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School-based teacher training: Your rights and expectations

Training to teach should be a positive and transformative experience which equips you with the skills you need to embark on one of the most rewarding careers you can choose. 


School-based Initial Teacher Training (ITT) routes are used by approximately half of those working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This guide to your rights and what you can expect as a school-based trainee teacher has been produced to help you to get the most out of your teacher training experience.

This guide focuses on school-based ITT routes in England.

Starting out

Starting out in teaching can be daunting so it is important that your school makes the time to properly welcome you to the workplace, guide you around the site and answer practical questions you might have.

As a school-based trainee, you should:

Receive an induction pack

This should include information about safeguarding procedures and the name of the designated safeguarding lead, pupil behaviour policy and the name of the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo), bullying and harassment policy, equality and diversity policy, health and safety information, and the names of trade union representatives.

Receive a statement of particulars of employment within two months of beginning your role (salaried routes only)

Your written particulars might be included in your letter of appointment or given to you as a separate document.

The statement should contain:

  • your job title
  • your rate of pay and how often you will be paid
  • the hours you will work
  • your entitlements in relation to holiday pay
  • sick pay
  • notice pay
  • pension and any collective agreements which directly affect your terms and conditions of employment.

If there is a change to any of the terms in your statement of particulars, your employer should let you know in writing within a month of the change, and any changes made with your agreement.

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.

Your rights in school

As a school-based trainee, you have the following entitlements:

Full and equal access to your trade union and support in being an active member

When you start your training, you are welcome to seek advice and support from the NEU. It is very likely that the union has a rep in your workplace so seek them out and introduce yourself if you have not already met them.

No requirement to provide classroom cover except in exceptional circumstances

The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) states that: “Teachers should be required to provide cover only rarely, and only in circumstances that are not foreseeable (this does not apply to teachers who are employed wholly or mainly for the purpose of providing such cover).” This should apply to all teachers and trainee teachers, including trainees, regardless of route, equally.

No expectation to routinely undertake admin and clerical tasks

This includes, but is not limited to, help with putting up posters and displays and bulk photocopying.

A right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment

Teachers are protected from discrimination in employment on grounds of age, disability,

marital or civil partnership status, maternity/pregnancy, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment (protected characteristics), trade union membership or activity, and by reason of working part-time or on a fixed-term contract. It is unlawful for employers to discriminate in recruitment or selection procedures, or to treat employees differently, in ways that amount to direct or indirect discrimination.

Discrimination might occur, for instance, in promotion opportunities or training; access to benefits or services; in disciplinary, grievance or other procedures; or in dismissal or other detrimental treatment. Teachers are protected from direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment.

Employers must take steps to avoid discrimination in contractual terms and working practices, and should take steps to prevent teachers from being harassed by colleagues, parents and pupils. Further, good employers should take an inclusive approach, ensuring that their employment practices are supportive and widen access to opportunity for under-represented groups, for example Black workers or those with caring responsibilities.

For more information about discrimination and harassment, speak with your workplace rep or visit our Equality advice. 

Pay and conditions (salaried routes only)

As a school-based trainee, you are entitled to the following:

The same terms, conditions, and entitlements as other teachers at the school/academy (salaried routes only)

These include, but are not limited to, the same rights as colleagues to teachers’ sickness and maternity rights and other leave of absence rights.

For more information, go to our Advice content

Pay derived from the teacher pay scales (salaried routes only)

During your period of training, you will be employed by the school, college or local authority as an unqualified teacher. The salary you receive will be dependent on the school you apply to and the subject you wish to teach. However, you will usually be paid as an unqualified teacher on point one or above of the unqualified teacher scale

Full-time pay for full-time work (salaried routes only)

Salaried trainees are normally paid on the unqualified teacher pay scales. However, some trainees have been told that because they have a reduced timetable, they will be paid only a percentage of the full-time salary. For example, some employers might say that if you have 80 per cent of the teaching timetable, you will be paid 0.8 full-time equivalent (FTE) on the unqualified teacher pay scales. The NEU completely rejects this. You work a reduced teaching timetable because you are learning on the job and need space to manage your time as both a teacher and a student. You should not be made to suffer a diminution in pay because of this.

Full-time pay for full-time work (Teach First)

Teach First trainees on early years and primary courses are timetabled no more than 60 percent of a normal teacher’s teaching load. The same points apply as above regarding teaching load as appropriate to a trainee, and should not be considered a part-time role.

A right to access the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (salaried routes only)

As a salaried trainee you are eligible to join the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) and will have the same rights and entitlements as other teachers in relation to the scheme. We strongly encourage eligible teachers to join the TPS. It is a major step towards securing your financial future – don’t opt out! Further information on the TPS

Teaching no more than 80 per cent of a full-time teachers’ timetable with no less than 20 per cent planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time

The NEU is committed to reducing workload for all teachers and believes that new teachers especially should be given additional protected time to plan and prepare for the classroom.

Your union will support you if your training course does not meet these standards

If you believe that your school or training provider is currently not meeting these minimum

expectations, you should speak to your workplace rep or local NEU officer. If you do not know who your rep or local NEU officer is, visit the Contact us page or call us on 0345 811 8111.

You should also speak to other school-based trainees at your workplace and make them aware of this document. The NEU can help organise a meeting so you and other new teachers can talk about your experiences and start making positive changes.

Go to the new teachers page or download the NEU app from your app store for more information

and advice about starting out in teaching.

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