Schools handed extra cash to take NQTs off-timetable after Covid hits induction

teacher training

Schools will receive cash to fund additional off-timetable development for their current cohort of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) as a result of Covid disruption to induction.

The Department for Education announced on Monday that state schools in England will be eligible for the funding for every NQT due to complete their induction this summer. 

The funding of up to £1,500 per teacher is to pay for the cohort to spend 5 per cent of their time off-timetable in the next academic year. Officials said this equated to a further 44 hours.

Funding should be “used to provide this cohort with additional time to invest in their development given the disruptions they have experienced during their initial teacher training and induction as a result of the pandemic”, the DfE said.

It comes after the DfE confirmed last year that NQTs would not have their induction period extended as a result of absences due to Covid. This exemption was extended for the current year, meaning those affected can complete their induction as expected, providing they meet the teachers’ standards.

The additional funding is calculated based on the average salaries of NQTs, according to the government, and on school workforce census returns.

In England excluding London and the surrounding area, schools will receive £1,200. Schools will receive £1,500 in inner London, £1,400 in outer London, and £1,300 in “fringe” areas.

Issues with teachers who have moved schools

Staff who move schools immediately after their induction appear to be causing a headache for officials, however.

Their initial schools will still receive the funding, but “the process by which these NQTs will be identified and how payments will be made, will be confirmed in due course”.

Schools will receive the funding by default in the summer term of 2022 as part of their normal payments from ESFA, but the time off-timetable for teachers is not statutory.

“We trust schools and their leaders to know what works best for them and their staff,” the DfE said in updated guidance.

Schools’ acceptance of the funding “will be taken as confirmation” they have used it in the way intended. But the DfE plans to give schools the chance to opt out in advance.

The DfE said it may “conduct light-touch, proportionate assurance such as spot checks” to check school records for compliance, though leaders are told to use “judgement” in deciding what records to keep. Examples given include receipts for classroom cover or NQT timetables, however.

The payments and time off-timetable are the same as the amount that will be available to teachers in the second year of the new-look induction process from September under the early career framework (ECF) reforms.

The DfE notes schools will have access to its accredited development materials based on the ECF to use with teachers eligible for the further year’s support.

But their use is not compulsory, and with the ECF as a whole schools are able to choose whether to use fully outsourced training from approved providers, use DfE materials in house or develop their own materials based on the ECF.

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