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Advice needed from experienced NQT Mentor


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Hello I was just wondering if anyone could offer any advice? Last term we employed a teacher temporarily to cover the Easter Term (until someone comes back after maternity leave). During interview the teacher stated that she needed to finish off her last term of her NQT year and would the school support her. My head asked me to mentor her as I have a lot of experience mentoring trainee teachers etc so I agreed. I got her file ready etc and at our first meeting discovered that the situation was a bit more complex than expected! She completed her first two terms of her NQT year 3 years ago?! And has been working for a supply agency ever since. My head contacted somebody from the LA who deals with NQTs to check that this was okay (and it was) and then we carried on from there. The problem is after her first half term with us there have been significant problems with her teaching, classroom management etc. I check and support her with paper work and assessment weekly so that's okay, but in terms of everything else I think she may be a cause for concern. I have done lesson observations and arranged for her to observe experienced teachers and even sent her to other schools to observe, we have weekly meetings and I see her every night after school to see how her days been. I just feel like I am giving her all I can but there doesn't seem to be any improvement. She is very aware about her targets and what she needs to do to achieve them- but is still struggling. I think I need to get somebody from the LA to come in and observe/support, as I am worried she might fail and I really don't want her too!! Has anybody been in a similar situation? If so what is the process for cause for concern NQTs?

Lumpty x

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You need to be flagging this up to the "appropriate body", which is probably the LA. The NQT induction manager will know all the legalities around this.

You need to be ensuring you are working to the Teaching standards in your discussions with her. Have you been very specific with her about her work not meeting the standards and being a cause for concern? If this is her third assessment period then I would suspect you will be filling out her final assessment report soon and if this hasn't been clearly identified then she might have grounds to challenge it. What did her previous reports assess her as? Again the NQT manager will be able to access any previous information through the management system they use.

Her passing or failing is the judgement of the school as part of the assessment process. It will all be in the official paperwork you need to complete and send in.

Talk to the LA NQT manager!!

Cx

Edited by catma
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Thank you Catma. Yes, I have been following the standards- referring back to them each week at our meeting and taking clear targets from them- giving clear expectations of how these standards are met. I keep a record of all meeting/ observation/ training she has been involved with and also keep a diary of any informal observations/ comments that maybe useful. She is encouraged to collect evidence towards her standards also. I have spoken to my head about this as she conducted a paired observation with me before half term (so I could confirm that my judgement was fair) and I think that she is going to contact the LA for me. The only thing is because she is only short term out head did not buy into the NQT package- so will this effect the process? Or will we be able to buy into support when we need it?

Sorry for all the questions!!! Im very aware that time is crucial and something needs to be done ASAP. Her last reports show that she is working at a satisfactory level. Most observations have been satisfactory, but her last observation (with the head) is requires improvement. Also informal observations by the head, myself, colleagues of her general class practice are unsatisfactory. Whenever there is an issue I discuss it with her. She is very aware of what she needs to improve on and always tells me if something goes wrong- so she is trying. I try my best to give her the positives also! She is very good with paperwork, working to deadlines, attending meetings after school etc. it is just her actual teaching. She can produce an excellent plan- but then doesn't follow it. Also would I be notified if she had any other issues (I.e. autism, dyslexia)? She gets very easily distracted by objects (if Im talking to her) and can take things I say literally and also can be very obsessive about things that belong in her classroom. She struggles with sharing resources with other classes and always requests that she has her own for her class. Also she can be very abrupt when talking to other colleagues (although I know she doesn't mean too). She also struggles to see things that are right in front of her and can only focus on one thing at a time (the class could be having a riot but she appears to not even notice if she is speaking to a child). Our school Senco also asked me if she had any SENs that we are aware of- without me even mentioning it to her. Is this information something that we would know? Or would it be private and confidential? Im just concerned that her needs may go deeper?

Sorry about the extra long reply!! But thank you as always Catma for your support and advice!

Lumpty x

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Hi,

You don't have to buy into NQT support packages but you do have to follow the statutory assessment processes - the 2 are a bit different. The LA may do both or may not. I often have staff in their second year who have passed their NQT year, but moved to EYFS so they come on my NQT sessions and are charged individually for the sessions.

It sounds like you have been doing pretty much everything you would need to demonstrate. It's tough, but by saying someone meets the standards they are saying this person is capable of consistently meeting the standards. I've had to pick up several practitioners in the past who have been passed through NQT year but really cannot do it.Some have subsequently gone through capability procedures. Being rigorous in their induction would have saved a lot of pain and distress for a lot of other people (not to mention the children getting a duff deal every day).

My concerns would be raised a little, in that she has only done 2 terms of her NQT year and then not finished it...was she causing concern and so left before she would be failed and therefore wouldn't be qualified for maintained schools? I really think getting information about her previous 2 terms assessments would be quite important. She's also had a lot of other experience in her supply time, but can't yet meet the standards consistently well enough...would she if she didn't have the level of support you are giving?

As for concerns around her behaviours - if she had specific disabilities wouldn't this be part of your recruitment/induction processes, even if she is agency?

Cx

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Thank you again for your very useful reply!! Her last school had an inspection and became a requires improvement school so couldn't keep her on. I would have to enquire about our schools recruitment procedures as Im not sure but she has gone through our usual induction process but there isn't anything included about disabilities etc? But I will follow your advice and contact the LA. Without my support I really don't think she would be able to cope. She has expressed that she would rather go back to supply as this is easier as she doesn't have the responsibility for long term planning and also setting up and managing a classroom (displays etc).

Lumpty x

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