New teachers who fail face lifelong ban

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The Independent Online
NEWLY QUALIFIED teachers who fail to meet new national standards after a year will be sacked within 10 days and effectively barred for life from working in English state schools. New teachers will be inspected in the classroom every six weeks as part of an "induction year" for staff which comes into force today.

Teachers will have their performance reviewed by senior staff every half term and face formal appraisals by headteachers each term. The assessments will include written reports about classroom skills and measures of exam performance, according to guidelines published yesterday.

Teachers who fail cannot repeat their induction year, and so cannot be registered as a state school teacher, although trainees will have a right of appeal against the decision.

Estelle Morris, the Education Minister, said: "By giving new teachers the support and time to develop their skills we will raise the standards of those entering the profession. I expect most teachers to complete the induction period successfully but those who do not will not be eligible to teach in our schools.

"It is important that we give teachers the time and support to consolidate their skills."

The 12-month induction replaces the "probationary year", which was abolished by the Conservatives in 1991. At present there is no formal assistance for staff once they leave training college.

Under the new rules, all new teachers will have an experienced teacher to act as a tutor, who will sit in on lessons and offer advice and training. New staff will be given about three hours a week for on-the-job training. It will include watching experienced staff and advanced-skills "superteachers" in action to help improve performance, and could involve trips to high- performing "beacon" schools. Failing schools will have to have permission to take on newly qualified staff.

Teachers must show that they can maintain "high expectations of pupil discipline" and "set clear targets for improvement of pupils' achievement". They also have to plan ahead and report to parents.

The targets for new teachers echo plans for new annual appraisals, due to be introduced next year as part of the Government's proposals for reforming teachers' pay.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, welcomed the new measures, but said it was unfair to judge teachers by exam results so early in their career. He said: "We have to check things very carefully in teachers' first year so that we minimise the problem of teacher incompetence. But we would raise a big question mark over the link to pupil performance for a teacher in their first year."