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Here are the answers to some common questions posed by NQTs over recent years.
What if I am absent due to illness during my induction year?
If you are absent from work for 30 or more school days in the induction period, your induction period is extended by the aggregate total of absences.
What if I have to take statutory maternity leave during the induction period?
You should seek advice from ATL (if you are a member) as soon as you know that you are pregnant. You are able, on an entirely voluntary basis, to request an extension of your induction period and your request cannot be refused. ATL would usually advise NQTs in this position to request an extension.
You do not have to have your induction period extended by the period of your absence on statutory maternity leave but you will not have successfully completed induction and will no longer be eligible to teach if you do not (unless your headteacher tells you that he or she will be in a position to inform the appropriate body, ie the local authority (LA)/ISCTIP, that you have satisfactorily completed the induction requirements).
Your induction year can be hard work, and new teachers sometimes wonder if they can continue teaching at their school but just take a break from their induction tasks. Elizabeth Holmes, author of ATL’s publication Apply yourself!, offers the following advice.
It's fine for you to do non-inductable short-term supply work during any break that you take as long as it doesn't take you over your four-term limit. It might be worth spending some time thinking about why you would like to take a break. Are you managing your workload OK or could you do with some help in that area? Once you have started induction, if you are in an inductable post for the foreseeable future it's well worth ploughing on with it if at all possible. Take a break and you might lose momentum, so unless it's absolutely vital it's wise to carry on. It's really common to feel overwhelmed at some stage of the induction year. There's a lot to get through and it can be emotionally as well as physically exhausting.
If you feel as though you'd like to call a halt to it all, do talk to your induction tutor about how you are feeling. Aim to work out where you can release some time for yourself to restore some work-life balance.
This text is taken from page 61 of Elizabeth Holmes’ book FAQs for NQTs: Practical advice and working solutions for newly qualified teachers. (2006) Routledge. Hardback ISBN: 0415367956; price £65 Paperback ISBN 0415367964; price £16.99.
ATL is here to help
ATL wants to ensure that you have every opportunity for a productive and successful induction period, so do make use of all the advice and help that we can offer on any issue that concerns you. If you haven’t joined ATL, remember that it’s free to students and as a newly qualified member of ATL, you won’t pay anything for your first 18 months.
Your ATL representative at your school
Your first port of call should be your ATL representative. Your representative will be able to offer you practical and personal support, and can be an invaluable colleague in helping you to understand the organisational culture of your school, the personalities of those responsible for your induction, and perhaps even the ‘background politics’ which could influence the support you receive.
If you do not know your ATL representative, please contact your local branch secretary.
Your local ATL branch
Your branch secretary can provide help and advice from a local angle, especially on the guidance and expectations your LA will have for its NQTs, and will have details of the named contact for NQTs.
If you do not know the name/telephone number of your ATL branch secretary, please contact ATL on 020 7930 6441.
Help and support
For further advice on this issue, ATL members can speak to their school rep, their branch secretary or their regional official. They can also call the London (020 7930 6441), Cardiff (029 2046 5000) or Belfast office (02890 327 990) or email email@example.com.
For out of hours enquiries, call the out of office hours helpline on 020 7782 1612 (Monday-Friday, 5-8pm during term time).
If you are not a member, join now.