Working with the Progress and Assessment Records
The completion of the trainee’s Progress / Assessment Record is a key aspect of the Mentor’s work in conjunction with trainee input. It is recommended that trainees should be pro-active in putting forward evidence that they feel supports their case for meeting the demands of the ITTCCF and Teachers' Standards (TS). It is essential that Mentors verify the evidence and base their trainees’ targets against the ITTCCF and TS.
- The Progress Record should be used both formatively, during the block school experience in the weekly training sessions, and summatively to provide the trainee with a clear picture of their progress against the ITTCCF and TS at the end of each phase.
- The Progress Record MUST be completed in a discussion between the mentor and trainee. The views of the PCM, University tutor and other members of the department should also be included where appropriate.
Assessment of trainees
The Assessment Record will simply reflect if a trainee is ‘Meeting’ or ‘Not Meeting’ the requirements of the Teachers’ Standards. To be awarded QTS trainees must meet ALL parts of the Teachers’ Standards.
Trainees should be making progress each week, and between phases or stages of phases. SMART targets should be used to guide the trainee as to what they have to do to make progress each week.
If the trainee is not making progress this needs to be recorded in their Weekly Training Meeting record (on Abyasa), and the PCM and their University informed via the Additional Support Plan (ASP).
It is not uncommon that a trainee will suffer a dip in performance between Foundation and Development phases, as they settle into a new situation and an increase in teaching demands on their timetable. This needs to be monitored and if it continues, the PCM and the University should be informed.
Concerns about a trainee's progress
Working with trainees who are causing concern
There may be occasions in school when the performance of a trainee is such that additional action is required beyond the normal systems of support and assessment.
In such cases, Mentors and/or tutors are required to set in motion the Additional Support Plan (ASP) process.
The ASP should be initiated in cases of:
Lack of progress towards the eight Teachers' Standards
- A trainee is considered to be failing, or is judged to be in danger of failing, to meet the required criteria for the particular phase of the course and therefore may be in danger of not meeting the Teachers’ Standards by the end of their training. Such cases may be resolvable if action is taken early enough.
Inappropriate personal and professional conduct (Part 2 of the TS)
- For example: punctuality, dress, lack of self-critical awareness, inability or unwillingness to accept professional criticism, difficult relationships with staff, and so on.
- Such cases should be resolvable if action is taken early enough and a professional conversation with the trainee points out issues that arise. Sometimes the trainee may be totally oblivious to the issue.
Professional misconduct (Part 1 and Part 2 of the TS)
- The trainee is considered to be behaving in a way which is professionally unacceptable. This may result in the loss of a placement.
In the past the issuing of an ASP and the process involved has been problematic, as Mentors have been understandably reluctant to take what may be perceived as a negative step. This has resulted in an ASP not being issued when they should have been, or issued too late to allow the trainee to demonstrate progress towards the concerns raised.
The purpose of initiating the Support Plan process is to make certain that the trainee is aware of the concerns at the earliest possible stage, in order that appropriate support and an action plan can be agreed in partnership with the trainee and mentor, and if appropriate with the PCM and University Tutor.
It is far better to begin the ASP process which is then resolved, than to wait for a week or so hoping for an improvement which does not materialise. In such cases it may be too late to make an effective intervention.
Possible actions which may be appropriate include:
- Ensuring the trainee receives consistent guidance about action to be taken - weaker trainees often have difficulty in choosing the best approaches from a number of options suggested.
- Ensuring the teaching load is appropriate for the current situation – you may wish to reduce the timetable.
- Ensuring classes being taught are appropriate for the current situation.
- Arranging for the trainee to work alongside an experienced teacher in a support role. For example, leading specific sessions of the lesson in order to allow them to work to their strengths and hence develop successful practice.
- Arranging for the trainee to work with a teacher to provide support for specific pupils who will benefit from additional support or extension activities.
- Providing extra support in developing the trainee’s subject knowledge.
- Arranging for additional, focused observation perhaps outside as well as inside the department, in order to develop the trainee’s understanding of good teaching in practice.
- Setting clear and unambiguous short-term achievable targets Passing and Failing the Course
Passing and failing the course
It is important that everyone involved in the Partnership is aware that the final decision as to whether any trainee passes the course is taken by the Examination Board of the relevant University and is based on an overview of all the evidence relevant to the trainee’s programme.
Although we hope that these cases will be relatively rare, they are the ones which cause school-based Mentors the most concern, and where clear guidelines for action are needed.
It is important that everyone involved in the Partnership recognises that all trainees have rights under the regulations of the University at which they are registered. In any case where there is a possibility of failure, it is crucial that correct procedures are followed.
Withdrawing the school placement
If the Additional Support Plan (ASP) process described above is followed through, it will be a rare case that a school feels unable to continue to support the trainee in their placement. It should never happen without prior communication and the ASP procedure being thoroughly pursued.
The only exception to this would be in the extremely rare case of a trainee acting in such a way that it was impossible for the school to permit them to continue. This would include extreme instances such as the trainee harming a pupil or behaving in a totally unprofessional manner in the school.
In such cases, the University has regulations allowing for the trainee’s course to be terminated without the possibility of a re-sit once the facts have been made clear.
In all cases we require written communication from the school as to the reason for the termination of the placement. This is to support any appeal that the trainee may wish to make against the decision.