Member Blog: 11th March 2019

Reducing workload around planning: a strategic response to trainee drop-outs

 

Juliet Pearce

Director, Hampshire LEARN SCITT Partnership

 

The Hampshire LEARN SCITT Partnership was accredited in March 2014 so we are now in our fifth year of operation. In 2016, we had our first Ofsted inspection and were graded as Outstanding. Typically, we have about 30 secondary trainees each year based in about 12 schools across Hampshire. This year, we have also started a small primary programme.

As is the case with all providers, we are focused on outcomes for trainees and our completion rate for the first four years was 95-96%. Then, last year, we had a real wobble with six out of 35 trainees withdrawing from the programme by February half-term. Naturally, this really focused my mind! Our recruitment process is robust (endorsed as such by Ofsted and the trainees each year in the NQT survey) and we had done nothing different to previous years.

I wrote a case study for each trainee who withdrew, trying to identify any issues. Three English trainees (two who had just graduated and one who had been on a gap year) withdrew within a very short time of each other, stating as their reason that they wanted a job with more regular hours – this despite the fact that they had all volunteered in our partner schools on a regular basis during their final year at university so should have had some insight into a teacher’s working life. This gave me my first warning about workload.

In addition to this, I had to implement some interventions with a few trainees who were struggling with the development of their practice and it was clear that poor planning was at the root of their problems with behaviour management and pupil progress. Those trainees were in departments where there were no shared lesson plans.

I had been impressed by the DfE’s papers on reducing teacher workload (March 2016) which made complete sense to me and I had highlighted these documents to members of the SCITT’s Strategic Group as examples of good practice at the time they were published.

However, I realised I needed to be more proactive about ensuring that workload expectations regarding planning were consistent across our partnership schools so I wrote a document ‘Expectations of Trainees’ Planning’ which was accepted by our Strategic Group in June 2018 for implementation in September. It set out term-by-term the Partnership’s expectations of trainees and the support they could expect so that all trainees had the same entitlement and were supported in the early stages of the programme, enabling them to progress to being independent by the end of the training programme.

Our trainees completed their second placements before the February half-term break and have now returned to their home schools for the rest of the programme. I have got a horrible feeling that I am tempting fate by making this statement but all 35 trainees who started in September are still on the programme and I am optimistic of 100% completion rate.

I know that there will be multiple reasons why completion will be better this year but I am sure that reducing workload around planning will have helped. I am very happy to share our ‘Expectation of Trainees’ Planning’ document: just email me at j.pearce@learnalliance.org.uk.


 

Provider details: Hampshire LEARN SCITT Partnership

Website: https://learnalliance.org.uk/scitt/

Twitter: @HantsLEARNSCITT

 

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