Problems with induction

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TNQZ
02 November 2016
It's important to remember when it comes to induction that you come first. You have just one chance to show that you can teach successfully so it's important that you help to create the right conditions for your success.

Besides teaching, there are common causes problems for a newly qualified teachers. The usual culprits are:

  • personal relationships
  • money worries
  • poor accommodation
  • difficult or tiring travelling arrangements
  • loneliness
  • getting to know a new group of people
  • health problems.

Take as much care as you can to avoid any situation that could create stress when you start teaching. If any personal problems begin to cause you concern and distract you from your teaching, try to resolve them as soon as possible.

What if I am absent due to illness during my induction year?

If you are absent from work for 30 or more school days in the induction period, your induction period is extended by the aggregate total of absences.

What if I have to take statutory maternity leave during the induction period?

  • You should seek advice from ATL as soon as you know that you are pregnant.
  • You are able, on an entirely voluntary basis, to request an extension of your induction period and your request cannot be refused. ATL would usually advise NQs in this position to request an extension.
  • You do not have to have your induction period extended by the period of your absence on statutory maternity leave but you will not have successfully completed induction and will no longer be eligible to teach if you do not (unless your headteacher tells you that he or she will be in a position to inform the appropriate body that you have satisfactorily completed the induction requirements).

What if I am told that my teaching is unsatisfactory?

If a report following a termly assessment meeting indicates that you are at risk of failing to complete the induction period satisfactorily, you should contact ATL's member advisers immediately as they will be able to advise you during every stage of the process. The report form sent by your headteacher to the appropriate body should set out:

  • weaknesses that have been identified
  • the objectives that you have agreed with your induction tutor in relation to satisfactorily completing induction
  • the support planned for you
  • the evidence the school has used to inform the judgement that you are at risk of failing to complete the induction period.

However, before this happens:

  • if your headteacher is not your induction tutor, he or she should observe your teaching
  • if your headteacher is your induction tutor, a third party should review the evidence and observe your teaching.

If you have any doubts about whether someone other than your induction tutor is observing you, and for what reason, you should ensure that you find out. It is very important that all these procedures take place in line with the government guidance. Your headteacher should write to you about the assessment and the consequences if you fail to make an improvement.

What happens next?

As soon as it is recognised that you may fail to complete the induction period satisfactorily, both the headteacher and the appropriate body should assure themselves that:

  • the assessment of you is well-founded and accurate
  • areas in which you need to improve have been correctly identified
  • appropriate objectives have been set to guide you to reach the standards
  • a relevant support programme is in place to help you meet those objectives.

This is where consistent and sustained support from ATL can help. It is critically important that you understand the reasons why you may be at risk of not completing the induction period and that you feel confident there is a strategy to ensure you can be helped to improve. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification from your headteacher and your induction tutor, and for specific advice on what to do.

What happens if I still do not make satisfactory progress?

A small number of NQs may struggle to show that they are reaching the standards required during their induction year. If this applies to you, it will become even more important to be clear about what you have to do to reach a satisfactory standard if you are still in this position at the end of the second term. You should continue to do all you can to demonstrate that you have followed advice and taken action.

What happens if, at my final assessment, I am not considered satisfactory?

ATL does not want this to happen to anyone and will provide as much help as possible to try and avoid it. However, in such an event the details of the procedures are set out in the government guidance.

Your headteacher must send you a copy of the recommendation as to whether you have, or have not, satisfactorily completed induction.

The appropriate body must take into account written representations from you (providing that these are received within 10 working days of the headteacher's recommendation) and it can decide whether you should have an extension. It is vital, therefore, that you receive advice from ATL on what to put in your written representation. LAs should be prepared to give you a personal hearing, which your ATL representative could attend with you.

Extensions are normally granted only in exceptional circumstances. Examples of this might be where, for unforeseen reasons or reasons beyond the control of one or more of the parties, it became unreasonable to expect you to meet the requirements. Extensions might also be granted if there is insufficient evidence on which to decide if the induction requirements have been met.

Appeals

The appeals procedure is set out in the guidance. If you wish to appeal, ATL can give you support and help in using all the rights of appeal.

ATL will advise you if it would be prudent for you to appeal against an extension or the decision that you had failed induction.

If an NQ fails induction, or has their induction extended, the appropriate body must advise the NQ of their right to appeal, who to appeal to and the time limit for doing so. In England, the appeal body is the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), which acts on behalf of the Secretary of State. In Wales, the appeals body is the EWC.