Induction Frequently Asked Questions

What is the first thing an Early Career Teacher should do when qualified and before commencing his/her teaching career?

The ECT must register with the:

  • General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI)
  • Education Authority
  • Northern Ireland Substitute Teachers Register (NISTR)

Full details of the process are outlined in the Teacher Education Partnership Handbook (August 2010 version)

What is the Induction Stage?

Induction is the first stage of a teacher’s professional development and is ideally completed in his/her first year of teaching.

What is the aim of Induction?

‘The overall aim of Induction is to continue to address the GTCNI Competences and Core Values and to encourage the Early Career Teacher to develop their critical reflective practice in order to improve their teaching and the quality of pupil learning which … will not be fully developed during Initial Teacher Education.’ (Teacher Education Partnership Handbook, Section 4.1)

What support is available to Early Career Teachers (ECT) during the Induction stage?

A programme of professional development is provided to Early Career Teachers by the Education Authority’s ECT team aimed at supporting their successful completion of the core requirements of Induction. This is the first step in the process of reflective professional learning and is the beginning of career-long professional development. The programme is supplemented by online information and resources from the Education Authority’s website.

Can a teacher complete Induction in more than one school?

Where an ECT does not have the opportunity to complete Induction in one school, the following applies:

  •  The ECT compiles their Induction portfolio with the required evidence, (Action Plan 1, TPL records, extra-curricular evidence, where appropriate) and the Teacher Tutor’s completed ‘Interim Review Report’.
  • The ECT presents this evidence to the second (and any subsequent) school and, with the school’s agreement, continues the process, completing Action Plan 2 and including it with further TPL and extra-curricular evidence in their portfolio, in order to complete the Induction stage. When ready, the ‘Summative Report on Induction’ will be completed by the second or further school, which will also take responsibility for signing the teacher off Induction by completing and sending the ‘Letter of Successful Completion of Induction’ to the GTCNI.

* ECTs should refer to Appendix 1 for further advice on what to do if not in full time employment.

Is it possible to complete induction if you are employed in day-to-day substitute teaching?

It is difficult for Induction Teachers who are employed on a daily substitute teaching basis to participate fully in the Induction programme and to engage with the breadth of the teacher competence framework. However, in this situation you should:

  • Register for Induction with the Education Authority’s ECT team so that you can receive updates on courses and support available to you.
  • Attend Introduction to Induction Webinar and visit the Induction pages of the Education Authority’s website to gain information about the requirements of Induction and what you need to do once you are in post.
  • Start to build your Induction portfolio and include within it:
    • a record of the range of teaching experiences gained as a substitute teacher.
    • a log of your participation in professional development opportunities mapped, as appropriate, against the teacher competence framework.

Can an Early Career Teacher complete the Northern Ireland Induction process if he/she is: (a) outside the UK jurisdiction; or (b) outside the statutory school setting?

  1. Outside the UK jurisdiction – An ECT who qualifies in Northern Ireland but who takes up a teaching position in a school outside the United Kingdom, cannot complete the Northern Ireland Induction process or its GB equivalent unless the British/International school is ‘OFSTED-approved.’ This is clarified in the 1DfE publication ‘Induction for Newly Qualified Teachers (England)’, which states (p 9) that “Induction can be served in an independent school overseas which:
  • has been inspected by a DfE-accredited inspectorate within the last six years against the Standards for Inspection of British Schools Overseas; and
  • has satisfactorily met all of those standards/categories; and
  • is a member of an organisation which the DfE has determined may represent such schools”.
  1. Outside statutory school setting – An ECT who qualifies in Northern Ireland but who teaches in any of the following contexts during their first year of teaching cannot complete the Northern Ireland Induction process.
  • Homework Centres
  • Private schools not delivering the NI Curriculum
  • Charities e.g. Barnardos
  • Home Tutor Roles
  • Vocational/Training programmes
  • Voluntary Playgroups
  • Further Education Colleges

However, for both outside the UK and outside statutory school settings, it is advised that the Early Career Teacher:

  • familiarises him/herself with the requirements of the Northern Ireland Induction process on the Education Authority’s website;
  • keeps their knowledge and understanding of the Northern Ireland Curriculum up-to-date through background reading and research;
  • maintains a portfolio of evidence of reflective practice while teaching outside the UK or outside the statutory school setting within Northern Ireland. Should he/she later return to Northern Ireland and/or to mainstream teaching, it will be at the discretion of the employing school as to whether or not this evidence will contribute to the completion of his/her Induction portfolio.

What arrangements should apply to Early Career Teachers who have not completed Induction in the last country in which employed?

The teacher is required to complete the Northern Ireland Induction process. 

Can a teacher who trains in Northern Ireland complete Induction in Great Britain?

Yes. However, it is important that the teacher presents formal documentation to confirm successful completion of the equivalent Induction stage upon their return to Northern Ireland.

What arrangements apply to those Newly Qualified Teachers who trained in Great Britain but whose first year of teaching is in Northern Ireland?

An ECT who qualifies in other parts of the UK but whose first year of teaching is in Northern Ireland is required to complete the Northern Ireland Induction process.

When is the Induction stage completed?

The Teacher Education Partnership Handbook, available from the Department of Education’s website and the Education Authority’s Early Career Teachers website, outlines the role of the Board of Governors of a school in confirming, on the recommendation of the Principal, when the Early Career Teacher has successfully completed the core requirements of Induction and may commence Early Professional Development.

How will the next school know that the Induction stage has been completed in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, especially if some time elapses between periods of employment?

The Principal should ask the teacher to present their copy of the ‘letter to confirm the successful completion of Induction’ which will have been signed on behalf of the Board of Governors in the school where Induction was undertaken.  The Principal can also seek confirmation from the GTCNI, 3rd Floor, Albany House, 73-75 Great Victoria Street, Belfast. In the event of a teacher returning to NI having completed their induction period in England, Scotland or Wales, the teacher is required to present formal documentation to confirm successful completion of the equivalent Induction stage.

Is there a central record of teachers who have satisfactorily completed Induction?

Yes.  It is the school’s and Teacher Tutor’s responsibility to send a copy of the letter confirming the teacher’s successful completion of Induction to the GTCNI, 3rd Floor, Albany House, Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7AF.  In addition, the school should retain a copy for its records and provide the teacher with a copy of the letter. (NB. NO letter is sent to EA.)

Records for teachers who completed Induction prior to September 2009, are held by Teachers’ Salaries and Administration Branch of the Department of Education, Waterside House, 75 Duke Street, Londonderry, BT47 6FP.

Is there a timeframe for completion of Induction in Northern Ireland?

No.  However, it is recommended that ECTs engage with and complete the stage as soon as is possible and practicable.  Teachers should also note that before being eligible for the upper pay scale, they must have completed Induction, EPD Year 1, EPD Year 2 and two further cycles of PRSD.

How does Induction relate to Early Professional Development?

The Induction portfolio should act as a bridge to EPD. Areas for development highlighted in the Induction Summative Report may be used to inform the target setting process for the EPD Professional Development Activities.

What is the context for the Early Career Teacher Programme?

The current Early Career Teacher programme has been in place since 1996 when it was outlined in the paper, ‘Arrangements for Initial Teacher Education in Northern Ireland from 1 September 1996.’ The paper set out 5 areas of competence which underpinned the 3 stages of teacher education from the start of the 1996/97 academic year. The Induction stage was introduced at the start of the 1997/98 academic year and the arrangements for Early Professional Development (EPD) commenced at the start of the 1998/99 academic year.

In 2007, the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) revised the teacher competences and published them in ‘Teaching: the Reflective Profession’. These competences now underpin the Beginning Teacher Programme and the Continuing Teacher Education Programme in Northern Ireland.

Learning Leaders: A strategy for teacher professional learning was published by the Department of education in N Ireland in 2016 setting out a strategy where every teacher is a learning leader from beginning teacher throughout their career.

What are the three stages of Teacher Education?

The 3 main stages of Teacher Education are:

  • Initial Teacher Education
  • Induction - the first year of teaching
  • Early Professional Development
  • EPD Year 1 (normally the second year of teaching)
  • EPD Year 2 (normally the third year of teaching)

Why are the three stages of Teacher Education integrated?

The integrated approach to Teacher Education aims to provide Early Career Teachers with a more holistic experience in order that they may continue to develop as critical reflective practitioners, improve their teaching and the quality of pupil learning, and may see their ongoing professional development as part of a lifelong learning process. The integrated approach also enhances the collaborative partnership between the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the Education Authority and the schools. The GTCNI competences which underpin all three stages are framed to encourage teachers to focus appropriately on aspects of their practice through the key stages of their career.

What does the ‘Partnership Approach’ mean?

A professional partnership exists between the schools, the ECT team of the Education Authority, the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and, where appropriate, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), the Controlled Schools Support Council (CSSC), the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG). All partners contribute in a flexible and collaborative way to the provision of an integrated programme of teacher education with the aim of providing professional support to Early Career Teachers. While all partners are involved at each of the 3 stages

  • the HEIs are the lead body at the Initial Teacher Education stage
  • the ECT team of the Education Authority is the lead body at the Induction stage
  • the schools are the lead body at the EPD stage.

What is the ‘Teacher Competence Model’?

The teacher competence model, described in the GTCNI’s publication, ‘Teaching: The Reflective Profession’, underpins all 3 stages of teacher education and career-long professional development (CLPD). This document sets out the competences, which student teachers and qualified teachers develop throughout their careers, under 5 areas of professional practice:

  1. Professional Values & Practices
  2. Professional Knowledge and Understanding
  3. Professional Skills and Application in Planning & Leading
  4. Professional Skills and Application in Teaching & Learning
  5. Professional Skills and Application in Assessment

What is a Career-Entry Profile and who has access to it?

A Career Entry Profile (CEP), or GB equivalent, is a professional document profiling the strengths and developmental needs of the graduating teacher and involves:

  • identifying needs
  • selecting goals
  • setting targets which will help to meet goals
  • agreeing action
  • reviewing action
  • recording progress and achievement.

The CEP, or equivalent, serves to encourage Early Career Teachers to develop a reflective approach to their professional development as well as act as a bridging document from Initial Teacher Training to Induction. The process of reflective professional learning is the beginning of Career Long Professional Development (CLPD). The Principal, and/or the Teacher Tutor, will require access to the CEP in order to guide the Early Career Teacher. The CEP does not form part of the appointment process.

What support is available to Teacher Tutors?

Professional development is also available to new Teacher Tutors. Online resources are available from the Education Authority’s website.  Teacher Tutors should register on the EA website each academic year when they are supporting Early Career Teachers.

What is the responsibility of the Teacher Tutor?

The role of the Teacher Tutor is to guide and support the Early Career Teacher through successful completion of the Induction and EPD stages and to coordinate the Early Career Teacher programme within school. The Teacher Tutor role is set out in the Teacher Education Partnership Handbook on the Department of Education’s website and also further explained, with supporting resources, in the Education Authority’s ‘Teacher Tutor Resource Book’ which is available from the Education Authority’s website. 

Teacher Tutors should register on the EA website each academic year when they are supporting Early Career Teachers.

Are there circumstances in which a teacher may not successfully complete the Induction and EPD stages?

If the school deems that sufficient progress is not being made, the areas of concern will be highlighted in the ongoing Principal and Teacher Tutor reports. The school will recommend a further period of Induction with support. If no improvement is evident, the Early Career Teacher (as for any teacher) should be advised in writing by the Principal that the procedure for ‘Promoting Effective Teaching’ (DE TNC Circular 2013-14) is being initiated by the school governors.

Glossary of Terms

EA

Education Authority in Northern Ireland

ECT

Early Career Teacher, a teacher who has completed initial teacher education and has not completed induction or EPD

EPD

Early professional development. A 2 year programme after induction which is part of the continuous integrated process of teacher education in Northern Ireland

GTCNI

General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland, registrar for teachers

Induction

one year programme of professional development after initial teacher education (in NI) [in Great Britain called NQT]

NISTR

Northern Ireland Substitute Teachers Register

PRSD

Performance review and staff development - the professional development and performance of teachers employed in their schools reviewed annually

TPL

Teaching and professional learning

Last updated: 01/09/2021