Teacher trainer James Williams explains the ins and outs of the changes to the induction process

In September 2012, new statutory guidelines for induction will come into effect. These new guidelines and the new induction arrangements passed by parliament on April 20 this year, will affect all newly qualified teachers who have yet to complete induction and all NQTs starting induction this September.

The new arrangements maintain most of the current statutory provisions e.g. a reduced timetable, provision of an induction tutor or mentor to support the NQT as well as regular observation and progress reports. That said there are also some major differences which need to be highlighted.

The new guidance, which is considerably slimmer than the current document (26 pages versus 49) covers the key features of induction: from why we have induction; to a detailed section on the process of induction; special circumstances that could reduce the induction period; what happens in the event of unsatisfactory progress during induction and the appeals process for NQTs deemed to have failed induction. The final section outlines the roles and responsibilities of all involved in the induction process.

Key changes to the induction guidance

No more '16 month rule - The main change is the scrapping of the ’16 month rule’. This was a source of confusion and intense frustration for many. From September 1st 2012 all NQTs will have five years from the date of gaining QTS during which they can work on daily supply, that is, teaching, but not in a post where induction is mandatory. This will come as a relief to many thousands of NQTs who have fallen foul of the 16 month rule. This is a fixed time limit. There is no possibility of an extension of the five years.

Overseas induction - Another significant change is the ability to complete induction in some British schools overseas. Under the previous guidelines it was possible to serve induction in a small number of forces overseas schools, but from September 1 2012, induction can be served in a British School overseas, provided it's a member of a DfE accredited association and has had a satisfactory or better inspection within the last four years.

Overseas trained teachers - For overseas trained teachers from certain countries, there are now exemptions from the requirement to complete induction. If you have trained, qualified and met any additional conditions and you are regarded as a fully-qualified teacher in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA then you will be exempt from induction, provided you are not the subject of any decision or proceedings that could restrict your eligibility to teach in that country.

Likewise, teachers who have been awarded QTLS by the Institute for Learning (IFL) and who are members of the IFL are also exempt from induction.

Expansion of where induction can be served - The previous guidelines did not allow induction to be served in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), from September 1 2012 a PRU can offer induction. Restrictions on some schools remain, for example a school which is in special measures cannot hire a NQT unless permission is given by Ofsted (NQTs on induction when a school goes into special measures will be allowed to complete induction). FE colleges may also offer induction, provided they have a satisfactory or better inspection rating and they can make arrangements for NQTs to spend at least 10 days (preferably 25) teaching in a school.

Independent schools can still offer induction, but the new guidelines state quite clearly that independent schools – which include academies and Free schools - are not legally obliged to offer induction and those with QTS are not obliged to complete induction in order to work in such institutions.

Appropriate bodies - Quality assurance of induction is carried out by the ‘appropriate body’ (AB). In many cases this was the Local Authority. A number of independent (private) schools used the Independent Schools Council Teacher Induction Panel (ISCTIP) as their appropriate body. Two categories of appropriate body have been added to the new guidance, teaching schools (though they cannot act as the appropriate body for themselves or any NQTs they train) and ‘an organisation determined for this purpose by the Secretary of State’, to date there are no details of what such an organisation may be.

What has stayed the same

As with the current guidelines, the minimum length of contract that requires a person to be placed on induction in a maintained school is one term, either full time or part time. As is currently the case, who the NQT is employed by is irrelevant, whether it is an agency or being employed directly by the school or the Local Authority, the NQT must be placed on induction.

For any NQT on induction, regardless of the type of school, there must be a 10% reduction in the teaching timetable. This is in addition to the statutory 10% PPA time. NQTs must also have the support of an induction tutor appointed by the Headteacher or Principal and that person must hold QTS.

As now, NQTs will be observed during their induction, but a crucial change here is that there is no longer a stated schedule of observation (currently NQTs must be observed within four weeks of starting induction and at least once in any six to eight week period). I would hope that the current schedule would be implemented as a matter of course as it seems sensible to carry out regular observation, but the new guidance simply states that an NQTs teaching ‘should be observed at intervals throughout their induction’. Feedback on any observation should be ‘prompt and constructive’.

Where problems arise and an NQT is assessed as not making satisfactory progress towards meeting the standards this should be identified as early as possible and, as should have happened up until now, there should be ‘no surprises’; that is, an NQT should not suddenly be told that there is a problem and the possibility of a fail right at the end or with no fair warning.

The decision on a pass or fail of induction still happens at the end of the third term. The decision rests with the appropriate body and not the headteacher, they make only a recommendation. The AB also has now the power to deem that induction has been passed if the school fails to keep proper records or if records have been lost. The new guidance also recommends that the original documentation is given directly to the NQT with copies going to the AB and held in the school for at least six years.

Causes for concern

There are some welcome developments in this new guidance, such as the new five year rule, but also some worrying aspects, such as the lack of guidance to schools on the type and frequency of observations of NQTs. The most intriguing aspect of the new guidelines is the emphasis on the fact that induction is not a legal requirement for teachers who wish to teach in academies and free schools. Given that an aim of this current administration is to make all schools academies you have to wonder, why have induction at all?

For more information visit the DfE's induction pages

James Williams is a lecturer in science education at the University of Sussex, School of Education and Social Work.

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Hi Alfonso The published guidelines are those that apply for induction at present and these will cease to be live at the end of August. Although the document you link to says 'amended in April 2012' this is simply a reflection of the fact that on April 2oth a new law came into effect on Induction, so the current guidance had to be ammmended to reflect that. It does not mean that the situation will not change in September of this year when the draft guidelines analysed above are confirmed. The draft guidelines can be found here: http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/Statutory%20guidance%20for%20the%20induction%20of%20NQTs%20(England)%20-%20Consultation%20Draft%20(v2).pdf James Williams
From: James_Williams 21/5/2012
Ah - you are saying that the April 2012 document is just for April - August 2012. But the link you gave is still only to a consultation document. When do you think we will have a final version? And will they be providing assessment form templates as before?
From: alfonso2011 24/5/2012
My information from the DfE is that the revised guidance you foyund is just for the interim - between Aprilo and September. They told me that the draft guidance (linked in the article above) of the new guidance was very unlikely to change in substance and that anything done would be cosmetic or simply corrections of grammar and spelling if necessary. They could not say exactly when the definitive guidance would be posted, just that it would be 'in time for the new year and September 1st'. I suspect that the template forms will not alter much as they were fairly simple - the main changes in induction are more to do with the 16 momth rule and where induction can take place and who could act as an appropriate body. James
From: James_Williams 6/6/2012
Hi James, I completed my PGCE in July 2011 and have been working as a supply teacher for the past year (since October 2011). Will the new extension apply to me or is it just to those qualifying this year? So, I would have had to stop doing supply Feb 2013 under the old rules. Is this still the case or do I now have 5 years? Thanks
From: ChristaBabbs 29/6/2012
Hi From September 1st the new rules apply. This means that you have the full five years from the date that you gained QTS during which you can work on supply. So your time on supply will run out in July 2016. Remember though that even if you are on supply, if that work lasts at least a term in length then in a state maintained school you must be placed on induction by law and you are eligible for induction in other schools should they wish to offer it (academies, free schools and private schools). James Williams
From: James_Williams 5/7/2012
I have literally just moved back from working overseas for 5 years. When I finished my PGCE I had no time limit in which I needed to complete my induction in. I hadn't started it so I had unlimited time. However, I felt that the longer I leave it,the bigger the step back will be when I eventually come back to the UK (starting as an NQT at the bottom of the payscale again!). I wasn't able to find a permanent position in time for this academic year and I found it very difficult to convince Headteachers that I was a good option - cheap but with 5 years experience. So, I planned to do supply while I waited. I was going through the process of registering with supply agencies when I received a phonecall from one saying that the new induction rules mean that I am not legally allowed to do any supply teaching as they are counting my 5 years abroad as supply!!! Despite the fact that I have never done any supply and I was working as a full-time teacher in a private international school abroad! This is very unfair and leaves me with few options - has anyone else had similar problems? Or any thoughts on this?
From: sazzleflumtriss 8/9/2012
Hi I also went straight abroad in 2007 to work after teacher training and have returned this year august 2012 so did not complete the induction year. Unfortunately I did not get a full time post and have had some supply work. I had a call today from an agency stating that they would no longer be able to use me due to the changes in the ruling. However, as I am living in Wales and have registered with the GTCW they have not changed the ruling so I can continue working!! This is crazy and a ridiculous situation that we find ourselves in! so maybe you need to move to wales?
From: dsjones 7/1/2013
Hi, I gained my QTS in June 2009 and have been unable to find a teaching post. I did supply for 16 months but never got long term work. I have taken a TA post but do want to pursue the career I trained for. Do I only have 5 years from my qualifying date to start my NQT year and does the new rule mean I can go back on supply teaching for the remainder of my five years? Nobody seems able to give me any clear answers and I am becoming increasingly concerned.
From: chouseman 15/9/2012
Hi I've just passed my PGCE music Secondary modular and am interested in doing my NQT abroad, namely Italy. I've heard that generally British International Schools will take only experienced (more than 2 years) and so don't really wish to waste time pursuing something that is futile. I realise it may be early days, but anyone enlighten me?
From: rtanyac 23/12/2012

Hi James, I would be grateful if you could should some light on a situation someone I know has found themselves in. They finished their PGCE in 2011 and secured a maternity cover position in an academy where they completed two terms of their NQT year. After finishishing the two terms they then started a permanent position in a new academy however the school stipulated that they needed to start their NQT year again and that the two terms they had compeleted couldn't be carried over as there had been new guidelines published from September 2012. We are now confused though as after speaking to other people within the profession it appears that there are some NQTs who have been allowed to carry over the terms they completed from previous schools during 2011/2012 year and they have not been told that they need to start again because of the new guidelines. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated. Thanks, Alex

From: alexmack1 11/2/2013

I am confused over the rule. Does it maen that if you do three terms as part time then you can complete your induction? If so this means that I should have it completed by now.

Reason I ask is that I am very concerned as I qualified in June 2009 and so far have only had part time jobs over 5 terms . I was told that you had to do 65 days to constitute one term.

I have documentation to say that I have completed 2 terms of induction .

From: rush9 27/2/2013
Hi im at a school working through agency and i have complete 1 full term and im about 2 start another full term at the same school working full time i was told that my nqt induction will not be covered because the school already had 3 nqts and there would be no one that would have time to mentor me so should the school have started my induction?
From: Xsobiax 12/4/2013

Good afternoon,

I would like to know whether an NQT can have a tutor group. She would start in September 2013.


Many thanks for your help



From: eleanor10 10/5/2013

Hi James,

 My boyfriend and myself are currently doing a PGCE. He is an American citizen and as such we are having tremendous visa issues with regard to securing his visa for next year so he can do an NQT. It is not looking hopeful and so we are now looking abroad. After reading your article, I have seen that there has been an update in governmental regulations and it is possible to do an NQT abroad. However, even after so much searching I have not got a clue how to find out about any NQT posts abroad. Do you have any advice about how I could find any of these posts that apparently are out there. Thanks 
From: v10761 29/10/2013

Hi James

This is a liitle comnplicated but here goes. I gained QTS in 2006 and had to pull out of the job I had ligned up in the september for health reasons (my disability). I was not able to work at all until 2009 when I went on supply and then in July 2009 I secured a part-time one year contract with a school. After completing half my NQT induction period at that school, I was once again unable to work due to my disability. Up until July 213 I worked on a supply basis and last Spring term worked a full term at a school, yet the Tutor at the council, (failing to get back to me for over 3 months!) said this could not count as I hadn't started on the first day of the spring term and that it wasn't going to be a full term's work..... The sick period I was covering ran out on March 18th (only a couple of weeks before the end of term) but when that date approached the sick note was renewed and I actually ended up doing the full term!! My disability is such that now I may never have the chance to be able towork a full term, either part time or full time and that is why I wanted that last full Spring Term to count.. (I am appalled at how quickly it was brushed off when indeed it was a full term's work!!)... Now I am unable to do supply at all.... HELP????!!!!


From: jasonarkwright 22/1/2014

Hi, I was hoping someone could help me with a question.

If a teacher passes his QTS but doesn't complete their induction during the allocated 5 year period afterwards, are they not allowed back into schools as a teacher (or any staff capacity)? I am wondering about both state and independent/free schools. I thought it wasnt necessary to be a qualified teacher to teach in an Independent school but someone else has told me otherwise.

Any help around this area would be appreciated.

Thank you

From: Jamesharris1986 19/2/2014


I will be graduating from my PGCE in 2015, I then want to go travelling, is it possible to gain my NQT in other countries? 


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