This book aims to support people in their first five years of teaching, traditionally a time when many feel a little lost and neglected after the intensity of the training and induction years. Its concern is with early professional development (EPD) - a term which because of the EPD pilots which had earmarked funding, has become associated with the second and third years of a teacher's career. My use of 'early' professional development is broader, covering the first five years. So, this book will be useful to any teacher in their second to fifth year in the profession. I've written about induction in the Insider's Guide for New Teachers, but much of what this book contains will also be useful to newly qualified teachers (NQTs).
So why do teachers in their first five years need help with their professional development? Ofsted's reports (2003) say that because the quality of training has improved, schools now have the best NQTs ever. Excellent! However, not all who train end up working as teachers. Only 83 per cent of those who get qualified teacher status (QTS) through primary Postgraduate Certificates in Education (PGCEs) in London are teaching in the year after their course (TTA 2002b) - and this percentage includes those working abroad, in the independent sector and on supply. So it looks as if for every 100 people who start a primary PGCE in London only 85 qualify and 71 work as teachers. Similarly for every 100 people who start a PGCE in secondary maths only 78 qualify and 69 end up teaching when they finish (Bubb 2003a).
But the picture gets worse. Smithers and Robinson's research (DfES 2003) into why teachers leave the profession found that it's the very newest teachers who are leaving. Only about 70 per cent of teachers stay in the profession for more than five years. So of the 100 people who start a PGCE primary course, only 49 are teaching after five years.What a waste!