Success at a cost : the induction of new teachers in Scotland

McNally, Jim; Smith, Kari and Ulvik, Marit, eds. (2010) Success at a cost : the induction of new teachers in Scotland. In: Veiledning av nye lærere. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo, Norway, pp. 164-175. ISBN 9788215017099

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    The chapter will firstly clarify different interpretations of what mentoring means in the Scottish context. The term is often used for a particular person in an organisation (e.g. the school) who is asked by management to take responsibility for looking after the beginner (e.g. the new teacher in school). The 'appointed' mentor tends to have a more formal responsibility for the induction of the new teacher. There is in most organisations, however, a more naturally occurring kind of mentoring (e.g. from fellow teachers in school) and so this alternative view will also be discussed. The origins of setting up a more systematic support for new teachers in Scottish schools came from the growing awareness within the policy community during the 1990s that too many new teachers were not receiving the stable foundation of teaching experience that they needed. At the same time there was a clear trend of a growing culture of accountability in the form of professional and occupational standards. In the early 2000s, the Scottish Teacher Induction Scheme was established and rolled out nationally, supported by fairly substantial government funding. The scheme has received international recognition but the reasons for its success, such as it is, are not that clear, some claiming it is due to the formal support from mentors and meetings, others from the restoration of stability. Moreover, there have been unfortunate (possibly unforeseen) consequences - a rise in new teacher unemployment and dramatic reductions in intake numbers for Teacher Education Institutions. In exploring what lessons are to be learned from the Scottish experience, the chapter will also draw on a series of research projects and publications by the author and others that will include reference to dimensions and indicators of early professional learning, and the nature of identity formation in new teachers.