For a trainee teacher, their on-the-job experience can be a determining factor in whether or not they go on to be a success as a full-fledged educator or turn their back on the profession having decided it’s not for them.
With research suggesting as many as four in ten trainee teachers are exiting the sector within five years of getting their qualification, it’s crucial that you’re setting them up for success, and giving them the best chance to flourish in their teaching careers.
It goes without saying that all schools want to give their trainee teacher the best possible experience, but with school life busier than it’s ever been, it pays to have some structure in place. Here are some ways you can ensure that your trainee teachers leave – or stay as ECTs, if recruitment allows – with a feeling that they are ready for all that the industry has to throw at them:
1. Schedule some study time into their timetable
When scheduling timetables, spend a little longer mapping out your trainee’s rota, ensuring they have enough non-lesson time to complete their 20% off-the-job training. That might mean giving them extra time between lessons to prepare, with other staff filling in the gaps.
It is the employer’s/training provider’s duty to ensure that they are allocated this time, as per the Education and Skills Funding Agency's rules.
While there is some discussion around whether the 20% rule is now somewhat outmoded – with some, including Ofsted, believing that counting the hours of off-the-job training is not in itself an indicator of quality – it does at least give trainee teachers an opportunity to breathe and take stock.
2. Choose their mentor wisely
There are mentors, and there are mentors. Some are made for the role, taking pride in guiding an inexperienced member of staff, whereas others see it as something of a chore; yet another thing to think about on top of their already bursting workload.
So, when picking who is best placed to mentor your trainee teacher, give it adequate time and thought. Don’t take any chances, for reasons which we outlined at the start of the blog – this is likely to prove a defining experience for trainees, and a great mentor can be the difference between a good and bad year.
3. Get them involved in all of it
While you need to be mindful of your trainee’s time, it’s important to involve them in as much as possible so that they can pick up valuable insights into how school works as an organisation.
From being a part of meetings to attending conferences, it’s about giving trainees an opportunity to feel comfortable in their surroundings, develop their understanding and, where appropriate, share their learnings and unique experience.
4. Arrange regular progress reviews
Building confidence can be a tough ask for a trainee teacher, who, for the first time in their lives, is having to command a classroom of children – some of whom might use the trainee’s inexperience against them…
Regular check-ins are a great way of providing some much-needed reassurance, while helping trainees prepare for observation and end-point assessment.
It’s important that you don’t lose sight of how much time and energy your trainee is investing whilst learning on the job at your school – providing a level of support and care to match.
Get it right and you might not only be able to say that you’ve played a pivotal part in a teacher’s career, but potentially on-boarded a brilliant new educator.
However, you can’t guarantee that every trainee teacher will want to stay at your school – nor can guarantee that you’ll have the room to accommodate them in a full-time role.
Your recruitment needs to be strategic, to ensure you’re engaging the right candidates at the right time. Here at Eteach, we offer a number of recruitment solutions to help you do exactly that.
Our software will transform the way you attract, recruit and on-board teaching talent. From editing software to instantly give your school career site a makeover, to learning where your candidates come from with our built-in reporting suite, our technology can do wonders for your recruitment efforts.