Who watches the Watchmen?

By Wednesday, March 25, 2015 No tags Permalink

When it comes to ensuring effective Initial Teacher Training (ITT), schools are becoming more responsible for ensuring that new teachers receive a high level of training from skilled mentors and other professionals with whom they have contact thanks to ongoing changes led by the government.

All Saints Catholic School is a Roman Catholic comprehensive located in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. We have undertaken a 

qualitative survey to inform how schools can support teachers who are in their training year to acquire Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 

This survey has informed a research paper that seeks to enhance the experience of beginning teachers and enable schools to offer effective ITT by highlighting what makes an effective mentoring experience. Following the London Leadership Strategy and GLA Power of Hubs conference (link to article), we wanted to share our school-based research with the wider teaching community.

Beginning teachers identified four main points that enable them to progress. They need constant feedback on their progress, regular observations on their lessons, they must be able to learn from their mistakes and they need their mentor to understand that (especially at first) they are not near the level of a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).

Mentors were asked what support they require in order for them to be effective in their role. They highlighted that they wanted to be able to discuss issues as and when they come up with other mentors and have the full co-operation of their department. 

They identified that they need to have support and advice from the ITT provider and to be kept up to date with any changes to the ITT provision. Importantly, they need time to be able to carry out their role effectively and efficiently.

The report has recommended that a training and vetting procedure for prospective mentors is put in place – mentors should want to do the job rather than have it thrust upon them.

Beginning teachers and their mentors should have allocated time to run mentoring sessions in their timetables and to set up a forum for mentors to meet regularly as a group. This time can be used effectively for ongoing training and sharing of good practice.

Read the report in full here.

If you have further questions, email Terry Portch on


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