FAQs

If you need help – use the NUT adviceline –

Telephone – 020 3006 6266

Email – nutadviceline@nut.org.uk

Opening hours – 9.00 to 19.00, Monday to Friday.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

 

Frequently Asked Questions by Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)

Q. When do Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) have to start their induction support programme?
A. There is no time limit, following the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), by which NQTs have to start their induction. We do advise that they try to complete their induction as soon as possible after being awarded QTS, so as to build on and strengthen the skills gained during initial teacher training (ITT).

Q. I have been told that NQTs have to start / complete their induction within 5 years of being awarded QTS, and that, if they don’t, they can no longer teach and will have their QTS taken off them. Is this true?
A. No, this is not true. There is no time limit to starting induction. Even in the unlikely event of an NQT failing their induction, or not undertaking their induction, they will not have their QTS taken away from them. They worked hard for their QTS by successfully completing their ITT (and skills tests where appropriate), and it is theirs to keep!

Q. Is there a deadline by which NQTs have to finish their induction?
A. It is normally expected that teachers will complete induction within five years of starting it. However, where significant time has elapsed between gaining QTS and starting induction, or where there is a significant gap between teaching posts during the induction period, NQTs may want to consider undertaking some refresher training.

Q. What if an NQT can’t find a suitable position to do their induction?
A. Such NQTs can contact the LAs in the areas they want to work. Some LAs, but not all, work in partnership with local supply agencies and help find the right position. NQTs can find information about contacting LAs by contacting the National College for Teaching and Leadership:

7th Floor, 53-55 Butts Road
Earlsdon Park
Coventry
CV1 3BH

Telephone: 0300 7900225
Email: qts.enquiries@education.gsi.gov.uk

Q. If an NQT fails their induction support programme, can they take it again?
A. No one may serve more than one induction period. If they have failed their induction period and if they have appealed against this decision, if the Appeal Panel upholds the decision then they have failed. Appeals are heard by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Q. Is there anywhere an NQT would be able to carry on with short -term supply work or longer supply work without starting their induction?
A. Only in a school or other educational institution that does not offer an induction programme, i.e. they would not be able to do this in a maintained school or non-maintained special school, unless the LA has agreed to an extension to the short-term supply entitlement due to exceptional circumstances.

Q. What can an NQT do after the 4 terms of short-term supply are over?
A. After the 4 terms are over, NQTs can continue to do supply work in a maintained school or non-maintained special school only when the supply placement is for one term or more, and therefore induction is being undertaken, or when the LA has agreed to an extension to the short-term supply entitlement due to exceptional circumstances.

Q. Can an NQT change from teaching Primary to Secondary or vice versa during their induction year?
A. Yes. There is nothing stopping NQTs from doing, for example, two terms secondary and one term primary. There is no legal obstacle – once an NQT has QTS they can, legally, teach any age range, even if it is not the age range they studied during their ITT. However, teaching outside the age range for which they trained is unlikely to offer the best context for induction. An NQT in this situation is likely to need additional support in order to meet, and show that they are meeting, the Induction Standards.

Q. Can an NQT complete their induction abroad?
A. Yes, but only in certain territories, i.e. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Service Children’s Education (SCE) schools in Cyprus and Germany.

Q. Can NQTs take a break during their induction period?
A. Yes, NQTs can take a break for as long as they like, but during that period they cannot teach in maintained schools or non-maintained special schools, because they are obliged to continue with their induction programme if they are in a school where the programme is available. NQTs could, therefore, do non-inductable short-term supply teaching, provided the four term rule has not expired. They could also undertake supply or other teaching work in a school that does not require induction, e.g. an independent school.

Q. Will an NQT receive a ‘Golden Hello’?
A. For information on Golden Hellos, please refer to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Q. Induction Certificates: what should an NQT do if the information on their Induction certificate is incorrect / they change their name / lose their Induction certificate?
A.  You can contact:

National College for Teaching and Leadership
7th Floor, 53-55 Butts Road
Earlsdon Park
Coventry
CV1 3BH

Telephone: 0300 7900225
Email: qts.enquiries@education.gsi.gov.uk

Q. If a teacher has trained overseas and has worked as a teacher for several years overseas, are they exempt from induction?
A. If the teacher is an Overseas Trained Teacher (OTT) they may need to present themselves for assessment against the QTS standards. It is worth noting that, should an OTT be assessed against the QTS standards, they can at the same time be assessed (at their request) against the Induction Standards – if they meet the Induction Standards, they will be exempt from having to do an induction support programme. For further information, please contact the Training & Development Agency Overseas Trained Teachers Advice Line on: 0845 6000 991 or emailott@tdainfo.co.uk

Q. If a teacher has not received / has lost their Teacher Reference Number (formerly DCSF Number), who do they contact?
A. A teacher’s Teacher Reference Number is issued by an organisation called CAPITA. You can contact CAPITA on:
Tel: 0845 6066 166
Email: tpdata@teacherspensions.co.uk

Q. How do NQTs find out who their named contact is at their Appropriate Body?
A. In the first instance NQTs should be able to get this information from their induction tutor or headteacher. If this is not the case, or for some reason they do not feel they can ask them, they can find out by contacting either the Independent Schools Council Teacher Induction Panel (if they are undertaking induction in an independent school that is a member) on:
Tel: 020 7766 7044
Website: www.isc.co.uk
Or, if the Appropriate Body is an LA, the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Q. Will inductees be fully competent to teach?
A. Yes, they will already have QTS. Induction is a programme of support and guidance that ensures their suitability to continue in the teaching profession. Other professions, such as medicine and law, have similar arrangements.

Q. Can part-time teachers undertake an induction programme?
A. Yes. The length of the period for part-time teachers will be calculated on a pro rata basis so that the teacher covers the equivalent of 378 school sessions. For instance, the induction period for a teacher working for 50 per cent of the time will need to last for six school terms (at a school that has a 3 term academic year).

Q. What standards will be used to assess the performance of teachers in their induction year?
A. The Core Standards apply to all NQTs. They form part of the framework of professional standards for teachers, and build upon the professional standards for the award of QTS, but are different from them in order to reflect the fact that the new teacher has moved from training to an employment setting. The Standards enable new teachers to demonstrate the progress they have made since the end of their initial teacher training. Teachers in their induction period are also expected to demonstrate that they can meet the QTS standards consistently.

Q. How will the induction period be assessed?
A. Monitoring is an important component of support and the teacher’s progress is monitored throughout the year as part of their induction support programme. This includes the informal monitoring and formative assessment that takes place on a day to day basis as well as the teacher’s self evaluation, scheduled observations and review discussions. Assessment meetings between the induction tutor and/or the headteacher and the NQT are held towards the end of each term.

Q. Can a Newly Qualified Teacher do induction in a school requiring special measures?
A. Yes, if the school has been judged to be able to provide appropriate induction supervision and training. Each school requiring special measures is informed in writing as to whether or not it is judged by OFSTED as suitable to provide an induction programme.

Q. Will terms of induction undertaken in Wales count towards induction in England?
A. Yes. The Welsh Assembly introduced statutory induction in Wales from September 2003. Any period of induction of a term or more in Wales will count towards an induction period in England (and vice versa). Please note that this is not the case for induction/probation in Northern Ireland, Eire or Scotland

Q. How is induction affected by maternity leave?

If an NQT has a break in her induction that includes statutory maternity leave, she can choose whether or not to extend induction by a period equivalent to the statutory maternity leave. Outstanding assessments should not be made until she returns to work and has the opportunity to decide whether to extend induction. Any extension request must be granted by the appropriate body.

If an NQT chooses not to extend her induction period following a period of statutory leave, her performance will still be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards. Individuals in this situation should seek advice from their head teacher/principal, induction tutor or an appropriate teacher union professional association before making this decision.

 

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ACADEMY QUESTIONS

What will happen to my pay and conditions if my school becomes an academy?

In the first instance your pay and conditions would remain the same because of the protections of TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006). These set out that staff should keep the same terms and conditions when their employment is transferred to a new employer. However, new employees can be given different pay and conditions because academy schools are not in any way bound by the national pay and conditions framework nor any agreements negotiated locally with your local authority. If the academy decides it wants to make changes, you may find yourself under pressure to agree.

What sort of changes to pay and conditions might be proposed?

All sorts of changes can be proposed. Academies do not have to apply agreed national pay scales to new staff, and may also wish to make changes for all employees. Other terms and conditions which are offered to new staff, such as sick pay, maternity pay or family leave benefits, may be different from those kept by transferred staff. Some academies introduce different working hours,
with Saturday working, longer school days, or longer school years, and not all offer any more pay for these extensions to working hours. Where an academy governing body brings in new working arrangements, it may want to extend new terms and conditions to all staff.

How short a time could it be before my school becomes an academy?

The government says this can be as little as 3 months – including the summer holiday – see The Department for Education’s website for more detail. You may know nothing about this process until the governing body has taken the step of voting to
proceed with the process to become an academy. Outrageously the Government is setting no requirement at all for consultation with either parents or staff before this step is taken. We think this lack of consultation is wrong, but if you want to stop your school becoming an academy you should approach your head and/or teacher and staff governors immediately. Your union has a right under the TUPE Regulations to be consulted on the impact of any change in the status of your school. We believe that the TUPE Regulations establish that there must be sufficient time for union reps to consult fully with members – something which cannot happen during school closure periods.

My school isn’t called ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – is becoming an academy still a threat?

The Government is concentrating on ‘outstanding’ schools in the first instance and says they are pre-approved to become academies. However any head teacher can register an interest – see the Department for Education (DfE) link above. The Secretary of State also intends to take a power to direct “underperforming” schools to become academies and suggest he may do that to some schools from September 2011.

Which types of school are under threat of becoming an academy?

All of them – the Government is concentrating in the first instance on “outstanding” primary and secondary schools. But the Government says even special schools will be able to become academies from September 2011.

Will my school have a sponsor?

The Bill is not clear but it seems that all schools with an Ofsted judgement that is less than outstanding need to have an external sponsor – a private company, charity or university etc. Outstanding schools instead set up a trust made up of some members of the governing body, which acts as the sponsor.

What happens to support from the local authority?

Becoming an academy would remove many ways in which local authorities support schools, such as their advisory services, SEN support, links to health and social care services, professional development provision and facilitation of school networks. Instead your school will be dependent on advice from a civil servant hundreds of miles away – this could matter particularly during any
emergencies which might arise – or through commercial contracts which are expensive and often unresponsive. If you are able to purchase services from the local authority these may well become more expensive as more schools become academies and local authority economies of scale are lost.

Do local authorities matter to schools and staff?

Yes they do. Local authorities facilitate schools working together through mechanisms like a School Forum, Joint Negotiating Committees and staff training arrangements. The LA is a safety net when there are problems with budgets, potential redundancy and deficit situations, problems with financial management, heads and governors getting themselves into other difficulties, complex situations around staff health, induction, training needs, disability provision, challenging parents and pupils and so on. Many secondary academies are already part of chains which charge a top-slice and try to replace the local authority.

Will my school get more freedom?

The Government has made much of local authority control over schools and presents academies as the means to much greater freedom. What it does not say, is that the Government itself would effectively take over the role of the local authority, so if you had a problem, you would have to contact Whitehall rather than the local authority education office which already knows
the school well.

Will standards rise?

There is no evidence that academies are leading to rising standards. Even if there were evidence that standards in academies in disadvantaged areas, which were previously so-called “poorly performing” schools, had risen that would not constitute evidence that they would rise yet further in “outstanding” schools. But the pressure to get even better results might well lead to damaging changes to your working hours, pay and conditions.

Will my school get more money?

The DfE will give a small grant to schools to assist with the costs associated with the conversion process (around £25,000), but apart from that the Government says that academies would be funded at a comparable level to maintained schools. The Government says the school will be better off because it would be able to spend about 7% extra currently spent on its behalf by the local authority on support services etc. However the school will still have to buy these services from somewhere else and local authorities have become much more efficient over the past decades so there will be very little if any money to
save. In fact academy schools could well have higher costs. Elsewhere in the coalition agreement the Government stresses that public services should benefit from economies of scale – for example they are requiring all prisons to have a shared HR service –
but in education they are travelling in completely the opposite direction.

Will my school get curriculum freedom?

Every school has the freedom to implement many curriculum innovations already. What prevents schools from doing so now – tests, targets, league tables and Ofsted inspections – will also be constraints on primary academies, as they will be subject to exactly the same accountability measures and, indeed, will probably be under greater pressure to perform well from Government
because of the high profile given to this policy – would the illusion of freedom be worth this additional pressure?

Can we try academy status and come back to the local authority if we don’t like it?

NO – the Government has made this a one way process – despite many academies failing Ofsted inspections etc there is no route back to the local authority.

Can we do anything about this?

All the main teacher unions (ATL, NASUWT, NUT) and support staff unions (GMB, UNISON, UNITE) are opposed to this policy and are working together to oppose it. By working together you can persuade your governors not to go down this route. Talk to other colleagues in your school about the threat that academies propose and agree to present your views to the head and governors.
Other materials are being prepared urgently that you can use to give to parents and others to help develop support. Stay in touch with your union and regularly check the campaigns section of the NUT website.

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Other Common Questions

How do I update my membership details?

Just go to the National Site and under the menu option Membership Centre, there is a link to Update your Membership.

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Where can I get a current threshold application form?

Hard copies of the application form or the Performance Threshold Standards Assessment Support Pack for Schools are no longer available. Copies of the latest model application form and the support pack are available from the DofE via this link.

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When can I resign?

Resignations: What are the official resignation dates?

Teachers, including deputy headteachers, are under two months’ notice and in the summer term, three months’ notice, terminating at the end of that school term. For the purposes of resignation, the three school terms are deemed to be:

  • the Autumn term i.e. from 1 September to 31 December inclusive;
  • the Spring term i.e. from 1 January to 30 April inclusive;
  • the Summer term i.e. from 1 May to 31 August inclusive.

Therefore, teachers giving their notice should observe the following deadlines:

  • to leave at 31 December, by no later than 31 October;
  • to leave at 30 April, by no later than 28 February;
  • to leave at 31 August, by no later than 31 May.

Headteachers are under three months’ notice and in the summer term, four months’ notice, and must, therefore, give their notice one month earlier than the above dates. Unless it is stated otherwise in the terms of their contracts, teachers resigning will be paid up to and including the last day of term as defined above.

Any members who are unable to give the required notice should be urged to contact their regional office or, in Wales the NUT Wales Office, NUT Cymru, for advice.

Pay during the Notice Period

When they resign, teachers will be paid up to and including the dates set out, even though the school will finish for the holiday periods earlier than these dates. A teacher who resigns at the end of the spring term, however, to take up another post in a different LEA, will be paid salary up to the day before the new school opens for the summer term, if this is earlier than 1 May. If a teacher is resigning at the end of the spring term and is not taking up another appointment in the summer term, the school could, and probably would, expect the teacher to be available for work up to 30 April, given that the teacher would be paid for the whole of that month.

What if the deadline for notice is missed?

Teachers who give in their notice after these deadlines will not have the automatic right to leave their post until the end of the following term. Teachers who leave their post without giving the required notice will be in breach of their contract.

In such cases, however, the strict notice requirements can still be waived, with the agreement of the school. The NUT would hope that reasonable consideration would be given to doing so.