Elizabeth Holmes examines ways in which the Children’s Workforce Network publication Visions and Principles for Induction can support induction in schools

Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.
Joel Barker

Effective induction of all staff, not just newly qualified teachers, lies at the heart of good practice in schools. As part of the Children’s Workforce, schools have a particular duty to ensure that all staff are inducted into their new working arrangements and roles in such a way as to be relevant to the individual and workplace, and yet respectful of the common principles which underlie all work for children. This week, we explore the Children’s Workforce Network publication Visions and Principles for Induction, examining ways in which the guidance can support induction in schools.

Visions and Principles for Induction: guidance from the Children’s Workforce Network
The Visions and Principles for Induction booklet and interactive toolkit underpin a common understanding of induction right across the workforce for children and young people, emphasising as key the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce.

This vision is not statutory and there’s no requirement for schools to take any notice of it at all, but if you’re keen to improve the induction you currently offer staff, it would be a very constructive place to start. The following features in particular could trigger developments in your school:

  • Effective induction: this is the foundation of continuing professional learning. While the links between induction and further learning are often evident and harnessed with newly qualified teachers, is this also the case for other staff members in your school? Do you have a system set up to weave the threads of induction learning through the plans for future learning made by new members of staff?
  • Purpose: all induction should reiterate a sense of purpose in working within the wider children’s workforce. Does your school highlight the bigger picture in this way?
  • Multi-agency context: induction is a great time to embed the notion of multi-agency working. In many schools this seems to be overlooked, but it’s a crucial part of belonging in the children’s workforce. Do newly inducted staff members at your school have a clear idea of the working practices of the agencies that your school has links with? Do they get a chance to visit agencies or meet staff? Are they clear about what’s usual and what’s different about the ways in which your school and other agencies operate?
  • Every Child Matters: how explicit is this agenda in your induction practices? Would it be useful to link more directly to it as a way of determining paths of further learning for those moving on from induction in your school?
  • Equality of opportunity: to what extent does this overarching theme feature in your induction?
  • Integrated work: do you use induction as a time to demonstrate how integrated working operates in your context? Often this key feature of school life is omitted, leaving it to be picked up by staff, but this isn’t a safe enough strategy. Integrated work must take place within institutions/organisations and between them. Making this explicit will help to ensure that staff start off on the right track.
  • The Common Core: This refers to the set of basic skills and knowledge needed by people whose work brings them into contact with children. It is sub-divided into six key areas: effective communication and engagement with children, young people and families; child and young person development; safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child; supporting transitions; multi-agency working and sharing information. Take a look at the skills and knowledge listed for each category and aim to improve the degree to which they are covered in all forms of induction in your school.

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This e-bulletin issue was first published in May 2009

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.