher and then the Chair of Govenors is responsible for ensuring that proper induction takes place. From what you write it seems that this headteacher believes that she is the one who makes decisions and she is not. It is the LA. They can, in the worst case scenario, enforce the full induction term if she has failed to register and/or comply with the statutory guidance.
    You must involve the union at the regional if not national level as you will need expert help and advice here. At present the only ones suffering are those who have done nothing wrong.
    The LA may well take the view that if you knew that the support etc was not in place you should have gone direct to them for help if your pleas in the school went unheeded.
    Do not leave things now and DO get in contact with the LA head of NQT induction and your union. Ask the LA for a written account of the situation as they see it and any action they propose to take and then get your union to provide specific advice on the basis of the LA response. It may well be that your union will have to seek legal advice on the situation on your behalf.
    There is a joint responsibility for the headteacher and the appropriate body (the LA) for the supervision and training of NQTs (section 2.23 of thre statutory guidance) and it may well be that if you were registered then the LA has failed in its duty to ensure that proper provision was made anbd that the proper assessments were completed.
    The governing body also has a part to play:
    section 2.29 states that:
    "When an NQT is appointed the headteacher/principal should make the governing body aware of the arrangements, in line with this guidance, that have been put in place to support him or her.
    The governing body must be satisfied that the institution has the capacity to support the NQT and that the headteacher/principal is fulfilling his or her responsibility to provide a suitable post and the necessary support, monitoring and assessment."
    As for action against those who have failed in their duty to provide a proper induction it may well be that a complaint could be made to the GTCE and they would have to investigate. The outcome would be dependent on what the investigation finds.
    You must now be proactrive on this. If you feel that the decision by the appropriate body is unfair or unjust then you may need to seek help from the union to make an appeal to the GTCE so that they can look at the case and make a ruling.
  6. The head can deny all they like, but ignorance of the law is not a defence. The head, the governors, tha LA and the NQT all have roles and responsibilities that they must, by law, discharge. I'm glad the union sees the seriousness. I would be interested in the outcome, but be careful how much you now place on a public forum in case there are legal implications. I can also be contacted by pm for advice.

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