The DfE’s recently published revised statutory guidance for the Induction of NQTs is dated April 2018. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/induction-for-newly-qualified-teachers-nqts The DfE website shows the Guidance as having been updated on the 1st April. Now, were this Guidance published anywhere else but on the DE’s own website, one might assume it was an elaborate April Fool’ day joke. But, one must presume that some hapless official was charged with uploading these changes on the day that the Teaching Regulation Agency (presumably TRA for short) replaced the now departed National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). Whether the TRA will follow in the footsteps of the RAF and have an illustrious history lasting more than 100 years is probably not even a matter for debate. If it lasts 100 months it might be said to have done well.
This Guidance is another example of a ‘fine mess’ our school system in England has become. To quote from the document:
All qualified teachers who are employed in a relevant school in England must, by law, have completed an induction period satisfactorily, subject to specified exemptions (see Annex B).
The list of relevant schools includes a maintained school; a non-maintained special school; a maintained nursery school; a nursery school that forms part of a maintained school; a local authority maintained children’s centre; and a pupil referral unit (PRU).
Keen eyed readers will notice that missing from this list of ‘relevant schools’ where Induction is mandatory are independent school in England; academies; free schools; 16–19 academies; alternative provision academies; and city technology colleges. Induction can be served in these institutions, even in some cases independent schools, but it isn’t a requirement, as it is for NQTs working in ‘relevant schools’ as listed in the appropriate paragraph of the Guidance.
Schools in special measure – no mention of the term inadequate here- generally, even if a relevant school, cannot employ NQTs or offer Induction unless HMI have granted permission. But, that is what you might expect.
Interestingly, a teaching school that is an accredited ITT provider cannot be the appropriate body for an NQT for whom it recommended that the award of QTS should be made. However, the ban doesn’t seem to extend to other schools in the same academy chain.
So two schools next to each other. Both state-funded and employing new entrants into the profession can have very different rules governing the Induction Period of that NQT. Is that satisfactory? Should the DfE now accept that regardless of the historical nature of a school’s governance, if it is state-funded the same rules should apply to the Induction of new entrants to the profession?
Although fewer Children’s Centres now exist than was the case a few years ago, I do wonder whether they are suitable places to serve an Induction Year. One requirement is that the Induction Year involve(s) the NQT regularly teaching the same class(es). Can this really happen in a Children’s Centre?
Perhaps the next revision might be based upon recognising the common needs of NQTs regardless of the type of school where they start their teaching careers. But, perhaps, there will finally be a wholesale review of this part of a teacher’s career following the recent consultation exercise on Strengthening Qualified Teacher Status and career progression and perhaps, the term ‘Teacher’ might finally become a reserved occupation title, only usable by those appropriately qualified and with QTS: we can but hope.