The candidate you interviewed back in the summer ticked all the boxes. They had bags of experience, top credentials, boundless energy and were keen to be part of your team. But, several months down the line, your promising new recruit isn’t living up to expectations.
If this sounds familiar, it could be time to give your teacher induction process an overhaul.
Here’s my checklist for successful teacher induction that will get your new recruits off to a flying start.
Have you covered all the bases?
No two schools are the same, and any new member of staff needs to know how things are done in your school, whether they’re an NQT or a senior leader with 20 years’ experience under their belt.
It’s not enough to hand a new teacher a pile of policy documents and send them on their way. Schedule some time to run through your school’s policies on safeguarding, HR and equality & diversity, and introduce the teacher to the key people involved.
While some aspects will be common to all schools, your school may do certain things differently and new teachers need to know what these are and have the opportunity to ask questions.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that from April, you’ll need to provide a new employee with their contract of employment either before or on the day they start work.
Is the process easy and accessible?
To protect your school and to ensure your employees are fully on board, you’ll need evidence they’ve read and understood all the documentation, and some schools ask new joiners for signed copies.
This can seem like a mountain of paperwork for a new teacher, and a time-consuming task for the school. But there are ways to speed up the process, such as our staff induction app.
A new teacher can access documents on their smartphone or tablet during a quiet moment at home, on the train or in the café. You can then access data that confirms it has been read and understood.
Are your school’s expectations clear?
Put yourself in a new teacher’s shoes. Starting a new job is never easy, but when you’re not sure if your outfit meets the dress code, when you can make a personal call or how to report a safeguarding incident, it can be the stuff of nightmares.
If a new teacher isn’t familiar with your school’s code of conduct, they can be left floundering.
Teachers need the confidence to make decisions that reflect your school’s culture, rules and ethos, so make these clear. For instance, if you expect teachers to set homework or join in with costumes on World Book Day, let them know.
There are some hard and fast rules that most teachers are aware of, such as not using personal mobile phones to take photos of activities. But if you don’t spell this out, it can be difficult to hold someone to account if they break these rules.
Is there ongoing support?
A whole term has gone by and your new recruit has struggled to fit in, made several slip-ups and seems like a fish out of water. They may simply need more of a helping hand as they progress in their role.
Consider matching new teachers with a more experienced or longer serving buddy who can mentor them through their first year with you.
It might be worth thinking about the new teacher’s personal circumstances too. Have they relocated for this job and are finding it difficult to settle? Some nuggets of advice on good places to shop, eat and explore could go a long way towards boosting their well-being.
By refreshing your school’s induction process and building in measures to offer lasting support, your new recruit could be shining by the summer term.