Mentors and teacher training
Your initial teacher training course is a programme of professional education and training. Ofsted’s inspection framework for initial teacher education sets out expectations for a system based on high-quality training and support for trainees. The capacity of the school to provide high-quality mentoring, and to access academic support, is vital to the success of all new teachers.
You should expect the following:
Access to good quality mentoring, teaching, supervision and tutorial support
This should be delivered by appropriately experienced, qualified and trained staff, including expert mentors.
Regular, preferably weekly, meetings with your mentor
These should provide appropriate feedback on your teaching and the opportunity to comment on any difficulties you are experiencing.
You should expect mentoring which is both phase specific (related to the age groups you are working with) and subject specific.
An entitlement to additional support if you are making less than satisfactory progress
There should be clear indication of targets to be met.
A right to request a change of mentor by mutual agreement
Having a good relationship with a supportive mentor, who has time to work with you, is key to your success as a trainee. Your school or training provider should have a clear and supportive process for addressing issues if you do not feel comfortable with your current mentor or mentoring programme.
Teach First mentor support
If you are a Teach First trainee, you should be assigned a mentor from Teach First in addition to in-school support. The Teach First mentor will act as the first port of call for trainees if they have any concerns about their in-school support,
and trainee members can contact the NEU at any time for advice by speaking to their rep or contacting the union AdviceLine (email [email protected] or call 0345 811 8111).
Access to resources
Appropriate research should be included, to support you in your learning and teaching.
Access to a training programme arranged by your school
It should include subject-based pedagogy and training in assessment and behaviour management, as well as access to all Inset day and training opportunities provided to other teachers at the school.
A broad learning experience
This should include the observation of good teaching.
Recognition that trainees should not be subject to the same level of expectations as qualified teachers
It is not fair or realistic to expect the same standards, particularly in terms of responsibility and performance, from a teacher in training to that of an experienced teacher with QTS.
Appropriate support in managing behaviour in the classroom
Your mentor or line manager should provide you with the behaviour management policy for the school or college and in some schools will also provide in-house training.
It is important to get behaviour right from the start so do not be afraid
to ask for support and advice from colleagues. All teachers experience behaviour management issues in their class at different points in their career, and new teachers are no different.
The NEU runs behaviour management courses specifically for student members and ECTs (Early Career Teachers).
Tips on managing behaviour are also available.
Access to counselling service
Teaching, and training to teach, can be immensely challenging and stressful at times and your school has a duty to look after you and all employees.
If your employer/placement school provides access to a counselling service, you should be entitled to access this during your training. If you do not have access to an employer-funded counselling service, you may contact the Education Support Partnership.