Support for Beginning Teachers Publications
The ageing teacher workforce and increased demands for secondary teachers, both domestically and internationally, mean that retention of beginning teachers is an important factor in effectively managing and maintaining teacher supply.
Author(s): Margery Renwick, Research, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: December 2001
This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box). For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.
Beginning teachers are paid a full-time salary on the agreed collective salary scale at the level commensurate with their qualifications and experience. A school employing a beginning teacher, however, is eligible for an additional staffing entitlement of 0.2 equivalent of a full-time teaching entitlement for the first year of employment as a permanent teacher.
The purpose of this additional entitlement is to assist the school to support the beginning teacher. It is often used to reduce the staffing load of a beginning teacher to 80% of a full load and provide time for the beginning teacher to attend professional development seminars, to attend networking groups of beginning teachers or to undertake observations of teaching practice.
In primary schools, the school can determine how this additional entitlement can best be used to meet it and the beginning teacher's needs. In addition, as most teachers have no time when they are not required to be teaching their class, the 0.2 staffing entitlement is often shared between the tutor/supervising teacher and the beginning teacher. This allows the tutor/supervising teacher to be freed from their own class for some spells to work with the beginning teacher. It is intended that the advice and guidance programme will be planned together by the beginning teacher, the tutor/supervising teacher and the school according to the individual needs of the teacher and the practicalities of the school situation.1
In secondary schools, use of the 0.2 staffing entitlement is prescribed in the collective employment agreement. The Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement states that, in addition to the above conditions, beginning teachers shall not have more than 20 hours of allocated duties during normal school hours each week.
Therefore beginning secondary teachers should have this time directly for their own release from class contact, with 0.2 less class contact time than a teacher who is not in their first year. A supervising teacher is not therefore entitled to use this 0.2 entitlement to be released from his or her own teaching. However, all secondary teachers do have some non-class contact time, and those in a supervisory role may have additional time allocated by the school for these responsibilities.
The Teacher Registration Board's booklet Information for Newly Registered Teachers (1997) is sent to all teachers with their first practising certificate and offers guidelines and suggestions for their advice and guidance programme.
New Zealand Research
New Zealand is one of relatively few countries which have a state-funded teacher induction programme, but the induction programme itself has not been subject to regular and systematic review and evaluation. Since 1990 only one study, undertaken by the Teacher Registration Board, has attempted to describe the current situation with regard to the induction of New Zealand teachers' by surveying first and second year teachers in all New Zealand schools (Mansell, R. 1996). A second account of teacher induction in New Zealand (Moskowitz, J. and Kennedy, S. 1997) is included in a report on teacher induction in countries of the Pacific Rim prepared for the Asia-Pacific Economic Development (APEC) Education Forum. (Moskowitz, J. and Stephens, M. eds. 1997)
A number of other studies and reports during the last decade have focused on beginning teachers and their preparation for the classroom, usually as part of an evaluation of initial programmes of teacher education. In most of these studies there is a section devoted to the induction process or reference made to the in-school support of beginning teachers. (Cameron, M. and Grudnoff, L. (1993); Clement, M.(2000); Education Review Office (1999); Gray, A. and Renwick, M. (1998); Lang, C. (1996, 1999); Meek, B. (1998/99); Renwick, M. and Gray, A. (1997); Renwick, M. (2001); Renwick, M. and Vize, J. (1993)).
All of these studies emphasise the fact that initial programmes of teacher education can never fully prepare a beginning teacher for the classroom. When beginning teachers are appointed to their first teaching position it is as provisionally registered teachers. In order to become a registered teacher they have to participate in an appropriate advice and guidance programme under the supervision of a registered teacher and be appraised in terms of their professional knowledge, practice, and relationships. In the context of a self-regulating teaching profession, individual schools are responsible for the advice and guidance programmes for their beginning teachers. Beginning teachers and their tutor/supervising teachers are expected to negotiate an advice and guidance programme to meet the needs of individual beginning teachers and their school.
Issues to do with support for beginning teachers raised in the studies referred to above and relevant for the present study include:
- The first year of teaching, sometimes described as 'the survival year', is invariably challenging and stressful. Induction programmes are an important way of assisting the transition from graduate student to practicing teacher, promoting personal and professional confidence. Induction programmes may have an impact on teacher retention.
- The 0.2 additional entitlement is a system which clearly works well in many schools. However, there are variations in the nature and quality of advice and guidance programmes for beginning teachers, including the use made of the 0.2 additional entitlement. Contributing factors can be the locality and size of the school, complexity of timetables in secondary schools, as well as the availability of relief teachers.
- Beginning teachers get support from many sources including family and friends and other staff but the support they receive from their tutor/supervising teacher is of crucial importance.
- The majority of beginning teachers are very positive about the support they receive from their tutor/supervising teacher.
- One reason for the success of induction programmes is that there is a good deal of collegiality amongst school staff and more experienced teachers regard it as part of their professional responsibility to pass on their professional knowledge to less experienced teachers. This can be a two-way process with the more recently trained beginning teachers also contributing professional knowledge.
- There appear to be differences between primary and secondary beginning teachers in their attitude towards the effectiveness of their advice and guidance programme. Primary beginning teachers are more likely to regard their experience positively. Primary beginning teachers are also likely to have more time devoted to their advice and guidance programme than their secondary counterparts.
- Tutor teachers vary in their experience and expertise. While some have taken part in voluntary courses relating to their responsibilities, others would like more support and guidance in their role.
- There are few linkages between providers of initial programmes of teacher education and their students once they have graduated.
The aim of the research described in this report was to gather feedback from primary and secondary beginning teachers on their experiences and their perceived effectiveness of the advice and guidance programmes provided for them.
The research will add current data to that provided by previous New Zealand research on the experiences of beginning teachers. It will also provide a basis for evaluation of current support for beginning teachers and possible development of future teacher supply policy initiatives to support and retain beginning teachers.
The Resourcing Division within the Ministry of Education has a database of all schools who claim the 0.2 allowance for their beginning teachers. The database provides information about the school, each teacher's name, whether they were full-time or part-time when the school began claiming the 0.2 allowance for the beginning teacher, and when the beginning teacher's first year finishes. Some of the beginning teachers on the database had, at the time the survey was being designed, already completed their first year.
As the survey focused on the type of support beginning teachers were currently receiving, it was agreed to sample beginning teaches who were entitled to the 0.2 allowance at the time the survey was undertaken (i.e. those still in their first year of teaching). Beginning teachers whose 'end of entitlement date' on the Resourcing database was 31/7/01 or earlier were excluded. Part-time beginning teachers were also excluded.From the database, 1,828 beginning teachers were eligible to be sampled (1,173 in primary schools and 655 in secondary and composite schools2
). A random sample of 25% of beginning teachers in primary schools (N = 291) and 40% of beginning teachers in secondary and composite schools (N = 265) were selected. The primary sample included 59 teachers in 43 intermediate schools, 113 teachers in 105 full primary schools, 112 teachers in 100 contributing schools and 7 teachers in 5 special schools. The secondary sample included 28 teachers in 26 composite schools and 237 teachers in 134 secondary schools. Questionnaires were sent directly to the beginning teachers.3A letter detailing the survey was also sent to the principals of the schools where the beginning teachers were teaching.
Two hundred and twenty nine completed questionnaires were returned by beginning teachers in primary schools. This represented a 79% response rate. Two hundred and eight beginning teachers in secondary schools, and 21 beginning teachers in composite schools responded. In the analysis of data which follows, composite and secondary schools have been combined. As for primary schools, the combined figures for beginning teachers in composite and secondary schools was 229. This represented a response rate of 86%.
- Effective from the 2002 school year an allowance of $500 per annum will be introduced for a fully-registered teacher (excluding a principal, deputy principal or assistant principal) who tutors a provisionally registered teacher or teachers of at least 0.8 full-time equivalence through to full registration.
- Composite (area) schools may have students from year 1 to year 15. Restricted composites may have students from year 7 to year 10.
- The questionnaire had been prepared by the Ministry of Education. For a copy of the questionnaire see Appendix I
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