Sink or Swim? Learning Lessons from Newly Qualified and Recently Qualified Teachers
This report published in 2009 is part of an-going stream of research commissioned by the NASUWT over a number of years on the issue of behaviour in the classroom and its affects on teachers’ abilities to teach. PRCI conducted this research on behalf of the NASUWT which looks at the training and support received by new and recently qualified teachers and the impact this has on teacher confidence and career commitment, there were 3,623 responses to the questionnaire’s distributed.
The research is a longitudal study over a period of 5 years, the purpose of this length of time being, that this is seen as the critical period when most of those who decide to leave the profession do so.
Some of the key findings of the research include;
• poor management practice within schools has a significant impact on teachers’ experiences and retention in the profession.
• the absence of school wide behaviour management policies.
• the use of in-school referral systems for reporting behavioural issues being viewed negatively by senior management. This results in anxiety amongst teachers who believe their use of referral systems will encourage a view of them amongst their SMT as teachers that can’t cope.
• the training received on behaviour management both on ITT and in school is insufficient and doesn’t prepare teachers for dealing with behavioural issues in the classroom.
The report also highlighted that low level pupil behaviour was very common, but that more disruptive behaviour such as walking out of class, swearing, shouting, walking on furniture and throwing equipment was not rare and for some interviewees occurred on a weekly basis. This kind of behaviour and the lack of coherent school based policies to deal with it will have a serious affect on retention of teachers and our research has highlighted that those teachers who had experienced physical violence were less likely to stay in the profession for longer than 5 years.
Those taking part in the research felt that the training they received was most dissatisfying in the following areas;
• managing workload
• managing SEN
• behaviour management
• dealing with parents
• the delivery of non specialist subjects
• being able to identify and support children with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties
It was also indicated that training provided in those areas described above hasn’t really improved over the last 5 years.
In conclusion there are a number of recommendations that the report makes;
• on-going training and support is essential after the NQT year if teachers are to be retained in the long term.
• there is a requirement for good quality behaviour management training once teachers are in post.
• a best practice example of a behaviour policy should be made available to all schools to replicate.
• the use of in-school referral systems should be viewed positively not as a sign of weakness.
• success stories of best practice in tackling poor behaviour should be identified and replicated.